Object Title

Sword (katana)

Sword (katana)

Date

1400-1499

Object Number

XXVIS.351

Provenance

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

Physical Description

An elegant blade with torizori, iorimune, high shinogi, medium fumbari and chu kissaki. The hada is itame and masame with numerous very bright lines meandering across the surface and sometimes dipping into the hamon. The hamon is a slight undulating chu suguba of ko nie, nibbled in places with inazuma and short thick ashi. The boshi being togari on one side and kaen on the other. The tang might be very slightly suriage as there are two intersecting holes. The blade is signed tachi mei with two characters whilst the yauri mei is kiri and the jiri is kiri with a very slight curvature. This blade is curious in being fitted with a russet iron habaki.


The blade is mounted in a leather covered scabbard that appears to be lacquered. An iron kojiri with a raised rim and a chiselled dragonfly is mounted on top of the leather. An iron koiguchi can be seen at the mouth. The hilt is bound in brown and is fitted with iron Fuchi gashira that are plain other than gilt rims. The menuki appear to be a horse in front of maple leaves and a vine with grapes, both in shakudo with gold touches. The tsuba is of iron, circular in shape and smooth, pierced with three tama in negative sukashi, the details of the flames in gold overlay. The tsuba is signed but illegible.

Dimensions

Dimensions: The nagasa is 662mm, the sori is 20mm, the length of the tang is 172mm, the width at the machi si 31mm, the width at the yokote is 21mm, the length of the kissaki is 35mm, the length of the hilt is 252mm, the length of the scabbard is 744m and the overall length is 1002mm. Weight: blade 0.725 kg, mounts 0.57 kg.

Inscriptions and Marks

Blade signed: Ryokai

Associations

Places Japan

Notes

The scabbard of this sword is slightly unusual in having the usual press-stud for a tab passing through the tsuba, whilst on the opposite side is a standing stud with a domed head. Above this is the remains of a sewn leather tab that would have extended upwards towards the hilt. 'Nihon To Kosa' gives a Ryokai as being a descendant of the Rai group, but those quoted on page 78 of Vol.1 are too early to be this smith. Deryk Ingham believed this blade was of a mid-15th century smith of the same name.