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Spade Blade (Japan)

This is a Spade blade.

This object is not part of the Cooper Hewitt's permanent collection. It was able to spend time at the museum on loan from National Museum of Natural History as part of Tools: Extending Our Reach.

It is dated Before 1855. Its medium is cast iron.

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.

  • Sickle Blade (Japan)
  • iron.
  • Collected by Commodore Matthew C. Perry in 1853-54, Department of....
  • 15.2012.39

Our curators have highlighted 3 objects that are related to this one.

  • Drawing, Design for a Tractor
  • brush and black ink, green, gouache, green and yellow crayons, graphite on....
  • Gift of Henry Dreyfuss.
  • 1972-88-375
  • Strongbox
  • iron.
  • Gift of Dr. Walter Leo Hildburgh.
  • 1932-16-112

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.

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian’s Terms of Use page.

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Spade Blade (Japan) |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=28 January 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>