Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Blades and Mountings for a Pair of Swords (Daishō) for a Boy

Swordsmith:
Sword (katana) blade inscribed by Yoshimichi (Japanese, Kyoto, Edo period, active late 17th–early 18th century)
Swordsmith:
Short sword (wakizashi) blade inscribed by Kindo (Kanemichi) (Japanese, Kyoto, Edo period, active late 17th–early 18th century)
Date:
blades, late 17th–early 18th century; mountings, 19th century
Culture:
Japanese
Medium:
Steel, lacquer, wood, copper-gold alloy (shakudō), gold, silver, silk, ray skin, abalone, horn
Dimensions:
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)
Classification:
Swords
Credit Line:
Purchase, Tom and Lore Firman Gift, in honor of Thaddeus W. Slawski, 2011
Accession Number:
2011.110.1a–i, .2a–k
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.
Inscription: Inscribed on the tang of the long sword: (Kiku mon) Tanba no Kami Yoshimichi (菊紋)丹波守吉道 ([Chrysanthemum crest] Yoshimichi, the Governor of Tanba Province); on the obverse of the tang of the short sword: Iga no Kami Kindō (Kanemichi) 伊賀守金道 (Kindō, the Governor of Iga Province); on the reverse of the tang of the short sword: Nihon kaji sōshō 日本鍛冶宗匠 (Head of all swordsmiths in Japan); engraved on the obverse of the short sword blade: Kotobuki 壽 (Longevity); on the reverse: Sukoyaka ni nobite tenka no bushi to nari 寸古や可尓乃比て天下の武士登奈里 (He has grown up in good health and became the greatest samurai under heaven).
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