Tosoguya Japanese Header



Nerikawa Tsuba

A very unusual and old lacquered leather or Nerikawa tsuba (練革鐔).  This small tsuba is constructed of 5 layers of thin, hardened leather, glued together, and black lacquered.  For structural integrity and to avoid warping, the layers are stacked with the grain of the leather in alternating directions.  For added strength, some such tsuba were equipped with metal rims (fukurin), although there is no evidence this piece was mounted with a fukurin - making it's preservation all the more special.  This is the smallest nerikawa tsuba I have ever encountered, and it's oval shape would have it likely associated with a koshigatana  (腰刀, short sword) worn with armor, or possibly a polearm.  The Shikoku region is known for simple black-lacquered koshirae with leather fittings during this period, so this could also be a viable source area.

In antiquity, nerikawa tsuba represented a major (possibly dominant) subset of tsuba, and were utilized on every major form of Japanese sword, including tachi, ōdachi, uchigatana, koshigatana, as well as pole-arms such as naginata and nagamaki. Clearly, these were viewed as not only highly practical and effective for protection, but must have spoken to the Japanese sense of aesthetic.  They are a classic and rarely seen form of tsuba, outside of Japan. Due to the organic materials, time and wear eventually degraded these tsuba, and very few old examples survive outside of Jinja collections.  Interestingly, the collections of Oyamazumi, Futarasan and Itsukushima Jinja are dominated by blades mounted with nerikawa tsuba.  The fact that this tsuba has been preserved in such excellent condition, makes it a valuable and important reference piece.

Measurements: 4.98cm x 4.02cm x 0.71cm

Mid Muromachi Period (室町中期), ca. 1475 - 1525



Nerikawa Tsuba Composite_1300px 



Home Button            Resources Button            Mail Icon png          Instagram Logo