Sino-Tibetan Qing Tsuba

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Provenance:    James L. McElhinney
                               Elliott D. Long
Imported Sino-Tibetan style Qing tsuba of iron with gold highlights. Incredible complex design of dragon-koi's or 'chilong' swimming in turbulent water, rendered as loukong interlacing. The dragon-koi represents the excercise of positive force. Legend has it that when the koi swimming upstream overcomes a waterfall, it becomes a dragon. These creatures are rendered at the moment of transformation, an inspiration to those after some kind of loss, or in a period of transition. The surface decoration of lotus blossom, flaming jewel on top and pagoda on the bottom are for visual appeal.

The rectangular shape of the seppa-dai is to be expected on Qing guards. The carving crosses over and under and the kogai & kozuka hitsu-ana are original to the piece. The rim is gilt beading and majority of the gold remains.
6.6cm x 7.0cm x 0.35cm

Consistant with the Qing dynasty, seems to date ca. 1750-1800. This is probably one of the guards brought to Japan by Chinese merchants to be used in the complex gift-exchange rituals required by business associates or by Japanese government officials. The sekigane and profile of the nakago-ana indicate Japanese use.

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A Collaboration of Robert E. Haynes and Elliott D. Long

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