L. of sword (katana) (2011.110.1) 27 1/2 in. (69.8 cm); L. of sword (katana) blade 19 1/2 in. (49.4 cm); L. of short sword (wakizashi) (2011.110.2) 20 7/8 in. (53.1 cm); L. of short sword (wakizashi) blade 15 in. (38 cm)
Purchase, Tom and Lore Firman Gift, in honor of Thaddeus W. Slawski, 2011
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 378
Surviving pairs of swords and mountings made for boys are very rare today, even in Japan. Either they were made at the time of the birth of a boy into a high-ranking samurai family and kept for use in the ceremonies to mark his recognition as an adult (usually between age twelve and sixteen), or they were commissioned by the family closer to the time of the ceremony. The long blade is signed by Yoshimichi, the shorter blade by Kindo (Kanemichi) of the Mishina School, Kyoto. The lacquer work on the mountings features a delicate pattern of crushed abalone shell.