Goldweight in the shape of a knife with a curved, rounded tip.
A broad variety of weaponry is represented as goldweights, including shields, swords, guns, cannons, daggers, and especially knives-- such as in this example. At the time when the Akan-speaking brass casters (from what are now Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire) represented these weapons as weights, many of them were no longer actually used for hunting or fighting, but survived only as ceremonial regalia. Weights representing military and royal items are part of a larger trend towards representational weights in the 18th and 19th century; previously, brass casters had primarily produced geometric weights, and geometric weights continued to outnumber representational forms throughout the history of their production.
This small, flat metal piece has a quartrefoil shape. Two holes in the middle. Flame-like incision all over the piece. Silver is applied around the center hole.
Tsuba (sword guard) is inserted between a sword handle and blade to protect hands from sharp blades. The center hole is where the sword is placed. The smaller hole is to insert kozuka, an ornamental stick. This particlar tsuba has incised, overall frame design.
The sword is long and slightly curved; the handle cover is wrapped with black cords, mostly worn out. The round tsuba (sword guard) is made of steel and has two holes. The scabbard is painted with lacquer and has a string for hanging. There is a pair of lion-shaped menuki (fitting) on the handle.
Long swords (tachi) were the most important belongings for samurai, almost as equal to their lives; as many tragic stories attest, samurai could commit suicide when his sword was taken, stolen, or lost.
This small, flat piece made of light brown brass (called "sentoku" in Japanese) has a round diamond shape. It has a triangular shaped hole in the center and another round hole on one side. Artist’s name is signed between the two holes. The surface is slightly concaved from the rim. The front has relief design of a shrimp, blowfish, and bamboo branch. On the back, there are designs of a spiral shell, a barnacle, and water drops. The sea motifs are inlayed with gold, silver, copper, and shakudô (copper-gold alloy).
Tsuba (sword guard) is inserted between a sword handle and blade to protect hands from sharp blades. The center hole is where the sword is placed. The smaller hole is to insert an ornamental stick called kozuka. This particlar tsuba has a sea-related theme of shrimp and blowfish.
Goldweight in the shape of a knife, with a short handle set between two protrusions, giving way to a longer blade.
Among the Akan-speaking peoples of Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire, gold dust was used as a form of currency until the end of the 19th century, and merchants used diverse kinds of weights to weigh out measures of gold dust. Among these gold weights, the representation of all kinds of weaponry is very common, especially knives, such as in this example. Knives were originally used as weapons and as instruments of the executioner, and were also frequently worn on cartridge belts. However, by the time knives and other weaponry became frequent forms for gold weights, they were no longer in active use for fighting or war activities.
This woodcut depicts a town square surrounded by buildings on the top and right edges of the composition as though viewed from above. Within the square is a field delimited by a fence in which a multitude of figures and figures on horseback are engaged in a chaotic battle. Several figures direct large lances toward other figures. Crowds of young and old and male and female figures watch the action from behind the fence and from within doorways, balconies and windows in the surrounding buildings.
A scene of a joust in a marketplace or public square.
A ten-armed figure sits with her legs tucked under her on a tiger with a long uplifted tail. The figure is incised onto the copper plate with a chisel. One set of arms are crossed across her chest, while all but six hands hold weapons. A crossed spear and trident form an X behind the figure. She has wide bracelets at each of her wrists and wears elaborate circular earrings and nose ring with a three partite crown. Two lines in devanagari script are above the figure.
Labeled as Durga, an umbrella title or classification for Goddess images, she is probably more aptly titled as Mujunidevi in Kulu, the place where this was mostly likely produced. But the iconography is pan-Indian as the name Durga is fully descriptive. Consistently the goddess rides on a tiger or lion, often apparently a combination of both felines, and carries weapons with which to kill demons. The Goddess was produced to kill demons that the gods could not kill and it was only a creation of the Goddess out of their combined powers that the demons were quelled. Here weapons of a variety of the Gods are present suggesting that collective power. Despite Durga’s militant appearance, this yantra, or mystical diagram offers its beholder a fierce and maternal protection. Elements of love, care, and nourishment are very much present alongside her martial strength. .Durga bears the weapons given to her by the male deities to kill demons that they could not subdue. The weapons represent the embodied energies, or shaktis of the individual gods, which are combined in the goddess. Most often, images of her emphasize that extraordinary energy: one famous icon represents the goddess dancing upon the inert prostrate form of her consort Shiva. This copper plate shows a six-armed Durga in a less ecstatic mode, yet her force is palpable as she parades confidently on her tiger mount. Devotion to the goddess may be less idealized, less gentle than devotion to the gods, but there is the same immediacy and intimacy about it.
Golden lion with gently curving tail and arched back. Each foot is capped with three intimidating claw-like nails. The lion is oriented as if stalking from left to right, but the head turns back inward towards the center, with a downward flowing mane.
Lion scabbard ornament attached to the handle of the sword (1973/2.87).
This woodcut features a multitude of armored figures streaming out of a walled town—the main gate of which is visible in the center background of the composition—into a hilly countryside as they engage in battle. Nearly every figure carries a lance. Several figures in the foreground are on horseback and encounter an opposing group in battle. Figures on the left and right edges of the composition carry differing raised flags.
A battle scene with figures with lances and several on horseback.
A man is shown riding a horse, with a sword tucked into his belt. He is wearing a simple-styled premodern garment and a cap. Both the man and the horse seem tired, with their bodies bending forward and heads drooping.
This tsuba is a flat iron plate with quatrefoil design. It has three holes: one for blade (middle) flanked by oval-shape hole (for kougai) and oval with bump shape (for kozuka). Egrets and reeds decorate the surface, distributed in a curve that climbs counter-clockwise from the bottom left register, culmiating in the top left with a lone egret in flight. Egrets on the bottom of the piece perch on the ground or nest in the golden reeds.
Tsuba (sword guard) is inserted between a sword handle and blade to protect hands from sharp blades. The center hole is where the sword is placed. A smaller hole on the left is to place an ornamental stick, kozuka. Another hole on the right is to insert kougai, spatula-like sticks which are said to be used for itching hair underneath hats or helmets.