tsuba / menuki / katana / fuchi-kashira / blade / saya / tsuka
Katana (long sword blade). Made of steel. Signed and inscribed. Stored in wooden storage sheath, inside purple fabric bag.
Saya (scabbard) 1958,0730.138.b. Part of hosodachi (narrow tachi) mounting for katana. Lacquered with nashiji (lacquer now breaking away); lightly gilded copper or copper alloy fittings, decorated with engraved scrolling. Made of wood.
Tsuka (hilt)1958,0730.138.c. Part of hosodachi (narrow tachi) mounting for katana. Hilt: seven irregularly applied tawara byo (rice-bale shape pin); made of wood, skin (ray), gilded copper. Fuchi-kashira: lightly gilded copper or copper alloy, decorated with engraved scrolling. Menuki: crest (mon) of omodaka (water plant with three-petalled flowers); made of solid gold.
Tsuba (sword guard) Weight-shaped. 1958,0730.138.d. Part of hosodachi (narrow tachi) mounting for katana. Made of gilded copper.
- 1832 (eighth month)
- Made in: Kuwana-shi
- Length: 63.2 centimetres (cutting edge)
- Curvature: 1.9 centimetres
Inscription Positiontang, obverse
Inscription TransliterationSeishu Kuwana ju Koyama Munetsugu Higuchi Yasukuni [no] tame kore [o] tsukuru
Inscription TranslationKoyama Munetsugu, resident of Kuwana, Ise Province, made this for Higuchi Yasukuni
Inscription Positiontang, reverse
Inscription TransliterationTempo san nen hachi gatsu jitsu
Inscription TranslationA day in the eighth month in the third year of the Tempo era 
This slender blade is 'shinogi zukuri', with a deep curve, and has a medium 'kissaki'. 'Bohi' on both sides of the blade extend through to the end of the tang. The unmodified tang has two holes and the file marks are 'kesho' with 'sujigai'. The tang tip is 'iriyamagata'. The grain is a fine, closely packed 'koitame'. The 'hamon' is 'gunome choji' with 'ashi' in 'nioi' and a tight 'nioiguchi'. The 'boshi' is pointed 'komaru' on the 'omote' and 'komaru' with 'nijuba' on the 'ura'.
Koyama Munetsugu was born in the castle town of Shirakawa in Mutsu Province and was retained by the lord Matsudaira Sadanobu (Rakuo). In 1830 he moved to Kuwana in Ise Province, and a year or two later to Edo, where he lived as a retainer of the ruling clan of Ise. It is believed that Kato Tsunahide schooled him during his time in Edo. Munetsugu is known to have been friendly with the sword tester Yamada Asaemon, and a number of his blades have 'tameshi-giri' (test cut) results recorded on their tangs by Yamada. In 1845 he obtained the title 'Bizen no suke'. After the Meiji Restoration he worked in Tokyo as a gunsmith, and then at the age of seventy made a sword that was exhibited at the first National Exposition, held in Tokyo in 1872. Like other smiths of his time he sometimes worked in the Soshu style, but he is best known for his Bizen-style 'choji hamon' in 'nioi' and fine close 'mokume' grain.
The 'hosodachi'-type 'tachi' was used on formal occasions in place of the earlier 'kazari tachi', or 'decorative long sword'. The scabbard is lacquered with' 'nashiji',
but the ground preparation was insubstantial, presumably to save expense, and the lacquer is now breaking away. The metal fittings are of lightly gilded copper or copper alloy, decorated with engraved scrolling. The hilt has seven irregularly applied 'tawara byo', a formal requirement for such a mounting. Although the work is generally very poor, the 'menuki' are solid gold, bearing 'mon' of 'omodaka' (a water plant with three-petalled flowers). It is thus probable that the mounting was hurriedly commissioned for a special event, and that the 'menuki' were 'borrowed' from another mounting.
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Object reference number: JCR7711
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