Sword guard 'tsuba'
Museum no. 1461-1888
The main function of the tsuba is to prevent the warrior's hand from sliding up on to the blade of the sword during combat. It also serves to balance the weight of the blade and, to some extent, protect the hand from an opponent's blade. This tsuba is made of brass in the form of a bell and is inlaid with gold, silver and shakudo with raised decoration of a snake with gold and shakudo eyes and a copper tongue.