Sword Guard with a Tiger in the Rain


Sword Guard with a Tiger in the Rain

others / Edo

By Nara Toshinaga (1667–1736)

Edo period, 18th century


縦7.4 横7.25


銘文:銘 利寿(花押)

Important Cultural Property

Storm clouds have gathered and roaring waves whip against the mouth of a cave. A tiger crouches within and gazes fixedly ahead. The rocks, clouds and waves are carved out in relief-like fashion and the tiger is depicted in three-dimensional relief, with the cave cut into the sword guard itself. The depiction of three-dimensional motifs on a thick iron plate gives this work an extremely weighty presence.

Nara Toshinaga was active from the end of the 17th century to the start of the 18th century in Edo, as Tokyo was formerly known. There are only a few Toshinaga sword guards in existence. They all feature three-dimensional designs carved skillfully into dark-toned thick iron plates. As this object shows, sword makers expressed themselves to the full and employed the finest metalwork techniques when producing sword mountings during peaceful times.

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