"Tsuba" with figure in lake and landscape - Bilbao Fine Arts Museum

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“Tsuba” with figure in lake and landscape

Anonymous, japanese. 19th century

7,9 x 7,4 x 0,7 cm

19th century


Donación de doña María de Arechavaleta, de la colección de don José Palacio

We find this ability to use a limited number of features to suggest a great deal again in this iron, silver and copper tsuba (8 x 7.5 cm). A Chinese wise man is shown with a companion engraved on the obverse, as he plays a sho (bamboo flute); the two are beside a lake, next to a pine tree and branches of other plants, while a crane flies over the miniature landscape. Another miniature landscape is shown on the reverse, featuring a temple by a lake with plants done in silver and gold. The concision with which the theme is developed, often by mere insinuation, in such a small space, is a characteristic of Japanese art, beautifully resolved in this particular case. (Fernando García Gutiérrez, 2008)

Selected bibliography

  • Arte japonés y japonismo [Cat. exp.]. Bilbao, Bilboko Arte Ederren Museoa-Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, 2014. pp. 173, 508-511, 513, 515-516, n° cat. 37.
  • García Gutiérrez, Fernando. "Tsuba : Japoniako zaldunen ezaugarri bat. Tsuba bilduma Bilboko Arte Eder Museoan = Un signo distintivo de los caballeros de Japón. Colección de tsuba en el Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao = The Mark of the Kinghts of Japan. The Tsuba Collection at the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum", B'07 : Buletina = Boletín = Bulletin, n° 3. 2008. pp. 101-159.
  • Caeiro Izquierdo, Luis. La Cultura Samurai : armas japonesas en las colecciones españolas [tesis inédita]. Madrid, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 1991.