An amusing Japanese Meiji Period, gold lacquer tsuba with Shibayama style decoration

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Object Description

A Japanese Meiji Period (1868-1912) gold lacquer tsuba with Shibayama decoration of an amusing scene of a peddler dressed as the Tengu King entertaining a mother and child and three elderly blind people looking for a bull which seems to have run off with their sheet.

Object History

Tengu King

The tengu are a type of Japanese Yokai (spirit or mythalogical creature) often depicted with a beak and bird like features, they are dangerous but protective spirits of mountains and forests. The Tengu King is the leader of them and is often depicted with a comically long nose.


The cow is a familiar symbol in Japanese temples, it is regarded as a messenger of the gods. They are a symbol of good harvest and protectors from illness.


A tsuba is the hand guard for a Japanese sword, they balance the sword, protect the hand from an enemy blade and show status. Tsuba have become collectible works of art in their own right.


Shibayama is a style of inlay decoration used to create a design on wood, ivory or lacquer. Small peices of shell, horn, coral, wood, ivory, bone and other colourful precious materials would be semi-inland into the base material to give a 3D effect.
The style of decoration is named after the artist Shibayama who created and popularized the artform.

Object Condition


Object Details

Dealer Opening Times

By appointment only.

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Dealer Location

7 Pierrepont Row
(Off Camden Passage)
N1 8EE

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