A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

Special Introductory Offer!

Dagger Molds May Link Japan to Northern China

Friday, August 09, 2013


TAKASHIMA, JAPAN—Two stone molds for making daggers with a double-ringed pommel and a straight blade have been unearthed in at the Kami-Gotten site in western Japan. The molds, which date to between 350 B.C. and A.D. 300, would have been used to create daggers that resemble those from northern China. Such weapons have never before been found in Japan or even Korea. The saw-tooth and herringbone patterns on the handles are common motifs on bronze bells found in Japan, however. “The artifacts, likely modeled after bronze daggers of northern China, were probably made in Japan, although how the design got here is a mystery,” said Harutaro Odagi of Tenri University. He thinks that these molds were never used.