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Provenance: Elliott Long SOLD - Reference Only
"A Monsoon Asian guard of water dragons frolicing in a tangle of interwoven tendrils representing waves (known as 'loukong' in Mandarin, 'karakusa' in Japanese), chasing a flaming jewel. The seppa-dai in a shitogi pattern confirms China or Monsoon Asia dating ca. 1650-1700." (Long)
6.70cm x 7.70cm x 0.5cm

This is the first and last place a student of sword guards must look. Most go to it in search of a signature while the experienced collector is looking for evidence of use and clues to its age based on form and modifications. When Japanese sword guards possess a delineated seppa-dai, it is generally oval in shape, reflecting the typical cross-section of the sword handle, and koiguchi (scabbard-mouth). Japanese swords were much desired and frequently copied by some Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese makers. The guards produced for these swords may also have oval seppa-dai. Chinese guards generally are equipped with a rectangular seppa-dai, usually with a very slight taper toward the bottom of the design. Irregular shapes are also found, such as Shitogi-gata, pointed, octagonal, hexagonal and circular. Seppa-dai on imported guards may be decorated with incised and relief carving, or provided with inlaid borders. Wave patterns are common, perhaps alluding to maritime trade.

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A Collaboration of Robert E. Haynes, Elliott D. Long, and
James Lancel McElhinney

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