M249. Papered Iron Tokei Tsuba
M249. Iron tokei tsuba. 6 x 6.4 x .5 cm. The nakago hitsu-ana is .8 x 3 cm. Tokei in Japanese means clock and for a long time these gear-like tsuba were thought to represent a clock part. Mr. Fred Guyer, in the US, has posited the theory that these are actually Christian symbols and that the tsuba were made so Christians in Japan (a persecuted minority) could secretly express their faith. This one has a robust (deep & healthy) patina and is in excellent condition, whatever it represents. $375.