Japanese court sword by Unknown Artist

A ceremonial sword used by courtiers and senior officials.


Lacquer & mother-of-pearl scabbard
Length 96 cm
Acquired in:
Presented by:
Sir Henry H Howorth through The Art Fund

The blade is relatively poor in quality and construction since it was ceremonial, rather than military, in function. An inscription states it was made in 1682 for Lord Nobumitsu (or Tsunemitsu), who is otherwise unknown. The sword is luxuriously inlaid with pairs of mythical H?-? birds in mother of pearl and turquoise enamels inlaid into the metal fittings of gilt filigree. The decoration also includes the triple hollyhock crest of the Tokugawa family and a design of kiri (Pauwlonia) leaves. There is a guard of the Shitogi shape c.1800.

Venue details

V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum) Cromwell Road, London London SW7 2RL 020 7942 2000 www.vam.ac.uk

Entry details

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