tsuba / sword-sheath / katana / hilt / blade
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Katana (long sword blade) 1912,1012.22.a. Made of steel. Signed. Stored in wooden storage sheath, inside purple fabric bag.
Sword-sheath 1912,1012.22.b. Part of tachi mounting for katana. stone appearance surface lacquered black with crest (mon) depicting sets of four masu (measuring boxes) in mother-of-pearl inlay and gold makie; on obverse, one mon of mother-of-pearl and two of makie; on reverse, two mon of mother-of-pearl and two of makie; shakudo fittings with nanako surface, with inlaid gold paulownia mon. Made of wood.
Hilt; menuki; fuchi-kashira 1912,1012.22.c. Part of tachi mounting for katana. Hilt: wrapped with blue silk brocade beneath standard black silk binding; made of wood. Menuki: roundly carved depictions of paulownia flowers; made of shakudo. Fuchi-kashira: nanako surface, with inlaid gold paulownia crest (mon); made of shakudo.
Tsuba 1912,1012.22.d. Part of tachi mounting for katana. Mokko-shaped; carved in high relief, with depictions of phoenixes and paulownias on obverse; paulownia and flowing clouds on reverse; details in gold inlay with woven textile appearance; with shakudo oseppa (additional spacer) with nanako surface, with inlaid gold paulownia crest (mon). Made of iron.
- Made in: HitachiMito
- (Asia,Japan,Hitachi Province)
- Length: 71.4 centimetres (cutting edge)
- Curvature: 1.7 centimetres
Inscription Positiontang, obverse
Inscription TransliterationSeki Zenjo ke Chikanori tsukuru
Inscription TranslationChikanori of the Zenjo household in Seki made this
This blade is 'shinogi zukuri' with a medium 'kissaki'. The tang has one hole and the file marks are 'kesho' with 'sujigai'. The tang tip is 'kurijiri'. The grain is closely packed, almost indiscernible 'koitame', becoming 'masame' on the 'shinogi ji'. The 'hamon' is essentially 'suguha' with 'gunome' and 'ashi', presenting a slight 'juzuba' formation. The 'boshi' is a deep 'komaru'.
The first Chikanori was active during the Keio era (1865-8) in Hitachi Province and is distinguished by his use of 'kiri' file marks. Zenjo Chikanori is Chikanori II, who was active during the Meiji era (1868-1912) in Mito, Hitachi Province.
The 'tachi' scabbard is of black 'ishime' lacquer with 'mon' depicting sets of four 'masu' (measuring boxes) in shell inlay and gold 'makie'. Of the three sets of 'mon' on the 'omote' one is of shell and two of 'makie', and there are two 'mon' of shell and two of 'makie' on the 'ura'. All the 'shakudo' fittings have a 'nanako' surface, with inlaid gold paulownia 'mon'. The 'menuki' are roundly carved depictions of paulownia flowers. The hilt is wrapped with blue silk brocade beneath the standard black silk binding. A 'mokko'-shaped iron 'uchigatana tsuba' is fitted with 'shakudo oseppa' matching the rest of the metalwork, to adapt it for use on a 'tachi'. The iron 'tsuba' itself is carved in high relief, with depictions of phoenixes and paulownias on the 'omote' and paulownia and flowing clouds on the 'ura', and details in gold 'nunome zogan' inlay.
It was customary during the Edo period to have more 'mon' on the 'omote'
than on the 'ura' of the scabbard, but the reverse is the case with this mounting. The metal fittings are high quality, middle Edo-period workmanship, but they do not fit naturally to the mounting. Furthermore, the unconventional use of the iron 'tsuba' also indicates that the 'tachi' mounting was assembled for export in the Meiji era when the blade was made.
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Object reference number: JCR5658
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