Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Blade and Mounting for a Dagger (Tantō)

Blade inscribed by Gassan Sadakazu (Japanese, Setsu (now Osaka), 1834–1918)
Fittings maker:
Fittings (except menuki) inscribed by Nomura Katsumori (Japanese, active ca. 1870)
Fittings maker:
Menuki inscribed by Seii (Japanese, active ca. 1870)
blade, dated 1870; mounting, 19th century
Steel, wood (rosewod), copper-gold alloy (shakudō), copper-silver alloy (shibuichi), gold, silver
L. 16 1/8 in. (40.9 cm); L. of blade 14 7/16 in. (36.7 cm); L. of cutting edge 10 1/2 in. (26.7 cm); L. of knife (kozuka) 7 1/4 in. (18.4 cm)
Credit Line:
The Friedsam Collection, Bequest of Michael Friedsam, 1931
Accession Number:
Not on view
In 1876, the Japanese government issued an edict abolishing the wearing of the sword in Japan. Sadakazu is one of the few swordsmiths to continue working after that date. He kept the craft alive by making replicas of ancient blades. The blade of this dagger is made in the style of Umetada Myoju, a swordsmith active in the late sixteenth or early seventeenth century. The inscription indicates that Sadakazu did the engraving himself. The fittings are by Katsumori, a student of Kanō Natsuo (1829–1898), the last great maker of sword fittings.
Inscription: Inscribed on the tang of the blade, on the obverse: 浪花月山貞一(花) / 彫物同作 (Naniwa Gassan Sadakazu (kaō) / Horimono dōsaku) (Gassan Sadakazu, Naniwa [monogram] / Engraving made by the same); on the reverse: 明治三午年八月日 (Meiji san ushi-doshi hachi-gatsu hi) (Third year of Meiji [1870], the year of the horse, eighth month, day); on the piece (kibata-mei): 誠意 (Sei-i); on the hilt collar (fuchi): 勝守(花押) (Katsumori (kaō)); on the knife handle (kozuka): 勝守(花押) (Katsumori (kaō)); on the sword guard (tsuba): 野村勝守 (Nomura Katsumori).
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