Results 1 1272
1085 Previous Next

Tsuba with Snake, Toad, and Slug
Additional Views Explore Object
Creative Commons License

Tsuba with Snake, Toad, and Slug


Description Provenance Inscription Credit
Description The body of this tsuba is sculpted to resemble a piece of weathered wood. The openings for the utility knife and the hair pick look like natural holes in the wood. At the upper left, a snake emerges from the utility knife hole. A frog sits and the lower right, surrounded by gourds. On the reverse is a slug. The snake's tail is also visible coming through a hole as if from the front. This is likely a reference to the story of Jiraiya, which was a popular narrative of many installments published in the mid 19th century. Jiraiya had been educated in frog magic. Snake magic can overcome frog magic, but snail magic can overcome snake magic. Jiraiya married a woman who had snail magic (represented by the slug on the reverse). There is a related idiom that is the equivalent of the English phrase "like a deer caught in headlights." The Japanese phrase is "like a frog being watched by a snake," which implies that the frog can not get away.
Provenance Henry Walters, Baltimore [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions none
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters

Download Image Add to Collection Creative Commons License

Creator
Period
n.d.
Medium
nigurome, details of gold and copper
(Arms & Armor)
Accession Number
51.372
Measurements
2 15/16 in. (7.4 cm)
Geographies
  • Japan (Place of Origin)
Location Within Museum
Not On View

Tags


    Thumbnail: Tsuba with Snake, Toad, and Slug Thumbnail: Tsuba with Snake, Toad, and Slug
    Zoom Out Zoom In Back to Details  
    Full Size: Tsuba with Snake, Toad, and Slug