Past Exhibitions

The Love for Small Daggers
February 2, 2021 - February 28, 2021

A dagger, between 20 cm to 40 cm in length, which has a blade of the hira-zukuri type, is referred to as tantō (lit. "short sword"). Its blade is nearly flat on both sides from the edge to the back. The tantō was widely used since ancient times and served as a weapon in daily life. It developed earlier than the Japanese swords that feature a blade of the shinogi-zukuri type, characterized by a ridgeline running along the blade’s length. Later, with the rise of the warrior class, the tantō came to be called koshigatana (lit. "waist sword"), because it was always worn on one's waist together with the tachi, or long sword. For this reason, today we find many famous swords of this type, which exhibit an extraordinary high quality. This section introduces such famous tantō from the Kyoto National Museum's collection. We hope you enjoy the beauty of these rather small, but exquisite masterpieces of Japanese sword craftsmanship.

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