A short Samurai sword or wakizashi, with a sheath made of magnolia wood. The blade is signed by swordsmith Tsuta Sukehiro and dates to the 17th Century. This sword was collected by Commodore Matthew C. Perry during his historic Japan Expedition (1853-1854) that opened Japan to the western world and established a lasting diplomatic, economic and cultural relationship between two Pacific Rim nations. Artifacts from Perry's Japan Expedition would become some of the founding objects of the Smithsonian Institution's anthropology collections.

From card: "the sheath and the matching handle are entirely of plain wood without any decoration. This is the shorter of the two which came as a pair or set. 11/77 sword loaned to naval history for exhibit, may 19, 1965 also the sheath but this was not used on exhibit so upon request, jan. 1969 it was returned. loan to pacific heritage museum 5/28/87." recataloged from #4133. from card: ...wakizashi-signed: echizen (no) kami sukehiro. Examined by the nbthk shinsa in dallas, texas, november, 1972. identified as settsu sukehiro first generaton, early 17th century, a prominant swordsmith of the kunisuke group. also, the foster father of 'tsuta' sukehiro, one of the outstanding smiths of the shinto sword period. In addition to its quality and historical significance, this blade exhibits a polish prior to 1853 which is useful in studying the technique of modern sword polishing. 6/76-subsequent examination suggests that this blade is actually a very early example of tsuta sukehiro working more in his father's style. gp. ..or signing a blade that was actually made by his father (d. 1663)."

Green certificate and other documentation are in Japanese swords and fittings Notebook 1 in Anthropology Records Room.
See Chang-Su Houchins. 1995. Artifacts of Diplomacy: Smithsonian Collections from Commodore Matthew Perry's Japan Expedition (1853-1854). Smithsonian Contributions to Anthropology, Number 37. P 112 and 113

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  • Title: Short Samurai Sword (Wakizashi)
  • Creator: Tsuta Sukehiro
  • Location: Japan, Asia
  • Physical Dimensions: L: 60cm L: 46cm
  • Type: Sword / Sheath
  • Rights: This image was obtained from the Smithsonian Institution. The image or its contents may be protected by international copyright laws. http://www.si.edu/termsofuse
  • External Link: View this object record in the Smithsonian Institution Collections Search Center
  • USNM Catalog Number(s): E115-0
  • Photo Credit: Donald E. Hurlbert, Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History
  • Field: Ethnology
  • Accession Date: 1859-03-09