National TreasureLong sword signed Sadatoshi

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  • 太刀 銘定利
  • 1 piece
  • L78.8 Curvature3.0
  • Kamakura period/13th century
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • F-9

The maker of this sword is known as Ayanokôji Sadatoshi after Ayanokôji Street in Kyoto, where it is recorded that he lived during the Bun'ei era (1264-1275). Judging from the style of the blade, however, he is likely to have been active somewhat earlier than this.

Although quite narrow, the blade has a strong and imposing curve. The distinctive tempering pattern combines clove-shaped (J. chôjiba) and fine undulating (J. komidare) patterning. The tang, which has a small step cut into it, is of the style known as the "pheasant-thigh type" (J. kijimomogata). The blade was handed down in the Abe family, which owned it from 1663 (Kanbun 3) when Tokugawa Ietsuna (1641-1680) gave it to Abe Masakuni (1658-1715), lord of Iwatsuki Castle, on his return from a visit to Nikkô Shrine.