Blade and Mounting for a Sword (Katana), Blade inscribed by Sukemitsu of Bizen (Japanese, Bizen, Muromachi period, active ca. 1440), Steel, wood, lacquer, ray skin (samé), thread, copper-gold alloy (shakudō), copper-silver alloy (shibuichi), Japanese

Blade and Mounting for a Sword (Katana)

Swordsmith:
Blade inscribed by Sukemitsu of Bizen (Japanese, Bizen, Muromachi period, active ca. 1440)
Fittings maker:
Mounting by Iwamoto Konkan (Japanese, Edo period, 1744–1801)
Date:
blade, dated 1440; mounting, late 18th century
Geography:
Okayama Prefecture
Culture:
Japanese
Medium:
Steel, wood, lacquer, ray skin (samé), thread, copper-gold alloy (shakudō), copper-silver alloy (shibuichi)
Dimensions:
L. 36 1/2 in. (92.7 cm); L. of blade 30 11/16 in. (77.9 cm); L of cutting edge 24 13/16 in. (63.1 cm); D. of curvature 11/16 in. (1.8 cm)
Classification:
Swords
Credit Line:
The Howard Mansfield Collection, Gift of Howard Mansfield, 1936
Accession Number:
36.120.417a, b
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 378
This is the only known complete set of daishō mountings (paired with 36.120.418a–c) by Iwamoto Konkan, one of the most famous makers of sword fittings in the eighteenth century. The artist's inscription identifies the patron as Iwata Takanori and the design as the Six Tama Rivers.
Inscription: Inscribed on the tang of the blade, on the obverse: 備州長船祐光 (Bishū Osafune Sukemitsu) (Sukemitsu, Osafune, Bizen Province [present-day Okayama Prefecture]); on the reverse: 永享十二年八月日 (Eikyō jūni-nen hachi-gatsu hi) (Twelfth year of Eikyō [1440], eighth month, day); on the cord knob (kurigata): 一葉斎 (Ichiyōsai); on the sword guard (tsuba): 岩本昆寛(花押) (Iwamoto Konkan (kaō)).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Asian Art," April, 1987–November, 1989.

Grancsay, Stephen V., and Alan Priest. "Japanese Metalwork, Nō Masks, and Textiles in the Howard Mansfield Collection." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (October 1937), p. 229, fig. 1.

Grancsay, Stephen V. "The Japanese Armor Gallery in the Metropolitan Museum of Art." The Connoisseur (September 1961), p. 17, ill.

Boger, Batterson H. The Traditional Arts of Japan: A Complete Illustrated Guide. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1964. p. 118, ill.

Nickel, Helmut. "Arms and Armor from the Permanent Collection." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (Summer, 1991), pp. 62–64, ill.