Wakizashi (companion sword) mounting

From Japan
17th century AD

The wakizashi (companion sword) was worn at all times, inside and out, by men of the samurai class.

The broad blade dating to the seventeenth century is typical of the Momoyama period (1568-1600) style, which continued for a few decades into the seventeenth century. It is signed 'Etchū no Kami Masatoshi' ('Masatoshi, honorary official of Etchū Province'), who belonged to the Sampin school.

The blade has a gently undulating hamon (the pattern of the crystalline structure of the blade edge), and is decorated with a single groove on one side, and, on the side shown here, another groove with a stylized ken (a double-edged sword of Esoteric Buddhist ritual).

The mounts, of the Mino school, are made of shakudō with floral designs in gold inlay on a nanako ground. They consist of a tsuba (sword-guard), hilt, scabbard, seppa (spacers), kokatana (utility knife), kōgai (a bodkin which splits to form chopsticks) and habaki (a retainer, or collar, to ensure a tight fit of the sword into its scabbard).

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More information

Bibliography

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

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

Dimensions

Length: 30.700 cm (blade)

Museum number

Asia JA 1958.7-30.46.a-d

JCR7433;JCR7434;JCR7435;JCR7436

Bequeathed by R. W. Lloyd

Location

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