University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
Image is Not Available
Native NameKatana
Object Number:97-122-76A
Current Location: Collections Storage
Provenience: Japan
Ray Skin
Inscription Language:Japanese Language
Length: 75 cm
Credit Line:Gift of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, 1997
Other Number:L-122-76A - Old Museum Number
15503 - ANSP Number
88-16-154 - Found in Collection Number
CG2016-1-15 - Found in Collection Number


A slightly curved sword (daito or katana) spotted with rust. The surface of the steel shows grain (hada) in a pattern of horizontal lines. The misty, tempered edge (hamon) reveals a mostly straight pattern and transitions smoothly into the mirror-like body of the blade. The cutting edge meets the body of the blade at a noticeable angle roughly 2/3 of the way up the side of the blade. The back of the blade is a single, flat plane (hira-mune). The base of the exposed blade meets the sword guard with a plain, copper-colored sword collar.

The open-work sword guard (tsuba) is of thick metal and features two water plantains, a large fruit (though not related to the water plantains), and two spiked crescents.

The wooden hilt is wrapped first with bumpy, white ray skin, then dark blue silk cord over top the skin. The hilt has a single hole near the top where a bamboo peg would be inserted to secure the hilt to the blade. A thin strip of silver metal sits beneath the silk cord near the base, possibly remnants of a hilt ornament (menuki). A simple, metal collar (fuchi) sits atop the hilt where it meets the sword guard. The base of the hilt is capped with a simple, black pommel (kashira).

Beneath the hilt, the tang has 1 hole bored through the steel near the top. It is inscribed on one side with a signature, which reads, "Tachibana Kunimasa of the Hojoji school from Tajima Province," (法城寺但馬守橘國正). The swordsmith, Kunimasa, crafted weaponry during the early Edo period and late 1600's.

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