Blade and Mounting for a Short Sword (Wakizashi)


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 372

This mounting is distinguished by its silver-clad scabbard with fine striations. The ornament toward the bottom of the scabbard, realistically modelled in repoussé, represents a cicada. Covered in white ray skin, the hilt is wrapped in a black and white cord with a braided design of four-sectioned lozenge crests. It features grip ornaments in the form of ladybugs. The other metal fittings follow a contrasting combination of gold and shakudō. With its luxurious decoration and bold yet elegant color scheme, this nineteenth-century mounting revives the flamboyant sword fashion of the Momoyama period (1573–1615). To emphasize that reference, it was paired with a sixteenth-century sword guard whose decoration and choice of metals are in perfect harmony with the other elements of the mounting.

Blade and Mounting for a Short Sword (<i>Wakizashi</i>), Steel, wood, rayskin (<i>same</i>), thread, silver, copper-gold alloy (<i>shakudō</i>), gold, Japanese

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