Katana (long sword) blade


British Museum

British Museum

A katana is a long sword worn thrust through the obi (sash). This example is of the Kambun shape, with a shallow curve narrowing somewhat towards the point. The shallow curve probably developed from the dictates of the formal fencing-schools of the early Edo period (1600-1868). During the Edo period, merchants were allowed to carry a short sword. The merchants of Osaka in particular favoured swords with very showy hamon patterns (the crystalline patterns of the blade edge).

The hamon of this sword, known as toramba or 'waves', was originated by Tsuda Echizen no kami Sukehiro, the father of the maker of this sword, Sukenao. He has signed himself 'Omi no Kami Takagi jū Sukenao' ('Sukenao, honorary official of Omi Province living in Takagi').

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  • Title: Katana (long sword) blade
  • Date Created: 1650/1699
  • Physical Dimensions: Length: 71.20cm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: silvered
  • Subject: arms/armour
  • Registration number: 1958,0730.67.a-b
  • Production place: Made in Osaka-shi
  • Producer: Made by Sukenao
  • Period/culture: Edo Period
  • Material: steel; copper; silver; wood
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Bequeathed by Lloyd, Robert Wylie