This is a very interesting solid bronze casting that we think might have been a hand guard on some sort of Japanese weapon. It is obviously not a tsuba (sword guard) because the opening on a tsuba is a narrow oval through which the sword extends. Is it possible that this piece could similar hand protection for some other weapon such as a halberd ? We just do not know.
Another possible use would have been as a type of trivet for something like a tea kettle; however, that seems unlikely as the heat would have transferred to the table top. If anyone knows what it is, please drop us a note.
At any rate, it is a handsome piece with its clover leaf opening and the relief design of bamboo shoots. The piece measures 4" diameter and is just over 1/8" thick - good patina - we date it to the late Meiji period, circa 1880s-1890s.