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Gotō School

Sword (tachi) and scabbard 1700 - 1800

Steel, copper alloy, lacquered wood, shakudō, silk, leather | 7.9 cm (Width) x 7.0 cm (Depth); 100.0 cm (Length) (whole object) | RCIN 72787

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Silk braiding around this scabbard is designed to prevent the expensive lacquer from rubbing against a warrior’s armour. An elegant crystalline structure appears on the blade in a pattern known as ‘drifting sand’ (sunagashi). This effect is produced during the tempering process, when the blade is rapidly heated and then cooled to achieve a resilient core with a hard outer edge.