Spade Blade (Japan), Before 1855
This is a Spade blade.
Tools handcrafted by specialized artisans are accorded particular respect in Japan, where echizen uchihamano, the forged blades made in Echizen Province during the Edo period (1603–1868), are designated as an official traditional craft of Japan. Communities of metal workers began to specialize in tools like this spade blade as early as the fourteenth century. Subsequent generations of artisans have continued this practice, using virtually identical tools and materials, and seated cross-legged on the floor in the middle of their small workshop. This spade blade is one of four similar cast iron tools acquired during Commodore Matthew C. Perry’s historic voyages to Japan in 1853–54, which led to the first-of-its-kind collection of Japanese artifacts at the then-new Smithsonian Institution.
It is credited
Collected by Commodore Matthew C. Perry in 1853-54, Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, E378.
Our curators have highlighted 3 objects that are related to this one.
Its dimensions are
H x W x D: 3.8 x 12.1 x 24.8 cm (1 1/2 x 4 3/4 x 9 3/4 in.)
This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Tools: Extending Our Reach.