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Nanban tsuba & Asian export sword guards - Mandarin Mansion
For long, "nanban tsuba" literally "Southern barbarian sword-guards" have been a catch-all classification for sword guards for Japanese swords (tsuba), that show foreign influence.
I became interested in the subject some years ago when I noticed how some of these were not just Chinese in style, but of Chinese manufacture with later adjustments to accommodate their use on Japanese swords. A most fruitful exchange of ideas followed with James McElhinney through his Nanban Tsuba facebook page. He made me aware of the fact that many such guards made it to Japan through gift exchanges related to maritime trade with the Dutch and Chinese.
James McElhinney wrote a much anticipated book about the subject and is in the process of getting it published. Some of the guards that feature in the book are for sale on this page.