紅葉蒔絵鞘脇指拵 Mounting for a Short Sword (Wakizashi)
Swordsmith 重武 Shigetake Japanese
The mounting features a scabbard lacquered to resemble tree bark and decorated with maple leaves and an ornament in the shape of a cicada. With a snail that forms the cord knob (kurigata) and snakes as hilt ornaments (menuki), it is likely that the design refers to a popular East Asian hand game (Japanese: san-sukumi ken, 三すくみ拳) that was introduced to the West as Rock Paper Scissors. The third element would be a frog. In China, the snail is replaced by a centipede, which, interestingly, appears on the sword guard (tsuba) here. The maker of the blade, Shigetake (重武), was active in Edo during the 18th century, but the lineage to which he belonged is unclear.
This artwork is meant to be viewed from right to left. Scroll left to view more.