Sword and scabbard

1860 (made)

Kazuhide

265&A-1865 EAS

Japanese slung sword (tachi) in brown lacquer scabbard; blade signed Kazuhide and dated to 1860.

This slung long sword (‘tachi’) was given to the V&A in 1865, having originally been given to Queen Victoria as part of a diplomatic gift from the last but one shogun of Japan, Tokugawa Iemochi. The blade is signed ‘Fujiwara Kazuhide saku kore o’ (‘Fujiwara Kazuhide made this’) and ‘Man’en gannen hachi gatsu hi’ (‘a day in the eighth month of the first year of Man’en’), equivalent to 1860, when the Man’en period began. It is typical of a sword of the period and was probably made especially for the gift at the request of the shogun and his advisors. The presentation of the gift was discussed from about 1859, so the date of 1860 on the sword seems to fit well with this theory. An interesting aspect to this sword is that it has never been repolished, as has so often happened with other Japanese swords, especially those of greater age. Consequently it displays the exact taste of the period for the final polish of a sword and reveals something of the development and styles of Japanese swords. This slung long sword (tachi) was given to the V&A in 1865 having originally been given to Queen Victoria as part of a diplomatic gift from the last but one shogun of Japan, Tokugawa Iemochi. It is typical of a sword of the period and was probably made especially for the gift at the request of the shogun and his advisors. The gift was being talked about from about 1859 so the date of 1860 on the sword seems to fit well with this theory. See also the entry for 263-1865. Although these two swords are dated equivalent to 1860 this is because of the exact date when the reign periods changed. An interesting aspect to this sword is that it has never been re-polished - as has so often happened with other Japanese swords, especially those of greater age. Consequently it displays the exact taste in the final polish of a sword of that period - which may be of great interest to anyone particularly interested in the development and styles of the Japanese sword.

Location: In Storage

View this object on the V&A website