Object Title

Sword (katana)

Sword (katana)



Object Number



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

Physical Description


The blade is signed tachi mei and is shinogi zukuri with slight sakizori, iorimune and moderate fumbari. The hada is a prominent mokume with wandering silvery lines that sometimes stray into the hamon. The latter is a chu suguba with considerable nijuba, chikei and shallow ashi. At the boshi the hamon becomes ko maru on one side but shows much hakikake on the other. There is only a short kaeri. The tang is suriage with three holes but retains the signature and date. The remaining tang is only slightly tapered with a ha agari kurijiri and kiri yasurimei.


The blade is mounted in a plain black lacquered scabbard with horn fittings and gilt shitadome in the kurigata. The hilt is bound in brown silk over a pair of shakudo menuki with gilt highlights that appear to be a covered jar in front of a cut branch. The fuchi is shakudo nanako with an attendant in different colours of gold wearing Heian costume reclining in front of a closed umbrella with his head supported on his hand. The fuchi has a narrow concave polished rim and is lined inside in thin copper sheet. On the inside are punched two characters for 'dai' and the character for 'da' (field) is scratched next to them. The kashira is of shakudo nanako with gilt kirimon in a regular pattern. The tsuba is circular, of iron, hammered to give a rugged texture and pierced with cloud shapes. On the back and rim are traces of gold overlay in the form of lightening strikes.


Dimensions: The nagasa is 594mm, the sori 11mm, the length of tang is 142mm, the width at the machi is 31mm, the width at the yokote is 20mm, the length of the kissaki is 33mm, the length of the hilt is 210mm, the length of the scabbard is 717mm and the overall length is 936mm. Weight: blade 0.655 kg, mount 0.505 kg.

Inscriptions and Marks

The blade is signed : Kunitoshi saku - and is dated 1505, 8th month.


Places Japan

Bibliographic References

Dorling Kindersley, Weapon. A visual history of arms & armour, Dorling Kindersley Ltd, London, 2006, p. 66-7


Deryk Ingham suggests that this might be a Higo smith of the Enju group. Certainly the work and the style of signature corresponds very well to this attribution although no Kunitoshi is recorded and most smiths seem to have been working in the 14th century. It was the Dotanuki group who continued the work of the Enju into the Shinto era, but their signature style was much different.