Object Title

Sword (katana)

Sword (katana)

Date

1500-1599

Object Number

XXVIS.341

Provenance

Presented by a private donor, 10 July 2002. Formerly part of the collection of her husband.

Physical Description

Blade


This blade has all the characteristics of a Bitchu blade.The shape is shinogi zukuri with koshizori, moderate fumbari and a slightly high shinogi. The hada is itame mokume whilst the hamon is a wide irregular gonome with considerable sunagashi connecting the tops of the gonome. Clouds of nie drift off the hamon and cover areas of the ji. The boshi is deep and somewhat indistinct but appears to be komaru with only a short kaeri. In keeping with this tradition, the tang is short and stubby with a rounded end, signed in two characters on the omote. It may have been shortened slightly a very long time ago. On the ura side are two punched dots, below and in line with the mekugi hole. The blade is provided with a shakudo foil covered habaki.


Mounts


The blade is mounted in a very high quality army mounting in almost perfect condition. On the kabuto gane is a silver mon of a cross within a circle that is generally assumed to be Shimazu family. Scratched on the tsuba, and all eight seppa and on the fuchi of the sword is the name Murai. On the wood of the hilt is the name Murai in which the first kanji is rendered in katakana.There is a sword knot of purple and pale blue.

Dimensions

Dimensions: The nagasa is 620mm, the sori is 18mm, the length of the tang is 154mm, the width at the machi is 30mm, the width at the yokote is 21mm, the length of the kissaki is 39mm, the length of the hilt is 251mm, the length of the scabbard is 702mm and the overall length is 970mm. Weight: blade 0.585 kg, mounts 1005 kg.

Inscriptions and Marks

The blade is signed Kunitsugu. There is a small oval stamp on the tsuba as well as the name Murai scratched on all the pieces.

Associations

Places Japan

Notes

Deryk Ingham reported that this sword belonged to a General Murai, and that he presented it to a Shinto priest who was assisting at the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal. The sword is then supposed to have passed to an owner in Hawaii via the son of this same priest. So far the name on the fittings remains the main source of evidence for this provenance.