Important Cultural Property
(Long one) Total length: 94.9 Hilt length: 20.6 Sheath length: 74.2 Handguard: 8.3×8.1 (Short one) Total length: 61.9 Hilt length: 13.8 Sheath length: 48.0 Handguard: 7.3×7.3
Azuchi-Momoyama period/16th century
Tokyo National Museum
Since the late Muromachi period, a sword and a wakizashi (a short sword) were worn between the layers of an obi (a belt). The long sword was called daito (a big sword) and the wakizashi shoto (a small sword) and together, they were called daisho. Toyotomi Hideyoshi used to use these daisho and after he died, the blade and outer fittings were given to Mizoguchi Hidekatsu, lord of Shibata Castle in Echigo no Kuni and the tsuba (a handguard) was given to the Asano family. The sheath is covered with red lacquer, over which a thin gold plate is wrapped in a spiral. Pure gold fittings are placed on the ends of the hilt and the sheath. The sword originally had a tsuba made of pure gold, to which paulownia openwork was applied. However, since the original tsuba was given to the Asano family, currently an iron tsuba is fitted. Although the black thread currently wrapped around the handle is a later addition, it is believed that the original thread was also black, creating a nice color accent against the sheath in red and gold. These bright colors are suggestive of the brilliant atmosphere of the Azuchi Momoyama period.