- Museum number
Wakizashi (short sword), part of daisho (matching pair) with 1958,0730.163.
a) Blade: made of steel; signed. Habaki: metal two-piece; made of copper covered with shakudo.
b) Saya (scabbard). Dragons among waves; black lacquered with powdered mother-of-pearl inlay under top transparent layer forming scattered haphazard 'chirashi (scattered) makie'. Made of wood.
c) Kozuka (knife). Dragons among waves. Made of metal.
d) Tsuka (hilt). Dragons among waves. Made of wood, ray-skin.
e) Tsuba (sword guard). Dragons in high-relief gold inlay. Made of shakudo.
- Production date
Length: 53.40 centimetres (cutting edge)
Curvature: 1.20 centimetres
- Curator's comments
Sword guards (tsuba) with daragons
A samurai warrior usually wore a pair of long and short swords, known as daisho. Once he had chosen the blades, he would commission the mountings, which would show they were a pair. Guards wrer often exquisitely decorated, using complex techniques of metalworking.
These have dragons in gold inlaid into a metal called shakudo-an alloy of copper with a small amount of gole and traces of so-called 'mountain metal' (raw copper).
Copper alloy (shakudo) and gold, 1800s
Bequeathed by R W Lloyd
Tsuba were handguards that protected the owner's hand from the sword's blade.
Importantly, tsuba were a visible means of dosplay, shouwing personal taste and status.
They were made in various shapes and sizes, from circular, to rectangular, and even to flower-or star-shaped. Images and symbols important to the wearer could be worked into the design or picked out in bronze, silver or gold, and sometimes mother of pearl.
The tsuba here are designed with a water motif, to echo the design and purpose of the modern manhole cover alongside.
(Label copy, 2017)
This blade is 'shinogi zukuri' and has a medium 'kissaki'. The tang has one hole and the file marks are 'kiri'. The tang tip is 'kurijiri'. The grain is bright 'koitame' tending to 'nashiji', with even 'jinie'. The 'hamon' is medium-width 'suguha' with much 'konie' and small 'ashi'. The 'boshi' is standard 'komaru'. The accompanying two-piece 'habaki' is made of copper covered with 'shakudo'. This blade is a typical example of a Hizen sword by Tadayoshi IV.
The 'wakizashi' mounting is part of a 'daisho', the 'uchigatana' also by Omi daijo Tadayoshi (no. 56). The scabbards (not illustrated) are black lacquered with powdered shell inlay under the top transparent layer forming scattered haphazard 'chirakashi makie' (literally 'scattered "makie"'). The hilt fittings (col. pl. 18) are of 'shakudo' with dragons in high-relief gold inlay.
- On display (G93/dc10)
- Exhibition history
2006 Oct 13-, BM Japanese Galleries, 'Japan from prehistory to the present'
- Acquisition date
- Registration number