Weapons, Edged weapons

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Object connections:

Collection Weapons, Edged weapons
Gallery locationVoyagers (Floor plans)
PeopleProvenance: Fujita, Ruitaro
Provenance: Harcourt, Cecil Halliday Jepson

Object details:

Object ID WPN1185
Description Japanese tachi (Military fighting sword), which belonged to Vice-Admiral Ruitaro Fujita (active 1945). The hilt of the tachi consists of two pieces of wood joined together longitudinally to form the grip. The wooden grip is covered with ray-skin which has been stained black, and is bound with a piece of mid-brown woven cotton tape, twisted about itself and knotted immediately above the pommel (kabuto-gane). The grip was originally secured to the tang 32mm below the ferrule (fuchi) by a short bamboo rod, which is now missing. The gilt brass ferrule (fuchi) has a brass top and bears a running design of embossed single cherry blossoms and leaves executed on a stippled ground. The gilt brass pommel (kabuto-gane) is stippled overall, and decorated with sprays of cherry blossoms executed in gilt copper relief. The gilt copper relief is of crested double ogee outline and is pierced to show the ray-skin beneath. A band passes round the handle bearing, on each side, at the mid point, a circular plaque decorated with a single cherry flower. Through the centre of the cherry flower is a copper sleeve instead of a metal loop (saru-te) for the sword knot to pass. The sword knot is made from a woven mid brown cord with two brown tassels and a brown cord Turk's head runner secured inside the hilt. On each side of the grip are the hilt pair (tsuka-ai) made in the form of the cherry flower repeated three times. The guard consists of seven parts and each part is stamped with the number '22', as is the end of the grip and the inside of the scabbard throat - presumably as an aid to assembling the tachi. The slightly curved steel blade, has a ridge running nearly the whole length of the blade curving in conformity with the cutting edge to a medium curved edge point. The obverse of the flat-backed tang is engraved with an anchor motif. The anchor motif indicates that the blade of the tachi was made in the Naval Arsenal of Tenshozan in the 17th Year of the Showa Era (1942). A copper collar (habaki) is also fitted to the tachi. The black wooden scabbard is covered with ray-skin and has two gilt copper lockets and chape. WPN1185 and WPN1184 were both surrendered to Rear-Admiral Sir Cecil Halliday Jespson Harcourt (1892-1959) at Hong Kong on the 16th September 1945.
Date made 1942

Artist/Maker Unknown
Place made The Naval Arsenal of Tenshozan, Japan
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Materials brass; copper; cord; cotton tape; gilt brass; gilt copper; ray-skin; steel; wood
Measurements Overall: 65 x 990 x 85 mm
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