Katana (long sword) blade

From Osaka, Japan
Edo period, 17th century AD

A katana is a long sword worn thrust through the obi (sash). This example is of the Kambun shape, with a shallow curve narrowing somewhat towards the point. The shallow curve probably developed from the dictates of the formal fencing-schools of the early Edo period (1600-1868). During the Edo period, merchants were allowed to carry a short sword. The merchants of Osaka in particular favoured swords with very showy hamon patterns (the crystalline patterns of the blade edge).

The hamon of this sword, known as toramba or 'waves', was originated by Tsuda Echizen no kami Sukehiro, the father of the maker of this sword, Sukenao. He has signed himself 'Omi no Kami Takagi jū Sukenao' ('Sukenao, honorary official of Omi Province living in Takagi').

Find in the collection online

More information


L. Smith, V. Harris and T. Clark, Japanese art: masterpieces in (London, The British Museum Press, 1990)

, Hakubutsukan shozō Nihon-Ch (Tokyo National Museum, 1987)

L. Smith and V. Harris, Japanese decorative arts from (London, The British Museum Press, 1982)


Length: 71.200 cm

Museum number

Asia JA 1958.7-30.67.a


Bequesthed by R.W. Lloyd


Find in the collection online

Search highlights

There are over 4,000 highlight objects to explore