During the Muromachi and early Edo periods brass, or sentoku (the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese era Xuande) was imported in the form of incense burners and vessels, and until the method of its manufacture was understood, it was highly valued. Brass inlay on tsuba (sword guards) made in Kyoto (Heian zogan) at the time were expensive, and the technique was later to be known as Kaga zogan since it became a specialty of metalworkers in Kaga Han, the domain of the Maeda clan, who specialized in stirrups and components of iron armor.
After the Meiji restoration, the demand for arms and armors had sharply declined due to the gradually dissolving samurai class in the peaceful time and those armorers expanded their repertoire to serve wider purposes and markets. They continued to produce great metalworks as the present lot. The inlaid work of hirazogan on this lot is the finest example of metal work in Kaga zogan style produced in Meiji period.