Mounting for a Short Sword (Wakizashi Goshirae)
- Lacquerwork by Shibata Zeshin (Japanese, 1807–1891)
- Fittings maker: Tsuchiya Masayoshi Yasuchika (Japanese, died 1860)
- Dated: fittings dated 1849
- Culture: Japanese
- Medium: wood, lacquer, brass, shakudo, gold
- Measurements: overall length 26 1/8 in. (66.4 cm)
This superb set of mountings for a short sword, or wakizashi, was made by Shibata Zeshin, one of the most versatile artists of the Edo period and Meiji era, who was highly regarded both as a lacquer specialist and as a painter.
His large output includes many types of lacquer boxes, inro, bowls, cups, trays, painted silk scrolls, sliding panels and screens, and an innovative type of lacquer painting (urushi-e).
Zeshin created only about one dozen sword mountings, of which this is among the best. The grainy wood surface of the scabbard is a masterly trompe l’oeil effect achieved completely in lacquer, as are the simulated silk wrappings of the hilt.
Source: Copyright © 2014 Metropolitan Museum of Art