Important Cultural PropertyLong sword signed Yukihira in Bungo

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  • Bungo Yukihira
  • 1 piece
  • blade L80.3 Curvature1.8
  • Heian-Kamakura period/12th century
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • F-19974

 Yukihira was a swordsmith in Bungo no Kuni from the late Heian period to the early Kamakura period and this sword with the inscription of 1205 currently exists. It is said that at that time, retired Emperor Gotoba gathered swordsmiths from across the country to Kyoto to produce swords. It is also said that Yukihira was one of the swordsmiths who had been selected for the occasion.
 This tachi (a sword made to be worn with the cutting edge down) has a slim and antique shape with high koshizori (the deepest part of the curve is near the tang). The hamon (blade pattern) is simple in the suguha (straight) style with some komidare (small irregular patterns). There are some Sanskrit characters and a human figure engraved in the shinogiji (the area between the ridge line and the back of the blade) on the front side of the blade. Yukihira is the oldest swordsmith who applied carving to the blade of a curved sword called wanto. The Sanskrit characters are said to mean Bishamonten, while there are various views as to who the human figure represents, such as Jizo Bodhisattva, Fudomyoo and En no Gyoja.