National TreasureShort sword signed Yoshimitsu (celebrated Atsushi Toushirō)

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  • 短刀 銘吉光(名物厚藤四郎)
  • BY Awataguchi Yoshimitsu
  • 1 piece
  • L27.6 No Curvature
  • Kamakura period/13th century
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • F-19547

Yoshimitsu, commonly known as Tôshirô, was a Kamakura-period (1185-1333) swordsmith associated with the Kyoto Awataguchi School. An expert craftsman, he is known for his short blades (J. tantô). This particular example has been famous since the Muromachi period (1392-1573). While the overall dimensions of the piece are quite small, the blade is unusually thick; hence the name the "Thick (J. Atsushi) Tôshirô." The metal finish and tempering pattern are both of outstanding workmanship.

This blade was handed down through the house of Ashikaga Shoguns. It then passed through the hands of such notable figures as Hitotsuyanagi Naosue (1553-1590), Kuroda Josui (1546-1604), Toyotomi Hidetsugu (1568-1595), and Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536?-1598). Eventually it came into the possession of Môri Hidemoto (1579-1650); the Môri family later presented it to Tokugawa Ietsuna (1641-1680).