Types of Tsuba Shape

“Marugata” round-shaped

This is the shape that is most often used in tsuba. As the circular shape signifies “completion” or a “lack of angles,” its positive meaning is liked by many.

Marugata Mokume Gane Tsuba

“Mokkôgata” lobed (quince)-shaped

The name comes from a resemblance with the cross-section of a quince. The appeal of the quince comes from it giving a great deal of fruit, and since it also resembles a bird’s nest, it has long been appreciated for its connotations of a prosperous progeny. It comes in four, five and six segment variants.

Mokkôgata Mokume Gane Tsuba

“Aorigata” saddle-flap shaped

The “aori” were leather pieces that would hang down from a horse’s saddle to offer protection from mud. This was a shape that was familiar to warriors and that is why it was used as a tsuba shape. It is a solid shape, with the lower part being somewhat wider than the upper part.

Aorigata Mokume Gane Tsuba

“Gunbaigata” Military fan-shaped

Long been believed to ward off demons and call down mysterious powers, the fan shape has also been used in Shinto rituals. In addition, it is said to be an auspicious shape that shows the right direction to move forward, just like brandishing the military fan led the way to victory.

Gunbaigata Mokume Gane Tsuba

“Kikubanagata” chrysanthemum flower-shaped

Since the Edo period, September 9th has been designated “Chôyô no Sekku” or Chrysanthemum Festival, in which chrysanthemum sake is drunk while praying for long life. For the Japanese, the chrysanthemum is a very familiar flower with good connotations.

Kikubanagata Mokume Gane Tsuba

“Hakkaku” octagonal-shaped

In ancient Japan, 8 was considered a “sacred number” that was very auspicious. It is also a stable and well-balanced shape that incorporates all 8 directions used in divination.

Hakkaku Guribori Tsuba