Center back length: 162.6 cm (64 inches)
Gift of Miss Lucy T. Aldrich
By the 17th century, swords, like armor, had become symbolic objects. This sword—detailed with metal outfittings and adorned with the Sakai family crest of an encircled wood-sorrel blossom—would have been worn for ceremonial occasions and displayed prominently to mark the prestige of its owner.
Mounted in the tachi style, the sword is suspended by prominent appendages on the scabbard, or handle. This example also features a four-lobed guard (tsuba) with a crucifix design that is reminiscent of Christian designs brought in by missionaries during the 16th century.