Object Title




1300 - 1500

Object Number



14 May 1998

Physical Description

Of standard nagamaki form without a yokote. The back is marumune and the shinogi is very high. The tang is long and tapering with a katayama kengyo end and two tang holes.
The hada is ko mokume which almost gives the impression of ayasugi in places. The hamon is of small choji based on a chu suguha, of nioi deki. In some areas the choji are grouped into almost box-like shapes whilst in others they form rudimentary crab's claws. There is some indistinct utsuri. At the boshi the effect is midare komi with only a short turn back and some ko nie.
Shaft of oval section, black lacquered and decorated with a red spiral strip the same width as the black lacquered portion. Simple brass mounts in the form of an upper cap, four plain bands, and a large iron shoe with a forked end. The scabbard, strengthened with brass bands under the lacquer is en-suite with the shaft. Accompanying the mounts is a tsuba of iron, octagonal in shape with each side hammered to a concave curve forming a prominent rim in those regions.
In addition there is a silk bag for the mounts of white damask with floral rondals, Ashikaga and Kusonoki mon. This appears to be old (probably Meiji period) although it has been resewn on a modern machine There are brocaded panel of a poem and a picture of Kusonoki Masashige in armour. A plain modern blue cotton bag exists for the shirasaya and a box for the tsuba.


Dimensions: The length of the blade is 685 mm (check), its width at the machi is 32 mm. The length of the tang is 665 mm. The shaft is 1140 mm and measures 43 mm wide by 23 mm thick, the scabbard is 890 mm long and is 55 mm wide by 30 mm thick.

Inscriptions and Marks

The blade is signed 'Yamato kuni Taima . . . ' and is dated 'Sho . .' Both inscriptions badly defaced by hammering. The tsuba is signed 'Masaharu'.


Places Japan

Bibliographic References

I Bottomley, An introduction to Japanese swords, Leeds, 2008: 9


The hammered out date might be Shoka (1257), Sho-o (1288) Shokei (1332). Since the signature is highly suspect, the date is equally doubtful, nevertheless the blade appears to date from the 14th or 15th century. From the blade characteristics, it was undoubtedly made in Bizen province and before the rise to prominence of the Osafune smiths. In many respects the blade show some Yamashiro characteristics such as the very high shinogi. A possibility exists that it may originate from the Ukai school who worked in Bizen but originated in Yamashiro. See ' To-Ken Kantei Dokuhon' by Nagayama Kokan, 1979.