- Museum number
a) Katana (long sword blade)..Made of steel. Signed and dated.
b) Saya (scabbard). Part of tachi mounting for katana. Gold nashiji-lacquered; with triple paving-stone crest (mon) of Tsuchiya family of Tsuchiura clan in gold makie and gold foil; same mon repeated on metal fittings in gold inlay on shakudo nanako ground. Made of wood; also with brocaded and braided textile.
c) Tsuka (hilt). Made of wood, ray (skin)?, with braided textile. Menuki; fuchi-kahisra: triple paving-stone crest (mon) of Tsuchiya family of Tsuchiura clan in gold inlay on shakudo nanako ground.
d) Tsuba (sword guard). Mokko-shaped. Triple paving stone crest (mon) of Tsuchiya family of Tsuchiura clan in gold inlay on shakudo nanako ground. With two oseppa (large additional spacer) and four standard seppa (additional spacer) of gilt copper.
- Production date
Length: 60.60 centimetres (cutting edge)
Length: 97.20 centimetres (with sheath)
- Curator's comments
刀 祐定作 梨地蒔絵糸巻太刀拵
Katana blade, and mounting for a long sword
A katana is a long sword worn through a belt or sash with the cutting edge facing up. This type of blade would have been held in one hand by a warrior in foot. The strong curve towards the hilt end is typical of the period of warring smamurai in 1500s, and makes the sword cut better with a whiplash effefct.
Blades are hand-forged by swordsmiths, using a special process to harden the cutting edge. This also creates a beautiful 'wave pattern' known as a hamon, visible in the grain of the steel here.
The blade is signed by Sukesada, a seordsmith from Bizen province, in westrn Japan.
The fine gold lacquered mounting is for a long sword. It would have been carried by a lord when riding on horseback. You can see the triple paving-stone crest of the Tsuchiya clan in several places.
Blade: steel, 1521, made by Sukesada
Mounting: metal, lacquer, textile, 1700s
Bequeathed by R W Lloyd
(Label copy, 2017)
Katana type blade and ito maki tachi mounting
Blade signed Sukesada of Bizen province, and dated in accordance with 1521 AD, Mounting Edo period,18th century.
The blade is of the uchigatana type, meant to be wielded in one hand on foot, whereas the longer tachi type sword is meant for use by mounted samurai. There is a pronounced curve in the upper part of the blade common on swords of the 'age of the warring provinces' during the later 15th and 16th centuries, which is thought to have aided the cutting efficacy.
The hamon is of the form known as 'gunomeba' (reciprocating), and was widespread among many schools of swordmaking at this time. The gold lacquered mounting is of the type carried by provincial lords and other high-ranking persons when travelling armed on horseback. The metal pieces on this rich mounting bear the triple paving-stone badge of the Tsuchiya clan inlaid in gold on a ground of shakudo, the black patinated alloy of gold and copper.
Smith et al 1990
The 'tachi' mounting was carried suspended from the belt when full armour was worn. During the Edo period this cord-bound 'tachi' was carried by 'daimyo' and other high-ranking samurai when travelling in procession to and from the capital. This mounting has the triple paving-stone (or triple chequer) 'mon' of the Tsuchiya family of the Tsuchiura clan.
Harris & Ogasawara
The gold-lacquered ito maki tachi, made for wear with armour, was carried during the Edo period by daimyo and other high-ranking persons when travelling with their retinues to and from the capital. The metal pieces on this rich mounting bear the triple paving-stone mon of the Tsuchiya family of the Tsuchiura clan, inlaid in gold on a shakudo nanako ground, and the same mon is repeated in gold foil on the lacquered scabbard.
- On display (G93/dc10)
- Exhibition history
2006 Oct 13-, BM Japanese Galleries, 'Japan from prehistory to the present'
- Acquisition date
- Registration number