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Chiyoganemaru

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  • Japanese: 千代金丸 (chiyoganemaru)

Chiyoganemaru is a famous and prominent Ryukyuan sword, today designated a National Treasure of Japan. It is held in the collection of the Naha City Museum of History, where it is regularly displayed.

History

According to the Ryukyuan official history Kyûyô, the defeated king of Hokuzan killed himself with this sword in 1416, when his kingdom was conquered by Chûzan.

It is said that as his castle fell, Hananchi used the sword to smash a sacred stone in the castle's utaki (central sacred space), and then committed suicide with the blade. He is said to have thrown Chiyoganemaru into the river as he died, after which it supposedly was carried by the currents to Iheya Island, where someone found it and gifted it to the kings of Chûzan.

Description

The sword is a curved blade, likely forged in Japan and refitted to be wielded one-handed. The hilt, along with the pommel and scabbard, both in gilded black lacquer, are believed to have been produced in Ryûkyû. The blade itself lacks any inscription, but the pommel features a chrysanthemum design, and the two-character phrase taisei (大世), referring perhaps to King Shô Taikyû, whose divine name was Taisei-ô.

References

  • Gallery labels, Naha City Museum of History, August 2013.
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