Koshirae (拵え) refers to the ornate mountings of a Japanese sword (e.g. katana) used when the sword blade is being worn by its owner. A more accurate word is tōsō (刀装), meaning sword-furniture, where tōsōgu (刀装具) are the parts of the mounting in general, and "kanagu" stands for those made of metal. Gaisō (外装) are the "outer" mountings, as opposed to tōshin (刀身), the "body" of the sword.
A koshirae should be presented with the tsuka (hilt) to the left, particularly in times of peace with the reason being that you cannot unsheathe the sword easily this way. During the Edo period, many formalized rules were put into place: in times of war the hilt should be presented to the right allowing the sword to be readily unsheathed.Koshirae were meant not only for functional but also for aesthetic purposes, often using a family mon (crest) for identification.
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