Language: Japanese


Aoi-gata (葵形) literally means "hollyhock shape". This style of tsuba was since ancient times mounted on tachi (太刀), large swords that were worn edge downwards, slung from a belt, mainly by cavalry. It is also known as tachi-mokkō-gata (太刀木瓜形) or "Tachi cross shape".1

Often, there is what Westerners would call a heart shape in each corner. These are called inome (猪目) or "boar's eye". It refers to the bravery with which a wild boar tends to charge its attacker.

Aoi gata tsuba

Three tachi style tsuba in aoi-gata.
Left: A classic example, with no hitsu-ana, apertures for by-knife and hairpin.
Middle: An Asian export guard hitsu-ana indicating it was meant for handachi, or "half tachi" mounts.
Right: A nanban example, with Chinese-inspired openwork and Japanese hitsu-ana.


A tachi sword. Metropolitan Museum, New York. Accession number 07.109.5.
Blade 13th century, by Naganori. Mountings 18th to early 19th century.
Gift of the family of Dr. Francis E. Doughty, 1907

1. Markus Sesko; Koshirae, Japanese Sword Mountings, Lulu, Inc. 2014. Page 78.

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A beautiful signed Japanese ferrule and pommel plate.


The only set of its type known to me in both private and museum collections.

Price on request

A purely Chinese guard and not a very ornate one, converted for Japanese use.


A Japanese style sword guard made in 17th century Nagasaki Chinatown.


A very rare Chinese saber guard dating from the height of the Qing dynasty.


A by-knife for a Japanese sword, with a hilt shaped like a sword tang.