This samurai sword, called a katana, has a handle covered in ray skin, then wrapped in a braided fabric. The tsuba (sword guard) is made of wood and features a gold inlaid moon on one side and a metal bird attached to the other side among carved flowers. The scabbard is black lacquered wood, with narrow grooves about an inch apart and metal decorations of maple leaves, insects, and other flowers.
A katana is a long sword that is over two shaku long. A shaku, the traditional unit of measurement for Japanese swords, is equivalent to about a foot, though it was longer before 1891. A short sword, or shoto, is between one and two shaku long.