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For a lengthy glossary of terms see here: sword-site.com/thread/546/japanese-glossary-sword-terms







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Japanese Glossary of Sword Terms – Sword-Site.Com: The World’s Largest Free Online Sword Museum! http://www.sword-site.com

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For diagrams of the part of a Japanese Sword see here: sword-site.com/thread/547/diagrams-parts-japanese-sword

AIKUCHI
Aikuchi (literally “fitting mouth”) is a form of koshirae mounting for Japanese tanto blades (up to 30cm) in which the handle and the scabbard meet without a guard in between. 

ARA-NIE
Name given for large coarse Nie. Nie are martensite crystals that are formed during the heating and quenching process. Nie are crystals that are large enough to be viewed as individual particles.

ASHI 
Projections or short lines of soft steel that run from the border of the hamon (patterns of Nie or Nioi) to the edge of the blade. Literal translation is “Leg or Foot”.

AYASUGI
A pattern of grain (Hada) forming regular wavy lines used mostly by the Gassan and Satsuma Naminohira schools. 

BOHI
Wide groove almost filling the shinogi surface.

BONJI
Sanscrit characters occasionally carved onto the blade surface. 

BOSHI
The shape of temper line in the point of the sword. 

BO-UTSURI
Straight faint mirror like reflections of the temper line.

BUSHIDO
Literal translation: “Military-Knight-Ways”. An unwritten code of moral principles which the knights (Samurai) were required or instructed to observe. Inazo Nitobe wrote BUSHIDO: The Soul of Japan in 1900 which is a recommended book for those interested in learning more about BUSHIDO.

CHIKEI
Term used for a bright curved line (such as Nioi) that occurs in ji (grain body of the sword).

CHOJI
Hamon (temper line) that is in the shape of cloves. Typical swords in the Bizen tradition feature temper lines with choji. 

CHOJI-MIDARE
Term given for a clove-shaped temper line mixed with irregular shapes.

CHU-KISSAKI
Chu means ‘middle”. This is a term for a blade point of medium length in proportion to the width of the blade near the tang. 

CHU-SUGUBA
Chu means ‘middle”. This is a term given for a hamon (temper line) that is straight with medium width.

DAISHO
This is a matched pair of swords (typically a katana and wakizashi with koshirae mountings). Only Samurai carried a daisho.

DAITO
That A [sic] long sword. Literally a large sword.

FUKURA
The cutting edge of the sword point.

FUKURE
Flaws

FUMBARI 
A term used to describe a blade which becomes noticeably wider as it approaches the hilt. A feature of Koto blades.

FURISODE
A tang shape with the end deeply curved toward the back side which resembles a kimono sleeve.

GAKUMEI
The signature removed from the original tang and inserted into the shortened tang.

GINSUJI
A silvery color kinsuji line in the temper line (yakiba).

GISHI
A man of Rectitude. Rectitude is the power of deciding upon a certain course of conduct in accordance with reason, without wavering – to die when it is right to die, to strike when to strike is right.” (Inazo Nitobe, BUSHIDO, The Soul of Japan, p. 46)

GUNOME
A type of Hamon (temper) resembling regular half circles.

GUNOME-MIDARE
An irregular mixture of ragged gunome.

GUNTO
A general terms for swords with military mountings. 

HA
The cutting edge of the sword. 

HABAKI
The collar around the blade above the tang to fit the blade securely into the scabbard. 

HA-BUCHI
The border line between the Ji and the Yakiba.

HADA
The surface grain of the blade. There are many types and more than one type can be on the same blade. 

HAGANE
Steel used to make a Japanese sword (may also be referred to as tamahagane, the raw steel)

HAGIRI
A flaw where the blade edge is cracked entirely through the edge of the blade at a right angle to the edge.

HAKIKAKE
A feature of the tempered edge in which Nie appear in a swept or brush-stroke pattern.

HAKO BA
A box shaped Hamon.

HAMACHI
The edge notch where the blade joins the tang. 

HAMON
The temper line. 

HANDACHI
A katana with partly Tachi mountings. 

HI
Grooves cut into the sword. 

HIRA
Flat surface of the blade.

HIRA-ZUKURI
A blade shape which is flat without shinogi ridges.

HITATSURA
Name given to a blade with a hamon (temper line) pattern known as full temper. The blade tends to resemble a tiger.

HITSU ANA
One or two holes in the sword guard (Tsuba) through which the kozuka and/or kogai are inserted into pockets in the scabbard.

HORIMONO
A general term for carvings on the blade surface. Here is a wakizashi by Nobukuni that features Bonji, which is Horimono

IHORI-MUNE
Two surface shape to the mune (back edge) of the blade.

IKUBI-KISSAKI
A short and stubby point said to resemble the neck of a wild boar.

INAZUMA
Lightening shaped bright lines in the Yakiba or the Hada.

ITAME HADA
Wood grain pattern in the surface steel.

JI
The surface of the blade between the Yakiba and the Shinogi. 

JIHADA
Surface texture. The various patterns of Hada. 

JI-NIE
The presence of Nie in the Ji.

JINJA
A shrine (jinja) is a sacred place where kami live, and which show the power and nature of the kami. It’s conventional in Japan to refer to Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples – but Shinto shrines actually are temples, despite not using that name. Every village and town or district in Japan will have its own Shinto shrine, dedicated to the local kami.

KAEN
A flame shaped boshi pattern.

KAERI
The shape of the turn back of the boshi pattern.

KAI GUNTO
Term used to descrive modern Japanese Naval swords.

KAJI
A swordsmith

KAKU-MUNE
A square shape to the back of the Mune.

KAMI
Shinto is based on belief in, and worship of, Kami or ‘spirits’. Kami can be elements of the landscape or forces of nature. For a well produced background on Kami, please visit the BBC website here.

KANJI
Chinese writing characters used in Japan. Our calligraphy artist Houso Oguri produces lovely Kanji artwork that you can see here.

KANTEI
The study and appraisal of Japanese swords.

KASANE
General term for the thickness of the blade.

KATANA
The general term for a long sword (2-shaku) 60.6cm or greater, worn cutting edge up through the sash. 

KATANA KAJI
Swordsmith. 

KATANA MEI
Name given to the signature on the side of the tang which is AWAY from the body when the blade is worn with the cutting edge up.

KATANA TOGISHI
A sword polisher. Here is a photo of a sword polisher’s workshop in Kamakura, Japan.

KATANA KAKE
A sword stand horizontal display.

KATAKIRIBA
A sword shape with a ridgeline on one side only and the other side flat.

KEN
Straight sword which is double edged.

KENGYO
A butt end of the tang with a symmetrical V-shape.

KINSUJI
Whitish golden lines along or in the Yakiba.

KISSAKI
The point of the blade. Many shapes. 

KITAE
The style of forging.

KIZU
Various flaws or defects in a blade. Literal translation: “cut or scratch”.

KODACHI
Term given to short tachi blades usually 60.6cm or less from the Kamakura period.

KODOGU
This is the collective term for all the fittings except the Tsuba.

KOGAI
A hair arranger which fits into a pocket in the scabbard and is withdrawn through the tsuba (Hitsu Ana). 

KOJIRI
Fitting on the bottom end of the scabbard. 

KO-KISSAKI
A blade point of short length in proportion to the width of the blade near the tang.

KOMARU
A small round boshi.

KO-MOKUME
Small wood burl grain Hada.

KO-NIE
Tiny Nie (Martinsite) crystals along the Hamon.

KOSHIRAE
Sword mountings including scabbard, fittings, and handle. 

KOSHI-ZORI
A type of blade curve which has the maximum curve point nearer the tang than the middle.

KOTO
Old swords. Usually means swords made before 1596.

KO-WAKIZASHI
A short wakizashi.

KOZUKA
Small utility knife which fits into the pocket in the scabbard. 

KURI-JIRI
Chestnut shaped tang end. 

KURIKATA
Knob on the side of the scabbard for the belt cord.

MACHI
Notches in the blade to stop the Habaki. Edge side is the Hamachi; back side is the Munemachi.

MACHI OKURI
When the notches have been moved up the blade.

MAKI ITO
The braid for wrapping handles.

MARU-DOME
The round end of a groove.

MARU MUNE
Rounded back edged of the blade.

MASAME-HADA
Straight grain

MEI
Signature.

MEKUGI
The peg holding the handle on the sword. 

MEKUGI-ANA
The hole for the Mekugi. 

MENUKI
Ornaments under the handle wrapping to improve the grip. 

MIDAREBA
Irregular Hamon patterns.

MIDARE-CHOJI
Irregular clove shapes in the Hamon.

MIHABA
The general term for the width of a sword blade (from the back edge to the cutting edge). 

MITSU MUNE
Term for a three surface back edge of the blade.

MIZUKAGI
This is the white diagonal stripe at the base of a retempered blade.

MOKUME-HADA
A burl wood grain Hada (body).

MONO-UCHI
This is the striking area of the blade, generally 12-16cm inches below the point (Kissaki). 

MOROHA
This is a doubled-edged sword.

MOTOHABA
This is the width of the blade measured at the Habaki (collar of the blade).

MUMEI
A blade without a signature. 

MUNE
The back edge of the blade. 

MUNE MACHI
The notch in the back of the blade to stop the Habaki.

MUNEYAKI
This is the term for a temper pattern along the back edge of the blade.

MUSORI
A blade without curvature (sori). 

NAGAMAI
A type of koshirae used on a Naginata in the late Kamakura and early Muromachi periods . It came from the fact that the hilt for the long blade was wrapped with a cord or a leather strip wound around it.

NAGASA
The length of the blade. 

NAGINATA
A long hafted sword, wielded in large sweeping strokes. This is a sword blade of one of several similar shapes that was used attached to a long pole. It is also referred to as a polearm.

NAKAGO
The tang of the blade. The part of the blade that fits into the handle.

NAKAGO JIRI
A general term used for the butt end of the tang. 

NAKAGO MUNE
The back edge of the tang.

NAMBAN TETSU
General term for foreign steel.

NAMBOKUCHO
The period of the Northern and Southern dynasties, ~1333 to 1392. Here is a Nobukuni wakizashi from the Nambokucho period.

NAOSHI
Corrected or repaired.

NIE
Martensite crystals formed during the heating and quenching process. Nie are crystals which are large enough to be viewed as individual particles.

NIOI
The same as Nie except that these particles are too small to be discernible to the naked eye and appear like a mist or fog.

NOTARE
A term refering to a Hamon outline that is wavelike. 

O-CHOJI
Hamon of large choji patterns.

OMOTE
The side of the sword away from the body as it is worn. The opposite side is called the ura or back.

ORIGAMI
A certificate of appraisal.

ORIKAESHI-MEI
Blade signature folded into the opposite of the tang when the blade is shortened.

OSHIGATA
A rubbing of the inscription on the tang. Here is an example of an Oshigata on a certificate.

O-SURIAGE
A shortened sword losing all or most of the original tang.

O-WAKIZASHI
Longer Wakizashi, almost 2-shaku (60.6cm) in length.

SAGEO
The cord or braid attached to the Kurikata on one side of the scabbard. 

SAIHA
Term given for a re-tempered edge.

SAKA-CHOJI
Choji shapes slanting down toward the base of the blade.

SAKI-HABA
The width of the blade at the Kissaki (point of the blade). 

SAKI-ZORI
Curvature of the blade with the more pronounced curve toward the point.

SAME
Patch of skin from a ray fish used on sword handles and sometimes on scabbards. 

SAMURAI
Samurai warriors were the elite of four classes of Japanese feudal society; samurai, farmers, craftsmen, and then merchants. The samurai were expected to bring security to the members of the other three classes. The term, samurai, is 
a derivative of the Japanese verb for service, “saburau”. Samurai literally means “one who is a servant”, and that is how they began, as ‘servants’ to Emperor Tenmu back in the 7th century.
Samurai were inspired by Bushido “Military-Knight-Ways” is an unwritten code of moral principles which the knights (samurai) were required or instructed to observe. Bushido made the sword its emblem of power and prowess. The very possession of such an instrument imparts to him a feeling and an air of self-respect and responsibility. What he carries in his belt is a symbol of what he carries in his mind and heart, – loyalty and honor.

SANBONSUGI
A “three-tree” type pattern Hamon (temper line). Swordsmith Kanemoto of Mino province (modern-day Gify prefecture) was famous for this.

SAYA
The scabbard or sheath. 

SEPPA
The washers used to fill the space between the tsuba and the sword. 

SEPPUKU
Literal translation: “stomach-cutting”. Known also as Hara-kiri. A form of Japanese ritual suicide by disembowelment. A good article can be read here.

SHAKU
The Japanese unit of measurement equaling 30.3cm (11.93 inches). A tanto measures less than 1 shaku, a wakizashi measures between 1 and 2 shaku, and a katana is 2 shaku or more in length.
1 shaku = 30.30cm (11.93 inches)
1 shaku = 10 sun
1 sun = 3.03cm (1.193 inches)
1 sun = 10 bu
1 bu = .3030cm (0.119 inches)
1 bu = 10 rin
1 rin = .03030cm (0.01193 inches)

SHINAE
Small cracks cross-ways in a blade. A flaw.

SHINOGI
Ridges on each side of the blade. 

SHINOGI-ZUKURI
These are swords made with a ridge line, the most prevalent type of sword. 

SHINTO
These are ‘New swords’. Swords produced between 1596 and about 1800.

SHINTOISM
The essence of Shinto is the Japanese devotion to invisible spiritual beings and powers called kami, to shrines, and to various rituals. Shinto has no known founder or single sacred scripture.
Shinto is wholly devoted to life in this world and emphasises man’s essential goodness. For a well produced background on Shintoism.

SHIN-SHINTO
Literal translation: “New, new swords.” Swords between 1800 and 1870.

SHIRASAYA
White wooden scabbard usually made from Japanese ‘Honoki’ wood. 

SHOWA-TO
These are handmade blades made after 1926.

SORI
The term for the curvature of the sword. 

SUGUBA
This is a sword with a straight Hamon paralleling the edge curve. 

SUN
The Japanese measure for one-tenth of a shaku.
1 shaku = 30.30cm (11.93 inches)
1 shaku = 10 sun
1 sun = 3.03cm (1.193 inches)
1 sun = 10 bu
1 bu = .3030cm (0.119 inches)
1 bu = 10 rin
1 rin = .03030cm (0.01193 inches)

SUNAGASHI
Sweeping lines along the Hamon like floating sand ridges.

SUN-NOBI
Longer than average Wakizashi or Tanto.

SURIAGE
A shortened blade. Generally performed from the base of the blade by cutting the Nakago.

TACHI
The general term for swords slung blade down, carried mainly on horseback. Tachi swords were mainly produced during the Heian period (794 to 1185) and the Kamakura period (1185–1333)

TACHI KAKE
This is a sword rack or stand for a Tachi.

TACHI MEI
This is the name given to a sword whose signature (mei) is on the side of the tang which is away from the body when the blade is worn slung with the cutting edge down.

TAMESHIGIRI
Term given to the cutting test on a sword.

TANTO
Short daggers less than one shaku in length (30.3cm).

TOGI
Polish on a sword.

TORII ZORI
The curvature of the sword with the deepest part in the center of the blade.

TSUBA
A sword guard.

TSUKA
A sword handle (hilt).

TSUKA ITO
The braid for wrapping handle, normally made of silk.

TSUKA MAKI
The sword handle wrapping.

TSUNAGI
This is the term for the ‘mirror’ wooden sword that keeps the Koshirae intact when the blade is in the Shirasaya.

UBU NAKAGO
An original unaltered tang.

UCHIZORI
A type of curve that bends slightly towards, rather than away from, the cutting edge.

URA
The side of the sword next to the body when the sword is worn.

UTSURI
A misty reflection found on the ji and shinoji of swords of every possible type of surface grain. These faint lines appear to reflect the Hamon.

WAKIZASHI
Medium length sword between one and two feet. See available Wakizashi swords here.

WARI KOGAI
A kogai split to form chopsticks.

YAKIBA
The tempered surface along the edge.

YAKIDASHI
The end section of the Hamon near the tang.

YAKINAOSHI
Retempered blades.

YARI
A spear.

YASURI ME
File marks on the tang.

YOKOTE
The line separating the blade portion of the sword from the point portion. 

YUUKI
(勇気). A quote from Prince Mito: 揑t is true courage to live when it is right to live, and to die only when it is right to die.�As titled in Chapter IV, BUSHIDO by Inazo Nitobe 揅ourage, the spirit of daring and bearing.

ZAIMEI
A tang with signature. Visit our page with detailed information on parts of a Japanese sword.

ZEN
Japanese equivalent for the Dhyana, which “represents human effort to reach through meditation zones of thought beyond the range of verbal expression.” (Lafcadio Hearn, Exotics and Retrospectives, p. 84)

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Oakeshott Type XXI – XXII Records of the Medieval Sword – Sword-Site.Com: The World’s Largest Free Online Sword Museum! http://www.sword-site.com

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Extract from Records of the Medieval Sword by Ewart Oakeshott

With these types we come to a point (in the High Renaissance, in cultural terms) when so many varied shapes and sizes of blades, and complexities of hilts, became common that a typology such as this, based upon the outline shape of blades and their section can go no further. Besides, these two types seem only to have come upon the scene at the very end of the medieval period, and both lasted well into the 16th century.

Type XXI is basically formed upon the type of blade developed in Italy and best know as the Cinquedea – Five Fingers. Not all, however had the breath of five fingers at the hilt, nor were they all short like the true Cinquedea. A few were long swords, mounted with the ‘typical’ and characteristic Cinquedea hilt ( like No. XXI.2 here) but most had more conventional sword-hilts, all of which , however, seem to have conformed to a standard pattern – one or other of the variants of the disc pommel (type H to K) and all with rather short crosses, strongly arched over the blade and with curled-under tips. The exquisite sword made for Cesare Borgia in 1493 is the standard-bearer of this particular ‘family’ within the type; there are a few others which survive (and, one hopes, more may eventually come to light) but none can match the Borgia one. It is a very worth adjunct to one of the most exciting and colourful characters of the High Renaissance in Italy. A motto which he adopted ‘Fais ce que doit, adveigne qui peut’ (Do what you ought, come what may) is a fine sentiment, which by doing always what he ought no, has bought him lasting, probably undeserved infamy.

Type XXII is not really so handsome a blade-form, but surviving examples are among some fot he most lavish parade of swords of the 15th century. Characteristic is aboard, flat blade, the edges tapering in elegant curves to an acute point, and a pair of short, deep and very narrow fullers below the hilt.

XXI. 2

Type: XXI
Find-place: Unknown
Collection: Formerly de COsson, Douglas Ash, and myself, Now private
Blade-length: 32″ (81.3cms)
Pommel-type: There is no true pommel, for it has apure ‘Cinquedea’ hilt
Date: c.1480-1500
Condition: Very nearly perfect. The blade is unblemished, but the little filigree rondels in the walrus-ivory grip are modern replacements. There is avery simliar sword, in even better condition, in Naples, and the very tatty remains of another, excavated, one in the Firzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. Both of these have the same kind of bone or ivory hilt as this one.
The Naple on’s grip is of ivory, but the cross – the same acutely down-turend form as this, is of plain steel. So is the cross of the one in Cambride. Here the grip was of ivory or bone, but only fragments of it survive.

XXII. 1

Type: XXII
Find-place: Schloss Ambras, Austria
Collection: Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna
Pommel-type: F
Cross-style: A sort of Style 1
Blade-length: 36″ (91.5cms)
Date: c.1440
Condition: Well-preserved, nearly perfect. This, being a royal parade sword, has been kept in good condition and properly cared for since it was made for Friedrich III when King of the Romans before he became Emperor. The blade is Italian, but the hilt, with its plates of horn on grip and cross and the elaborate ‘chappe’ or rain-guard is of South German work-manship. The broad, massive blade bears a maker’s stamp, a crowned A: and etched and gilded below the hilt are panels of decoration; on one side, between conventional foliage the sing-headed black eagle of the Empire on a gold ground, on the other the AUstrian ‘Bindenschild’.
Publication: Gamber; Boeheim, W. ‘Albm’, vol. I, Plate 7; Oakeshott, SAC, PLate 42.A; Laking, vol I; Blair, C., EAA, No.45.

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Extract from Records of the Medieval Sword by Ewart Oakeshott

Type XX – XXa

This type seems to have been more characteristic of the late 15th century than the early 14th, for certainly more surviving examples seem to suggest the later date, but a sword which may be called the archetype can be dated – at lest, its characteristically formed blade can – firmly to the early 14th century by the inscription and markings engraved upon it.

As in most cases, the type is determined by the form of the blade, and particularly by the arrangement of its fullering. Here it is charaterised by a central fuller running over half-way down the blade, flanked by two shorter ones, generally of the same width as the central one, in the upper quarter of the blade’s length.
Most survivors of the type are large hand-and-a-half swords, but the archetypal one in question is an enormous bearing sword, shown here at XX.1(i)and XX.1(ii), shows the marks upon it which date it. Another rather later one – at least, the date on it is later, 1427 in Arabic Nashki script – si from the Hall of Victories in the Arsenal at Alexandria. This sword has a hilt quite consistent with a mid-14th century blade, a squared ‘wheel’ pommel of Type K and a straight square-section cross, but the others, as the illustrations which follow demonstrate, have varieties of the ‘scent-stopper’ pommel and have a distinctly 15th century look about them – i.e. their hilts resemble hilts shown in all form of art from the 1370s to the end of the 15th century. These will of course be deal with individually. In previous publication where I present my typology of medieval swords, I included two other blade-forms in with Type XX, but further study (after all, the typology was originated in 1958!) has made it plain that I have put these other forms into types of their own, XXI and XXII. This will appear in due course.

Type XXa: I felt that it was necessary to differentiate this form of blade from the broader, less acute blades of Type XX; the fuller in this sub-type is the same, but the edges run very sharply to an acute point.


XX.1

Type: XX
Find-place: Unkown
Collection: Private
Blade-length: 50″ (127 cms)
POmmel-type: T
Cross-style: 1
Date: c.1320-40
Condition: Very good. It has obviously been well-cared for. There are a few patches, where there has been very light rusting, scattered over the surfaces of the blade. The grip, wood, with a cord biding covered with leather, seems to be original. The enormous, massive pommel of bright iron has, like the blade, one or two very slight black patches on it.
The very enigmatic marks (see (ii) here) give a very positive date to the early 14th century. The style of the achievements of arms (crested helm and shiled) on either side are typical fo the period =c.1275-1325, as is the style of the letters and the other marks.
Publication: Oakeshott, SAX, Plate 40, p.76; Blair, C. EAA, No.64.


XXa.2

Type: XXa
Find-place: The River Dordogne, near Castillon
Collection: ? Private
Blade-length: 36 /14 (92″[siccms)
POmmel-type: Unclassified
Cross-style: 11, straight
Date: c.1425-50
Condition: Considerable corrosion, and some very wide and deep nicks on one edge, but none on the other. There are some remains of the wood of the grip in the lower opening of the pommel and on each face of the tang. There is also some of this wood of the grip inside the top face of the opening of the cross – i.e., the wood of the crip was shaped to fit top and bottom into the holes in the pommel and cross. Like other type XX and XXa clear traces of a complex pattern in gilt and on the upper part of the blade. THese marks (which include a totally indecipherable sequence of letters on each side) are not engraved and inlaid, but appear to be lightly etched and gilded. The pommel which is shaped like a more usual Type T.3, pear-shaped, is mounted with the thin end upwards, instead of downwards to join the top of the grip. There is another complete sword, the twin of this with asimilar? etched decoration on the blade, and a fragmentary one, from the same find.
Publication: Oakeshott, in Stuber & Wetler, No. 15a (p.19) and 15 (p.22).

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Oakeshott Type XVI – XVIa – Records of the Medieval Sword – Sword-Site.Com: The World’s Largest Free Online Sword Museum! http://www.sword-site.com

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Extract from Records of the Medieval Sword by Ewart Oakeshott

Type XVI – XVIa

It is possible, indeed, it seems inevitable, to suggest that this blade-form developed as a direct offensive answer to the newly-developed as a direct offensive answer to the newly-developed reinforced mail armour of the period 1300-1350. It is broad enough, and flat enough in section to provide an efficient cutting edge, but the lower part part below the end of the fuller is nearly always of a stiff flattened-diamond section with a strong median ridge, making it suitable for thrusting. Not all have this ridged lower blade, which makes it very difficult if not sometimes impossible to distinguish whether such a blade is XVI, or in fact a XIV; No. XVIa. 1 in this group is a case in point, its lower blade tapers strongly, though it is flat, but it has a very stout diamond-section reinforced point.
They are quite often shown in art. Sometimes, as in the two shown here at (iii) and (iv), from Italian early 14th century paintings at San Gimignano, they can be matched exactly by survivors – except that they are shown scabbarded. All we have to go on is the long, rather slender, tapering blades and long grips. Compare these two for instance, with the photograph of the hilt of No. XVI.2 belwo. A sculptured St. Peter at (v), from a roof-boss at Exeter Cathedral which can be dated to 1328 shows a perfect example of the type, closely matched by NO. XVI.3 below.

XVI. 1

Type: XVI
Find-place: London River, off Westemister opposter the HOuses of Parliament
Collection: Formerly the old London Museum, now the Royal Armouries IX.13
Blade-length: 27″ (68.6cms)
Pommel-type: 1
Cross-style: A long 7
Date: c.1300-25
Condition: River-found. Excellent some pitting and erosion of the edges near the point and below the cross. Compare this sword with the drawing of St Peter fromt he Exeter roof-boss, which was carved before 1328.
Publication: Dufty; Oakeshott, Catalogue of the Second Park Lane Arms Fair, Londong, 1983.

XVI. 2

Type: XVI
Find-place: unknown
Collection: Royal Armouries, IX. 1083 formerly D’Acre Edwards
Blade-length: 32″ (81.2cms) approximately
Pommel-type: J
Cross-style: 2
Date: c.1300-25
Condition: Excavated, almost certainly river-found. Very good though there is a lot of corrosion at the point-end of the blade. The cross is very slightly bent, up one arm and down the other. The metal of the cross is very stout, of square section, and it has always seemed to me when handling this sword that very shallow reverse curvature couldn’t have been made by accident; it must, I think, have been forged that way – though one cannot assume that, in the forging, the bend was deliberate. It is too shallow to have a ‘guarding’ effect like 16th century vertically recurved quillons; bu the process of forging a carefully sharped bar of of iron, with a slot in the middle is tricky business and an inadvertent bend could very easily occur. There is some distortion in the tang, too.
Publication: Dufty.

XVI.3

Type : XVI
Find-place: Unknown, but in Denmark
Collection: Nationalmuseet, Copenhagen
Blade-length: 30&1/8″ (76.5cms)
Pommel-type: T.1
Cross-style: 6
Date: c.1300-50
Condition: River-found? Excellent. The erosion on the edges of the blade is the result of wear and honing, not corrosion. The fuller bears a a near four-letter inscription inlaid in latten. This inscription is similar to that upon the blade of the big XIIIa in the Burrel Collection in Glasgow, shown here above at XIIIa.10.
There is a sword extremely similar to this – its hilt is identical though its blade is about 6″ long, in the Museum at Bern (inv. No.840). That one, however, has no inscription.
Publication: Hoffmeyer; Pl.XXXIId.2 p.34 no.1 Oakeshott, SAC pl.20b


XVIa.5

Type: XVIa
Find-place: ? Germany
Collection: The Royal Armouries. IX. 1084. Formerly D’ACre Edwards
Blade-length: 33″ (83.9 cms)
Pommel-type: K
Cross-style: 6
Date: c.1300-25
Condition: Excavated. ? River found. Good, but considerable erosion of the edges and some deep putting on the blade. The grip, of white wood, is modern, The shape of this sword should be compared with that of No.XVI.1 in this series. The fuller here is very narrow, but there is a distinct rib in the lower half of the blade.
Publication: Dufty, [sic]

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Oakeshott Type XV – XVa – Records of the Medieval Sword – Sword-Site.Com: The World’s Largest Free Online Sword Museum! http://www.sword-site.com

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Extract from Ewart Oakeshott’s Records of the Medieval Sword

Type XV – XVa

The general outline, or silhouette, of this type is very much like that of Type XIV, but the section of the blade is totally different, as is the prime function of the sword. The XIV’s were made and used when the most defensive armour was still mail, with or without metal or leather of quilted reinforcement. The function of a XIV, like all it [sic] predecessors, was to be a slashing and hewing weapon. A XV was meant to be able to deliver a lethal thrust, even though armour was largely of plate. It seems to have developed along with the development of plate armour. Here, however, I must add a ride. Many of the swords in the period of the CEltic Iron Age, particularly in the La Tene III, are of the same stiff, flattened diamond section with a prime function of thrusting. The long Roman Spatha, used by the ancillary cavalry, is of a form which, if found or seen out of context, could well be taken to be the lade of a sword of Type XV or XVIII of the 14th or 15th century A.D., instead of between 200 B.C. and 400 A.D.
The illustrations and notes which follow will demonstrate the form and general appearance of teh type and its long gripped, hand a half subtype, which by the 15th century would be called and espee batarede, or Bastard Sword. With this type, unlike some of its predecessors, dating becomes impossible without some kind of firm evidence, preferably external or contextual, for the type was popular from the late 13th century to the late 15th – indeed, the blade-form continued in use into the 19th century. Considering we find it first int he 3rd century BC contexts, it must be the most long-lived blade form in the Western world.

XV. 4

Type: XV
Find-place: unknown
Collection: Private. Ex. author, ex Douglas Ash
Blade-length: 27″ (68cms)
Pommel-type: G.1
Cross-style: 10
Date: C.1470-1500
Condition: Excellent. Must have been preserved in an armoury or in a house, and cared for. The hilt retains most of its original blue colour, as well as its grip of ? lime wood covered with red velvet and bound with silver wire. This grip shows interesting marks of wear, the velvet covering being worn away where the heel of a hand has rubbed it and there is a good deal of hand-grease where it was gripped. There is a mark of a small cross inlaid in copper on the blade, which is of extremely thick section. Rather a a heavy sword, well balanced for thrusting.
Publication: Oakeshott, AOW pl.19; Oakeshott, SAC pl.27b


XV. 9

Typec: XV
Find-place: Unknown
Collection: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Blade-length: 29″ (73.7cms)
Pommel-type: K
Cross-style 8, curved
Date: c.1400-50
Condition: Not excavated, but preserved indoors. The blade shows a lot of quite deep overall surface pitting as if it had been allowed to get very rusty; but the hilt of gilt-bronze with a horn grip is in near perfect condition.
The very elegant grip of dark greenish-black horn is held by long vertical fillets of gilt-bronze along each edge. It is a most elegant, useful sword which has had doubts cast upon its authentic age, being held by some authorities to be a 19th century fake.
Publication: New York, Metropolitan Museum Bulletin
Oakeshott, SAC, pl. 23 and 24


XVa. 1

3. Type: XVa
Find-place: Lake of Lucerne
Collection: The Royal Armouries. Ex collection Sir Edward Barry
Blade-length: 32″ (81 cms) approximately
Pommel-type: J
Cross-style: 8
Date: c.1350-70
Condition: Poor. There is a lot of deep pitting underneath the patina, but the old grip survives though the metal of the hilt is badly corroded, as is the lower on-third of the blade. An extremely simliar sword, in the same kind of condition though lacking the grip was found in the Thames at London, and is now in the collection of the Society of Antiquaries at Burlington House in London. The form of sword seems to have been fashionable in the 14th century, judging by the number of survivors, all as alike as peas in a pod.
Publication: Laking, Connoisseur, February, 1905. Dufty.

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Oakeshott Type XII – Records of the Medieval Sword – Sword-Site.Com: The World’s Largest Free Online Sword Museum! http://www.sword-site.com

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Extract from Records of the Medieval Sword by Ewart Oakeshott

Type XII

This is one of the most difficult sword-types to identify, because so many swords which might seem (perhaps by the forms of their hilts) to be of the type are in fact Xs, or even XVIs. In isolating the type, I laid down two totally arbitrary criteria: (1) that the blade should have noticeable taper, and an acute point, and the grip should be quite short, never of hand-and-a-half length, and (2) that the fuller should not extend beyond two-thirds of the length of the blade. This is all very well where these features are obvious; identification is easy enough as the illustrations below will show, but there are so many examples where the fuller is nearly(or quite) three-quarter length, making it nearly an X, or where there is no, as in No. XII. 16 below, or where the hilt is of a clearly early form, as in XII. 2 below, or where the taper is very slight and the point rounded, or when the grip is longer than the ‘standard’ 4″ to 4&1/2″ single-hand length. So many swords have one or other, or even all, of these difficult characteristics that one has difficulty in pinning them down to any of the types.
I mentioned the ‘early form’ of the hilt of XII.2. I must reiterate my firm belief that you cannot date a sword by its type, for most of the types – not all, as you will see – can span the whole of the medieval period. Nor can you use the forms of cross and pommel to date a sword – hardly ever. There are a few, mostly in use in the 15th century, which are dateable to a few decades, and can be identified with a region; but most of the pommel-types and cross-styles span the whole period; besides, within those types and styles there must be an infinity of variation – personal, regional and in some cases plain careless on the part of the cutler who made them. A sword’s cross is a most difficult object to make by forging, and distortion is difficult to avoid.

XII. 2
2. Type: XII
Find-place: Unknown
Collection: Schweizerrishes National Museum, Zurich, LM15672
Blade-length: 30″ (76.1cms)
Pommel-type: B.1
Cross-style: Unclassified, Viking. (Petersen’s Type X)
Date: c.950-1000
Condition: Excavated, but good except for a very pitted surface.

XII. 8
Type: XII
Find-place: River Great Ouse, Stretham, NR Ely
Collection: Museum of Archaelogy and Ethnology, Downing COllege, Cambridge
Blade-Length: 36′ (91.4cms)
Pommel-Type F
Cross-style: 2
Date: c. 1150-1250
Condition: River-found, very good. Considerable pitting, especially the last 15″ or so towards the point.
Puublication: Oakeshott, SAC
Considering this sword’s find-place, in the Great Ouse about four miles away to the south of Ely, it could be tempting to think of it as a relic of the fighting around Ely in 1070 when the Conqueror finally took teh Isle by crossing the Marsh over causeway from Stuntney, one-and-a-half miles to the east of the city; but as far as is known it is unlikely that any knight of that army would have been four miles off across the swampy fen to lose his sword at the point, where it was found. It is much more probably one of the (so far, in 1988) seven swords from this river, in a twelve or so mile stretch between Southery to the north of Ely and Upware to the south which )vary in date from c.950-1400) were thrown in deliberately as ‘sacrifices’.
It is very difficult ot date this rather important sword; its blade is almost, if not quite of Xa form, yet I have categorised it as a XII because of it [sic] rather long grip. Taking only the form of blade and cross, one would date it, via Leppaaho’s finds, at c.1100, yet the form of the pommel is generally between c.1260 and 1320. Therefore it can only be suggested that it could be dated, because we don’t yet know of a reliably dated example of the pommel form as early as 1100, to a period of usage somewhere between 1250 and 1350.

XII. 16
Type: XII
Find-place: A town in N. Italy
Collection: Private, USA
Blade-length: 29&1/2″ (75cms)
Pommel-type: J
Cross-style: 5 – or a variant of it
Date: c. 1250 -1300
Condition: good. This was found with two other swords in a a house being demolished in an Italian town. The swords were hidden between two walls, so had been preserved in dry conditions. The gilt-bronze pommel and cross have been severely cleaned, but are in very good condition, the iron under the gilding not having corroded at all. The blade and tang are covered in a rather thick brown patina – though to call it a patina when it is more in the nature of the thick brown deposit is perhaps too polite to it. Beneath this crust, however, the blade seems to be perfectly preserved.
Publications: None
It is difficult to to categories this sword with certainty, for there is no clearly defined fuller in the blade, and its grip is is rather long for a Type XII, thw whole thing being in the proportions of a Type XIII. Compare it, for instance with the No. XIII. 1 in this sequence. However the taper of the blade and the acuteness of the point is more in the nature of a XII, so I have put it under that type. It is a good example of one of the many cases where it seems quite impossible to put certain swords into a typological straight-jacket. The cross is unusual, too, rather heavy, made (like the pommel) of bronze gilded. It has been bent, and though it shows a strong transverse ridge along the middle of both arms on the ‘outside’, on the reverse it is quite plain and flat. This feautre of half-decorated cross is very common, particularly in 15th century hilts.

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