Sword mounting in itamaki tachi style

From Japan
Edo period, 18th century AD

There were two ways of carrying Japanese swords: tachi-type swords were worn suspended by cords with armour and uchigatana-type swords were worn thrust through the belt. They both had scabbards of lacquered magnolia wood. Hilts were covered with the hardened skin of the rayfish and bound, usually with silk braid, to give a good grip. Itomaki means 'bound with cords'.

This is an elaborate tachi-style sword-mounting from the Edo period (1600-1868). At this time the country was at peace, but daimyō and other high-ranking samurai would have required such ornate pieces for wear when travelling in procession to and from the capital Edo (modern Tokyo). The mounting is decorated with a motif known as the triple paving-stone or triple chequer, the mon or family crest of the Tsuchiya family.

The blade is signed by Sukesada, a sixteenth-century swordsmith from Bizen Province.

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More information


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

, Hakubutsukan shoz┼Ź Nihon-Ch (Tokyo National Museum, 1987)


Length: 97.200 cm

Museum number

Asia JA 1958.7-30.149.a-d


Bequeathed by R. W. Lloyd


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