(Exterior) Total length: 105.4 (Blade) Blade length: 76.1 Curvature: 3.0
Kamakura period/13th century
Tokyo National Museum
Swords with hyôgogusari-type mountings are distinguished by the scabbard's hanging straps, which are made of braided metal wire similar to that found on suits of armor. During the Heian (794-1185) and Kamakura (1185-1333) periods, they were used as practical weaponry by court nobles and warriors. In later periods they were made as offerings to shrines and temples.
The lacquered surface of the scabbard was executed in the ikakeji ("poured-on ground") technique, in which coarse fold filings are sprinkled on the surface. The flying bird decorations were then added on this ground in gold lacquer relief. The bird motif is also echoed on the hilt, the fittings of the scabbard, and on the sword guard (J. tsuba), the delicate gilt openwork carving of which is set against a silver ground. The tang bears the "Ichi" signature of the Fukuoka Ichimonji School of swordsmiths based in Bizen Province (present-day southeastern Okayama Prefecture). Rather unusually, the blade and mounting are thought to date from the same period.
This sword, also known as the Uesugi Tachi, was handed down in the Uesugi family, which later offered it to the Mishima Shrine in Shizuoka. In the Meiji period (1868-1912) it was presented to the Imperial Household.