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Champleve sword-guard of iron originating in Southern Asia.
The technique of filling negative spaces carved into the solid plate, is known as "champleve". It seems that the negative spaces were never filled with colored vitreous enamel. The level figures left after carving the recesses are representations of seal script, an archaic form of Chinese. Usually these inscriptions are prayers or axioms of some kind. These have very fine inlay of gold. The opposite face is completely blank and smooth.

This guard is not of Japanese origin but was later adapted to Japanese use. The original tang-aperture is too wide for a sword tang, and with the washer-seat being almost round, indicating that it was probably first mounted on a polearm. When it was fitted with sekigane, the hitsu-ana were added. And later yet the hitsu-ana were filled with shakudo plugs.
8.0cm x 8.0cm x 0.35cm

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

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