Important Cultural Property
Bizen Ichimonji Hiro
(Some of the works of theTachi with the signature of Hiro. Black-lacquered Uchigatana.
Total L110.6 handle L24.6 scabbard L87.4 hand guard 8.1x8.2
Momoyama period/16th century
Donated by Watanabe Gisuke
Tokyo National Museum
This is one of 35 swords handed down to the Uesugi family and it is said that it was given to the family by Takeda Nobutora.
The blade is wide with a deep koshizori (the deepest part of the curve near the tang) and an ikubikissaki (a stout blade tip which is shorter in length than it is wide) and has a grand look. The jigane (ground metal) shows a wood grain pattern with utsuri (a white misty formation that runs parallel to the hamon in the ground metal). While the bottom half of the hamon (blade pattern) has chojiba (a clove pattern), the upper half is in a wide suguha (straight) style with little activity, containing some ashi (martensite crystals), yo (a falling leaf-like activity in the hamon) and narrow nioiguchi (the dividing line between the hamon and the ground). On the tang (nakago), there is a large inscription of "Hiro (弘)." Since no other swords by Hiro exist, his background is unknown. However, judging from the style, it seems that he was a swordsmith of the Ichimonji school in Bizen no Kuni.
For koshirae (outer fittings), the sheath is strongly curved since the blade inside has a deep curve. The handle is wrapped with string in fusubegawa style and bears metal fittings with a goshoguruma (court carriage) pattern. The sheath is covered with black lacquer, where a kurikararyu (dragon) pattern is applied to the kogai of sashizoe and a paulownia pattern applied to the kozuka in high relief. While some of the swords that had been passed down to the Uesugi family are in the aikuchi style without a handguard, this one has a handguard made of pure copper, to which openwork is applied.