The dimensions of this tsuba is (H)6.6cm x (W)5.5cm x (T)0.25mm.
This particular tsuba is heavily effected with rust and is covered with what appears to be mud and sediment. It may be that this tsuba spent many many hundreds of years at the bottom of a lake where is was lost after a sea battle or perhaps went down a ship sunk in bad weather.
It is written is several books that gilded tsuba were for formal wear and possessed by the upper class and the iron tsuba were for general use in battle etc but this may only just be an assumption as it is impossible for us to really know what was happening 1500 years ago. However, as this would have been a simple iron tsuba, perhaps without any decoration, it may make sense that this is a tsuba designed for fighting as apposed to court ware. Further speculation argues that the majority of these swords and fittings were made in either China or Korea and this is very much a possibility. Sword production in Japan cannot be proven before approximately 1000AD (though I am sure there must have been some replication of imported items before that time) so it is likely these Chokuto and their fittings were brought in from other countries.
Another suggestion has the many farmers and other civilians who were drafted to fight battles making their own weapons and copying the designs worn by the ruling and military classes. This may be a possibility but I doubt whether any of these items would have found there way into a burial mound..
Encircling the mound and the moats which sometimes surround the tomb are rows of fired clay cylinders known as Haniwa 埴輪. The reasons for this are not clear but theories include ‘satbalizing ther mound’ and ‘demarcating the site’. Another theory is that their arrangment depicted ritual processions performed on the site for the spirit of the deceased. Aside from their obvious aesthetic value, these figures are chiefly valuable for the information derived from them concerning the dress and habits of the people of those remote times. This includes the style of swords that were worn at the time and they way they were worn..
In regards to the inscription on to the bako, the following information is inscribed.
First line: 古墳時代 Kofun Jidai
Second line: 卵型鐔 Tamago-gata tsuba (egg-shaped tsuba).
Third line: T千葉県君津郡 Chiba-ken, Kimitsu-gun (Kimitsu city, Chiba prefecture)
Fourth line: 清川村大字祇園 出土 Kiyokawa-mura, Oaza Gion (the names of the area in Kimitsu gun where the item was discovered), shutsudo (excavated)
Thank you for reading.