Object Title

Dagger (aikuchi)

Dagger (aikuchi)

Date

1671-1699

Object Number

XXVID.190

Provenance

Purchased at auction from Bonham's auction house, 4 April 2007, Lot 26. Previously in the private collection of Clement Millward since at least 1940.

Physical Description

The blade is from a European hanger, single edged, slightly curved and broad, with a broad fuller at the back and a narrow one at the forte. It is stamped in the broad fuller F..ss Keisser Anno Me Fecit Solingen 1625. The edge has been cut down to form a hira zukuri blade, and it has been tempered with a gunome hamon. There is a silver foil covered habaki. The fittings are of heavy gilt metal carved with the Matsuura mon in relief on an ishime ground. The hilt is bound with white braid over brocade. The scabbard is covered with Dutch leather, tooled and gilt with green and red, and decorated with the Matsuura mon. At the chape is an eyelet with a brown leather loop. The kogatana has a namban style hilt, with a gold frame enclosing a fretted iron panel decorated with shishi on a ground of scrolling foliage. The blade is signed Kane- and kao. The sword also has a bag of green Chinese brocade with dragons and clouds in red and yellow.

Dimensions

BladeLength341 mm
ScabbardLength391 mm
MountsLength514 mm
TangLength90 mm

Inscriptions and Marks

Stamped with a sceptre in an oval on the tang.

Bibliographic References

C Milward, 'A Japanese sword problem', Apollo, November 1940, pp. 131-2

Token Society, To-Ken, an exhibition of Japanese swords & other items, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 1968, no. 95, p. 33, pl. 10

H R Robinson, Exhibition of Japanese armour, London, HMSO, 1965, no. 37 p. 7.

T Capwell Knives, daggers and bayonets, London, 2009: 246, 256

Notes

This is the only known example of a European blade converted into a Japanese sword. The Keisser family of swordsmiths of Solingen include Peter Keissen hu Hessen, active 1625-60.