This sword was excavated together with rich gilt copper horse trappings from a stone tomb at Rokuya. Like the pottery of the Kofun period, the metalwork is similar to that of Korea. This is a strong indication of the close relations between the states of Japan and the nations of Korea at the time, which resulted in the importation of technology.Like later Japanese swords, this example is made of steel using a heating and folding technique. Unlike later swords, it has a straight back. There are four rivet holes in the handle. The final one still holds a small rivet. Tiny traces of the wooden scabbard remain attached to the blade.


  • Title: Sword
  • Date Created: 500/599
  • Physical Dimensions: Length: 108.30cm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Registration number: OA+.1246
  • Production place: Made in Japan
  • Place: Found/Acquired Kyoto
  • Period/culture: Late Kofun
  • Material: iron
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Donated by Franks, Augustus Wollaston. Collected by Gowland, William

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more

Google apps