Tsuba - bronze but no signature

I am a novice when it comes to Japanese blades, but when it comes to Tsuba, I am not even as accomplished as a novice.
Please refer to the 2 No. images attached. It is bronze, with no signature and measures 65mm by 61mm by 2mm thickness - so not quite circular in shape.
Is it possible to date, given stylisation and theme, butlack of signature?
What do the figures and lion or dog represent?
Is the gold a plating or solid gold or not in fact gold at all?



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gold stuff

I have very limited knowledge/experience with kodogu (sword fittings).
Someone with enough experience should be able to estimate a time period. If it is high-quality work, it might be possible to name a specific artist, just like with blades.
The lion and dog are fairly common "themes", but I don't know much beyond that.
Related: research the term "shishi":

It's entirely possible that the "scene" on your tsuba represents a story from Japanese or Chinese mythology/history. Here's a classic example:

Gold: Just like in the west, there are many alloys of precious metals - some contain only a little actual gold (or silver). Google "shakudo" and "shibuichi".



Hi Pete,

Thanks - huge area in itself - artistry on some fittings is stunning and recognised as such.
I think I'll stick to appreciating their artistic value without delving too deep. Just not enough time, enough hours in the day to do it justice. I'll dip in and out.



'Bronze tsuba'

I have a feeling this guard belongs to the Mino-goto school, the quality is not extraordinary. The Nanako dot spacing is not well done and seems rather random, not concentric and precise as in top work. I have a real fear this is late Meiji bordering on export-ware. I would also say the metal could be Shibuichi (Cu/Ag) or Yamagane (unrefined copper). Bronze being an alloy of copper and tin, is usually patinated rather darker than the other two metals.