Paul Martin reports that the important sword discovered hidden in the ceiling of the Kasuga Taisha shrine in Nara has been polished by a member of the Hon’ami family and is ready to be displayed.
An important twelfth-century Japanese sword, discovered hidden in the ceiling during a 1939 refurbishment of the treasure house at Kasuga Taisha shrine in Nara, will now be put on display.
The sword appears to be in very good condition, showing little evidence of use and remains close to its original state. After repolishing and appraisal, it has been attributed to the Ko-Hoki School. The accompanying Kuro-urushi- yamagane (black lacquered mountain iron) tachi mountings are thought to date from the fourteenth century. The sword is believed to have been dedicated to the shrine sometime during the Nanboku-cho (1336-1392) and early Muromachi (1336-1573) periods.
The blade is unsigned, but as it bears a close resemblance to the famous Doji-giri sword in the Tokyo National Museum by the Ko-Hoki mastersmith Yasutsuna, and it is thought that it could be his work as well. The Doji-giri is known historically as one of the Five Greatest Swords Under Heaven. Motoki Sakai of the Tokyo National Museum said that the sword discovered at Kasuga Taisha â€œis a very important example of work of the period in excellent condition.â€