Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Blade and Mounting for a Sword (Katana)

Swordsmith:
Blade inscribed by Naotane Taikei (Japanese, Yamagata 1778–1857 Edo)
Decorator:
Engraving on blade attributed to Honjo Yoshitane (Japanese, Edo period, 19th century)
Fittings maker:
Sword guard (tsuba) inscribed by Yukinaka (Japanese, Hagi, active 19th century)
Date:
blade, dated 1839; mounting, 19th century
Geography:
Hagi, Nagato Province (Yamaguchi Prefecture)
Culture:
Japanese
Medium:
Steel, wood, lacquer, rayskin (samé), silk, iron, copper-gold alloy (shakudō), copper, gold, silver
Dimensions:
L. 39 1/4 in. (99.8 cm); L. of blade 36 15/16 in. (93.8 cm); L. of cutting edge 28 5/8 in. (72.7 cm); D. of curvature 1 3/16 in. (3 cm)
Classification:
Swords
Credit Line:
Gift of Brayton Ives and W. T. Walters, 1891
Accession Number:
91.2.56
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 378
Although both blades are by Naotane, that of the long sword (katana) is made in the Bizen style, while that of the short sword (wakizashi) is made in the Sōshū style. The engraving on both is attributed to Yoshitane, who decorated many of Naotane's blades.
Inscription: Inscribed on the obverse of the blade: 造大慶直胤(花押) (Taikei Naotane tsukuru (kaō)) (Made by Taikei Naotane [monogram]); on the reverse: 天保十年仲春 (Tenpō jū-nen chūshun) (Tenth year of Tenpō [1839], second month); also on the obverse: a Buddhist guardian king inside a hitsu; above that, eleven Sanskrit characters; on the reverse, another Buddhist guardian king inside a hitsu; above that, thirteen Sanskrit characters.
Inscribed on the sword guard (tsuba), on the obverse: 長州萩住金子十郎兵衛 (Chōshū Hagi no jū Kaneko Jūrōbei) (Kaneko Jūrōbei, residing in Hagi, Nagato Province [present-day Yamaguchi Prefecture]); on the reverse: 幸仲作 (Yukinaka saku) (Made by Yukinaka).
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