Sword Guard (Tsuba) With the Motif of Thousand Monkeys (千疋猿図鐔)
Not on view
This tsuba shows a great number of densely arranged monkeys carved out in three-dimensional openwork (nikubori ji-sukashi), an interpretation which is referred to as "Thousand Monkeys" (senbiki-zaru). The edge of the hitsu-ana (opening for scabbard accessory) and the rim are decorated in gold nunome-zōgan. The motif of Thousand Monkeys was the hallmark of the Yagami School (矢上) which was based in Hizen province (present-day Nagasaki Prefecture). Representative master of the Yagami School was Mitsuhiro (光広) who was active in the second half of the 18th century. His name was then used on a hereditary basis until the end of the feudal era (1868).