What just happened?

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.

More information about how we have ‘runified’ this site

 

Collection online

Additional options
Production date to

Or search by

Searching...

tsuba / menuki / kozuka / katana / fuchi-kashira / blade / saya / tsuka

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1958,0730.134.a-e

  • Description

    Katana (long sword blade) 1958,0730.134.a. Made of steel. Signed. Stored in wooden storage sheath, inside purple fabric bag. With mounting.

    Saya (scabbard) 1958,0730.134.b. Decorated with blossoms, floral lozenges and long-tailed birds, all in thick gold makie lacquer. Made of black lacquered wood.

    Kozuka (knife) 1958, 0730.134.c. Part of mounting for katana. Decorated with shishi and peonies in gold pinned onto 'shakudo nanako' ground. Made of metal.

    Tsuka (hilt) 1958,0730.134.d. Hilt: made of wood, skin (ray), metal, braided textile. Menuki: designs of bows and arrows. Fuchi-kashira: made of shibuichi with coloured metal inlaid chrysanthemums.

    Tsuba (sword guard) 1958,0730.134.e. Story of Shutendoji; pierced and carved; demons and yamabushi in mountainous landscape, with details in coloured metal inlay. Made of iron, gold, copper, shakudo overlaid nigurome. Signed.

    More 

  • Producer name

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 1661-1673
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 60.3 centimetres (cutting edge)
    • Curvature: 1 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        signature
      • Inscription Script

        Japanese
      • Inscription Position

        tang, obverse
      • Inscription Content

        氏命
      • Inscription Transliteration

        Jimyo
      • Inscription Type

        signature
      • Inscription Position

        tsuba
      • Inscription Language

        Japanese
      • Inscription Transliteration

        Soheishi nyudo Soten shi
      • Inscription Translation

        Made by monk Soheishi Soten
  • Curator's comments

    Harris 2005

    This blade is 'shinogi zukuri' narrowing evenly towards the point, with the shallow curve of a Kambun-era 'shinto', and has a medium 'kissaki'. The unmodified tang has one hole and the file marks are 'higaki'. The tang tip is 'kurijiri'. The grain is a whitish 'koitame', with 'masame' on the 'shinogi ji'. The 'hamon' is an ordered, pointed 'gunome' with a tight 'nioiguchi' in 'nioi' and 'sunagashi'. The 'boshi' is 'komaru' with 'midare komi' and 'haki'.

    Although the sword is not particularly elegant and there are a number of cracks and blisters in the surface steel, it is nevertheless well made and would be an effective weapon. This Kambun-era 'shinto' smith worked in Ogaki in Mino Province.

    The scabbard is luridly decorated with blossoms, 'hanabishi' lozenges and long-tailed birds, all in a thick gold 'makie' lacquer that might have been added at a later period. The 'fuchi' and 'kashira' are made of 'shibuichi' with coloured metal inlaid chrysanthemums, and the 'menuki' have designs of bows and arrows. The 'kozuka' has 'shishi' and peonies in gold pinned onto the 'shakudo nanako' ground. The iron 'tsuba' is pierced and carved with 'shojo', demons and 'yamabushi' in a mountainous landscape, with details in coloured metal inlay, and is signed 'Soheishi nyudo Soten sei' (made by monk Soheishi Soten).

    More 

  • Bibliography

    • Harris 2005 33, B&W pl. 33 bibliographic details
  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1958

  • Department

    Asia

  • Registration number

    1958,0730.134.a-e


Feedback

If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: collectiondatabase@britishmuseum.org 

View open data for this object with SPARQL endpoint

Object reference number: JCR7696

British Museum collection data is also available in the W3C open data standard, RDF, allowing it to join and relate to a growing body of linked data published by organisations around the world.

View this object

Support the Museum:
donate online

The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.

About the database

The British Museum collection database is a work in progress. New records, updates and images are added every week.

More about the database 

Supporters

Work on this database is supported by a range of sponsors, donors and volunteers.

More about supporters and how you
can help  

Loading...