Black feng shui cat, £5.50
Length: 3.800 cm (fuchi)
Gift of Capt. Collingwood Ingram
Asia JA 1981.1-30.299
Fuchi / kashira
Late 19th century AD
A reminder of mortality
Fuchi and kashira are ornamental fittings which were attached to the hilts of Japanese swords. The fuchi fitted over the end of the hilt, and the kashira fitted round the hilt close behind the tsuba (sword-guard).
This fuchi and accompanying kushira are decorated with Japanese motifs of flowers and birds. The fuchi has a bird with cherry blossoms and other spring flowers. On the kashira there is a duck swimming among reeds. The cherry flower was regarded by warriors (who had to be constantly prepared for death) as a reminder of the brevity of life, since it falls while still in the prime of its beauty. The flowers also, since their beauty only lasts a short time.
The fittings are made
L. Smith, V. Harris and T. Clark, Japanese art: masterpieces in (London, The British Museum Press, 1990)