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Metalwork

Tachi Sword

  • by Umetada Myoju
  • Inscription dated August 1598
  • Length: 64.7 cm
  • Momoyama Period (16th Century)
  • Important Cultural Property
  • EK 187
  • Kyoto National Museum

Umetada Myoju, known as the Father of Shinto ("the modern sword"), lived in the Nishijin section of Kyoto in the Momoyama and Edo Periods. His metal-carving talent is demonstrated by the unprecedented quality of the carvings decorating the sword's guard and elegant, excellent body.

This tachi sword is relatively wide when viewed from the side but is not thick. The tapering tip of the sword is long, like an osuriage-type sword. During the Momoyama Period, the trends were changing from longer swords to shorter, uchigatana swords. This one was made during the transition period. The relief carvings of Fudomyo'o (Acalanatha) in a shrine on the front side of the sword and a dragon on the back side prove that this sword is not of the osuriage type. The inscription."I disapprove of giving it to others," indicates that the artist considered this sword a masterpiece and handed it down to his descendants. There are not many long swords by the master Myoju in existence. This is one of the few extant swords known to be his work.

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