Common shapes of tsuba (sword guard)
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The tsuba is the guard around the handle of katana’s sword. Tsuba can be made of metals like iron, gold, copper and silver, or alloys, which can stand up to actual repetitive use in combat. Tsuba can be found in all kinds of shapes, both regular and irregular. The most common shapes of tsuba are Maru gata, Kaku gata, Shitogi and Mokko gata.
- Maru gata is round tsuba and the most common shape. Some round tsuba can be elliptical or slightly oval rather than perfectly round.
- Kaku gata is square tsuba often with rounded corners. It can also be hexagonal or octagonal or even trapezoidal shapes.
- Shitogi tsuba looks like a very old-fashioned keyhole that is used during Shinto rituals. Shitogi tsuba katana are almost always ceremonial swords.
- Mokko gata has four lobes and look like the surface of a cut melon or gourd. There are great variation in the types of mokko gata all with intricate designs.