late 19th century (made)


Length: 21.3 cm

M.97-1912 EAS

The blade of this Japanese guardless dagger (‘aikuchi’) is signed ‘Noto no Kami Kanenori’ - ‘Kanenori, Honorary Lord of Noto Province’ (modern-day Ishikawa Prefecture) and inscribed ‘made at the Toshodai (in Nara or at Ise?) from iron left over from the sacred temple blade’. This is an early blade by Sugawara Kanenori, one of the first swordsmiths to be appointed as ‘Imperial Craftsman’ by Emperor Meiji. He was given the highly honourable duty of forging the swords made every 20th year when the ceremony of removing the great Shrine of Ise is performed. The blade is flat-sided with fine graining in the steel and with a straight tempered edge pattern (‘hamon’). The mounts, scabbard and metal fittings are probably contemporary with the blade itself. The scabbard is of dark wood with silver fittings engraved with plum blossom and scrolling foliage.

Location: In Storage

View this object on the V&A website