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To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

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wakizashi / tsuba / kurikata / kogatana / blade / saya / daisho / tsuka

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1958,0730.144.a-e

  • Description

    Wakizashi (short sword blade) 1958,0730.144.a. Part of daisho (matching pair with 1958,0730.188). Made of steel. Signed and inscribed. Stored in plain wooden storage sheath.

    Saya (scabbard) 1958,0730.144.b. Red lacquered wood. Kurikata; peonies. Made of gold, copper, shakudo, shibuichi overlaid shakudo.

    Kogatana (knife) 1958,0730.144.c. Part of mounting for wakizashi. Made of metal.

    Tsuka (hilt) 1958,0730.144.d. Part of mounting for wakizashi. Shishi and peonies. Made of wood, ray skin, braid, metal.

    Tsuba 9sword guard) 1958,0730.144.e. Part of mounting for wakizashi. Peonies. Made of shakudo overlaid with gold and shibuichi. Signed.

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  • Producer name

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 1661 (second month)
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 45 centimetres (without tang)
    • Curvature: 1 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        signature
      • Inscription Script

        Japanese
      • Inscription Position

        tang, obverse
      • Inscription Transliteration

        Bitchu no kami Tachibana Yasuhiro
      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Script

        Japanese
      • Inscription Position

        tang, reverse
      • Inscription Transliteration

        Kambun gannen ni gatsu jitsu
      • Inscription Translation

        A day in the second month in the first year of the Kambun era [1661]
      • Inscription Type

        signature
      • Inscription Language

        Japanese
      • Inscription Transliteration

        Hidemasa
      • Inscription Type

        signature
      • Inscription Script

        Japanese
      • Inscription Transliteration

        Naomasa
  • Curator's comments

    Harris 2005

    This small 'wakizashi' blade is 'shinogi zukuri' with a shallow curve and a medium 'kissaki'. The unmodified tang has one hole and the file marks are 'sujigai'. The tang tip is 'iriyamagata'. The grain is 'itame', and there is faint 'utsuri'. A sloping 'yakidashi' rises to form a tight 'hamon' of 'choji' with many 'ashi' in 'nioi'. The 'boshi' is slightly pointed 'komaru'.

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  • Bibliography

    • Harris 2005 45, B&W pl. 45 bibliographic details
  • Subjects

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1958

  • Department

    Asia

  • Registration number

    1958,0730.144.a-e

  • Additional IDs

    • OA+3758 (Kurikata that belongs on saya.)

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Object reference number: JCR7733

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