Rokuya, Higo Province (Kumamoto Prefecture), Japan
Kofun period, 6th century AD

This sword was excavated together with rich gilt copper horse trappings from a stone tomb at Rokuya. Like the pottery of the Kofun period, the metalwork is similar to that of Korea. This is a strong indication of the close relations between the states of Japan and the nations of Korea at the time, which resulted in the importation of technology.

Like later Japanese swords, this example is made of steel using a heating and folding technique. Unlike later swords, it has a straight back. There are four rivet holes in the handle. The final one still holds a small rivet. Tiny traces of the wooden scabbard remain attached to the blade.

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Length: 115.800 cm

Museum number

Asia OA+1246


Gowland Collection
Gift of Sir A.W. Franks


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