For those who want to know more, here are a few good books with some of my most often used ones near the top and less used near the bottom.
Go here for a list of related books in the Watson library at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Japanese Sword Guard Masterpieces from the Sasano Collection Part I
Published in Japan in 1994 by Daisuke Saito, Mega Co., LTD
Translation by Tomoko Sato, edited by John Harding
No ISBN, distributed by Tokyo Gallery Ltd., London, UK and Bushido R. Benson, Honolulu HI, USA
This is a fantastic book representing some of the best examples and latest thinking on early sukashi tsuba. Unfortunately, this is Sasano sensei's last book. A must have. Covers iron sukashi only.
Dr. Torigoye Kazutaro
The first edition is in Japanese only, but the 2nd ed. has English captions. It covers all schools and periods. Good examples, reproduction and binding. Note that there are different tsuba illustrated in the two editions, so it is worth owning both.
Tsuba an Aesthetic Study
Dr. Torigoye Kazutaro and Robert E. Haynes
This is an English translation and expansion of Torigoye’s Tsuba Geijutsu-Ko. It covers the history and characteristics of the major tsuba groups. There are not many illustrations, but the text is very valuable. Portions of this work first appeared in the Haynes auction catalog series in the 1980’s. It was then published in the Northern California Japanese Sword Club news letter from 1994-1997 and then as a photocopied, bound edition in March 2000. It is available from the club.
The Index of Japanese Sword Fittings and Associated Artists
Robert E. Haynes
Published by Nihon Art Publishers, Ellwangen, 2001.
This is the most complete listing of information on fittings makers available to date and it is in English. A must have. No illustrations.
Nihonto Koza Volume VI, Kodogu Part I
Translation by Harry Watson
1993, privately published
My copy has no ISBN, but Mr. Watson reports that this volume has now been assigned ISBN 1-888612-02-9
This is of course part of an encyclopedia, so depth is sometimes lacking, but this volume is a good source of information on all of the tusba styles. And, courtesy of Harry, it's in English.
Toso Kodogu Meiji Taikei
Wakayama Takeshi, 1978
Wakayama's three volume set of signature photos. This is the most extensive group of illustrated signatures available. In Japanese, but the Haynes index above cross references Wakayama in English.
1972, Token Shunju Shimbunsha, Tokyo
Extensive index of names, photos of representative pieces, as you'd expect from a Taikan. This is the reprint, which is somewhat less expensive than the first edition.
Toso Kodogu Koza
Yuzankoku, Tokyo 1972
This is an 8 volume encyclopedia covering all types of fittings and groups of makers.
Tokyo National Museum, 1976
This illustrates intact early katana koshirae with large, clear and detailed photographs of each part. Very enlightening. English captions in the back.
Sano Art Museum, 1999
Well photographed sukashi tsuba including brass inlay and soft metal types. Also some important early koshirae and kofun material. English captions in the back.
Sukashi Tsuba in Europaischen Sammlungen
Published privately in 1994
Mr. Kremers was a student of Sasano Masayuki, and this work also presents a contemporary view of the early tsuba. In this case the tsuba are from various European collections and many have not been illustrated elsewhere.
Toso Kinko Jiten
Wakayama Takeshi, 1984
Probably the most used list of fittings maker’s names and data. Japanese. This information is now included within the Haynes index mentioned above.
Kokuho Kenichi, Masumoto Suichiro, 1974
Photos of signatures for many fittings makers. A must for anyone collecting signed pieces.
This is the newsletter of the Northern California Japanese Sword club. A lot of good information on fittings sees print in this monthly publication.
Sasano Masayuki, 1980
Reference on Kagamishi tsuba. Includes an English translation in pamphlet form.
Early Japanese Sword Guards, Sukashi Tusba
1972, Japan Publications Inc.
ISBN 0-97040-176-9 LCC Card No. 72-79647
There is a lot of overlap between this and the newer Sasano book. It seems to be more readily available these days, though. It is a great book. It is also very interesting to see how Sasano's tastes and opinions changed vs. his final book.
Oeder, Japanische Schwertzieraten
Oesterheld, Dusseldorf, 1915
Many good iron examples not illustrated elsewhere. The collection disappeared toward the end of WWII. Rumors say that it has resurfaced in Russia.
Tagane no Bi
Matsumoto Seiji, 1997
Has some decent early iron tsuba, followed by a lot of kinko.
Catalogs from the Tosogu Bijutsukan
The Sword Fittings museum in Sugamo puts out very nice illustrated catalogs of its exhibitions. There are over 15 of them out at this point.
Zusetsu Nihonto Yugo Jiten/Japanese Swords a Visual Glossary
Kajihara Kotoken, 1989
This is the most complete glossary on swords and fittings, with pictures and English translation. Definitely worth owning.
Published by Torigoye in 1978, printed by Sanko.
On tsuba and kodogu with captions in English. Very good.
The Baur Collection
Mostly soft metal, but a very good quality book. Good descriptions of the later schools with nice "family trees."
Collection Catalog B2-Japanese Sword Guards
Kurokawa Institute of Ancient Cultures
Very nice book documenting the collection. Mix of tsuba styles, with a strong emphasis on Higo. Part of a three volume set including one on swords and another on koshirae.
Homma Junji, Sato Kanichi
Otsuka Kogeish, Tokyo, 1972
There is one volume on koshirae and another on fittings. One of the best general surveys.
Kanzan Token Koza
This is a 6 volume set on swords with numbers 5 and 6 covering fittings. I only have volume 5, which is a good survey of fittings.
Owari to Mikawa no Tsubako
This covers the major groups making tsuba in the Owari area. Very useful.
Kinko Mino Bori
1973, Token Shunjo Shinbunsha, Tokyo
A reference on Mino style fittings.
Echizen Kinai Tsuba
A reference on Kinai tsuba.
Tosogu no Kansho
Sasano Masayuki and Saito Mitsuoki
1982, Shoyu Kai, Tokyo
A variety of fittings. Excellent. Japanese with some English captions.
1990, Sano Bijutsukan, Shizuoka
Details of the signatures of later generations. Illustrations of various Akasaka.
1981, Token Shunju Shinbunsha, Tokyo
Futagoyama Norisuke Ko
NBTHK Nagoya branch group, 1972
Covers the two generations of Norisuke and their followers. These are the people who made many of the Yamakichi and Yagyu fakes in circulation. Their original work is very good.
Ikedu Suomatsu, Miyake Teruyoshi
Great reference for anyone interesting in Ko-Kinko, Ko-Goto and Ko-Mino fittings. A must have for study of kogai, which is what this book is all about. The organization by motif is a little clumsy to use.
Kasahara Koju, Akimoto Shigeo
Tsujimoto Tadao, Tokyo 1988
This covers side line Goto work. There is some basic information in English
The source for information on Kaga metal workers.
Swordguards and Fittings from Japan;
The Collection of the Museum of Decorative Art, Copenhagen
Kodansha, Tokyo 1983
Two volumes of kodogu. The text isn't that helpful, but the illustrations are good and include many pieces not published elsewhere.
Nihonto Ban Zusetsu
Privately printed in an edition of 1,000 in 1968. Illustrations of many unusual tsuba not shown in other books. Japanese, but there is a good index in English.
Japanese Swords and Sword Furniture in the Museum of Fine Arts Boston
Good quality book. Some insightful comments. Not a lot on iron, but good. Here is an index to the fittings and another to the swords. These were compiled by Grey Doffin. Scanning, OCR and conversion to html were done by me. Apologies to Grey for any errors resulting from this process.
Higo Kinko Taikan
Sato Kenzan, Homma Kunzan, Kashima Susumu
1964, NBTHK, Tokyo
A large reference on Higo fittings, but includes many questionable pieces.
100 Selected Tsuba from European Public Collections
Robert Haynes and Robert Burawoy
Good photos, good tsuba. There are two versions of this book; one with advertisements in the back and another with a bibliography. Get the one with the bibliography, it is very complete and lists works back into early Edo. Finding these books is of course a different matter.
Tsuba no Bunkashi
Hatori Jiichiro, 1969
Basic collection of tsuba book, but has some interesting illustrations of very early pieces.
Japanese Sword Fittings & Metalwork in the Lundgren Collection
Catalog of the Lundgren collection. There is an all Japanese edition, and a later one that includes a translation. Some good iron pieces and a lot of kinko. It all went to auction at Christie's a few years back.
Tosogu, Treasure of the Samurai
1991, Sarzi-Amande Ltd.
ISBN 0 9517054 0 7
This book covers kodogu, including tsuba, from a wide range of schools. Graham often has a unique perspective on fittings. Interesting reading and some good quality stuff.
The Henry D. Rosin Collection of Japanese Sword Fittings
1993, Syz Ltd.
ISBN 0 9517054 1 5
A "one of each" kodogu sales catalog with some good examples.
Masterpieces from the Randolph B. Caldwell Collection
1994, London, Syz
Another sales catalog.
The Robert E. Haynes, Ltd. Auction Catalogs
These were published in the early-mid 1980s. In addition to photos of the many lots put up for sale (and still circulating today), each edition has part of Bob's translation of Tsuba Geijutsu Ko by Dr. Torigoye Kazutaro. An updated and expanded version of these translations have been published in the Northern California sword club, see above.
Die Meister Der Japanischen Schwertzieraten
1931, Museums fur Kunst und Gewerbe un Hamburg
OK, it's in German, not English, but it's easy to read. This is a great list of kodogu makers with the Kanji, dates and provinces. It's not much when it comes to pictures, but a very valuable reference for names. This information is now included within the Haynes index.
1963, a list of names and kakihan
Waga Ai Tsuba- Sukashi Tusba Hyakusen
1979, Token Shunju Shimbunasha
In Japanese, interesting examples. Not too hard to read. Inexpensive.
Tsuba: Aigan Meihin Shu-Dai Ni Hen
1963, Shibata Bijutsu Token Ten Toshobu
Japanese. Nice illustrations, but a mix of tsuba from classic to questionable.
1995, HUB Verlag, Nurtingen
The production quality of this book is good. There is some repetition from the Rosin collection catalog. The emphasis is on soft metal works.
The Soul of the Samurai, A Selection of Sword Guards from the Vancouver Museum
1993, The Vancouver Museum
A small catalog of a mixed quality collection. Price recently reduced.
Japanese Sword Fittings, Naunton Collection
An encyclopedic reference, mostly covering Edo work. Not that useful for studying Muromachi iron tsuba. Some gems buried in it.
Japanese Sword Guards, The Peabody Museum Collection
1975, ISBN 87577-041-X LCC 74-7 603
Simple production. A wide range of tsuba styles. Some incorrect information. Some interesting examples, but probably best for those who can separate the wheat from the chaff.
Tsubas in Southern California
1973; No ISBN
Photos aren't too good, no information other than whose collection the tsuba was in 20+ years ago. Not much help for learning; OK for seeing examples of tsuba if you already know what you're looking at. Also great fun to find your own tsuba in there somewhere.
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