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Rai Kunitoshi (active 1280-1315)

Dagger (tantō) blade, c.1300; mount 1750-1850

Steel, lacquered wood, gold, silver, copper alloy, silk, ray skin | 4.0 cm (Width) x 3.0 cm (Depth); 37.5 cm (Length) (whole object) | RCIN 62626

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The simple mounting of this dagger hides the fact that the blade is extremely early – dating to c.1300. It is signed by Rai Kunitoshi, one of the foremost tantō makers of all time. The tiny gilt crane on the hilt is a menuki, said to improve the user’s grip in combat.