Kamakura period/13th century
Tokyo National Museum
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.