Knife cover (tantô bukuro)

Edo period
18th or 19th century

Object Place: Japan


Overall: 39 x 10 x 1.5 cm (15 3/8 x 3 15/16 x 9/16 in.) Other (Cord): 43 cm (16 15/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Silk twill-weave ground with silk and gilt paper strip discontinuous supplementary patterning wefts tied down with supplementary warp in twill-weave

Not On View


Asia, Textiles and Fashion Arts



Knife cover (tantô bukuro) with design of tortoise-shell pattern (kikko-mon) and Chinese flower motifs (karahana) in blue, green, orange and white silk and gilt paper strip discontinuous supplementary patterning wefts on a reddish-orange twill-weave silk ground. The cover is constructed of a length of fabric folded over and stitched together of three sides with a black plain-weave silk lining and has a black silk cord attached at one side through a carrier. The cover was probably made with fabric from a robe (karaori).


By 1911, purchased by William Sturgis Bigelow (b. 1850 - d. 1926), Boston [see note 1]; 1911, gift of Bigelow to the MFA. (Accession Date: August 3, 1911)

[1] Much of Bigelow's collection of Asian art was formed during his residence in Japan between 1882 and 1889, although he also made acquisitions in Europe and the United States. Bigelow deposited many of these objects at the MFA in 1890 before donating them to the Museum's collection at later dates.

Credit Line

William Sturgis Bigelow Collection