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Filming for Two Weeks, on Location Around East Sussex for a Samurai History in Art Pilot Documentary

The shop will be open as normal.

Code: 23843

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A Simply Stunning 14th to 15th Century Tachi, The Samurai 'Slung' Sword

The blade looks simply magnificent. It's had grain as so beautiful and complex it is truly exceptional, and utterly remarkable for a blade that is between 600 to 700 years old!! A slim wakazashi sized tachi, in stunning Edo period shakudo fittings, of the most discerning quality, mounted faithfully to scale as a full tachi, but around two thirds size and to be worn as a shoto but tachi style, bound from the obi. Often they could be used as young samurai swords, but only for sons of the very highest ranking Daimyo when in this quality. Beautiful blade from the 14th to 15th century with nambokochu form fish belly tang. The koshirae are gilt bronze with fine shakudo and mon of menuki, The Nishikawa family crest, of the Maru ni Mokkou. A tachi was a type of traditionally made Japanese sword (nihonto) worn by the samurai class of feudal Japan. The tachi style of swords preceded the development of the katana ? the first use of the word katana to indicate a blade different from tachi appears toward the end of the twelfth century. In later Japanese feudal history, during the Sengoku and Edo periods, certain high-ranking warriors of what became the ruling class would wear their sword tachi-style (edge-downward), rather than with the saya (scabbard) thrust through the belt with the edge upward. The bakuhan taisei was the feudal political system in the Edo period of Japan. Baku, or "tent," is an abbreviation of bakufu, meaning "military government" ? that is, the shogunate. The han were the domains headed by daimyo. The number of han (roughly 250) fluctuated throughout the Edo period. They were ranked by size, which was measured as the number of koku that the domain produced each year. One koku was the amount of rice necessary to feed one adult male for one year. The minimum number for a daimyo was ten thousand koku; the largest, apart from the shogun, was a million. 28.5 inches long, blade 20.25 inches long tsuba to tip. Kameda - Ishino - Magabuchi - Kawashima - Wada et Yamaoka. Tachi can vary in size enormously from elegant and small such as this ancient sword, to long and heavy.

Code: 22988

6950.00 GBP


Shortlist item
A Stunning Pair Of Tsuba, Original Early Daisho Sukashi Mon Iron Maru Gata Tsuba

Pre-Edo or early Edo period, circa 1600's. Polished finish bevelled towards the edge. Matching daito [long sword] and shoto [short sword] tsubas, very finely pierced with the Rokakku samurai clan's crest, the "kamon" . Founded by Sasaki Yasutsuna of Omi Province in the 13th century, the name Rokkaku was taken from their residence within Kyoto; however, many members of this family continued to be called Sasaki. Over the course of the Muromachi period, members of the clan held the high post of Constable (shugo) of various provinces.
During the Onin War (1467?77), which marked the beginning of the Sengoku period, the clan's Kannonji Castle came under assault. As a consequence of defeat in the field, the clan entered a period of decline.
Like other hard-pressed daimyos, the Rokakku tried to enhance their military position by giving closer attention to improved civil administration within their domain. For instance, in 1549, the Rokkaku eliminated a paper merchant's guild in Mino under penalty of confiscation. Then they declared a free market in its place.

The Rokakku were defeated by Oda Nobunaga in 1568 on his march to Kyoto and in 1570 they were absolutely defeated by Shibata Katsuie. During the Edo period, Rokkaku Yoshisuke's descendants were considered a koke clan. Historically, or in a more general context, the term koke may refer to a family of old lineage and distinction. Tsuba were made by whole dynasties of craftsmen whose only craft was making tsuba. They were usually lavishly decorated. In addition to being collectors items, they were often used as heirlooms, passed from one generation to the next. Japanese families with samurai roots sometimes have their family crest (mon) crafted onto a tsuba. Tsuba can be found in a variety of metals and alloys, including iron, steel, brass, copper and shakudo. In a duel, two participants may lock their katana together at the point of the tsuba and push, trying to gain a better position from which to strike the other down. This is known as tsubazeriai pushing tsuba against each other. A samurai's daisho were his swords, as worn together, as stated in the Tokugawa edicts. In a samurai family the swords were so revered that they were passed down from generation to generation, from father to son. If the hilt or scabbard wore out or broke, new ones would be fashioned for the all-important blade. The hilt, the tsuba (hand guard), and the scabbard themselves were often great art objects, with fittings sometimes of gold or silver. Often, too, they ?told? a story from Japanese myths. Magnificent specimens of Japanese swords can be seen today in the Tokugawa Art Museum?s collection in Nagoya, Japan.
In creating the sword, a sword craftsman, such as, say, the legendary Masamune, had to surmount a virtual technological impossibility. The blade had to be forged so that it would hold a very sharp edge and yet not break in the ferocity of a duel. To achieve these twin objectives, the sword maker was faced with a considerable metallurgical challenge. Steel that is hard enough to take a sharp edge is brittle. Conversely, steel that will not break is considered soft steel and will not take a keen edge. Japanese sword artisans solved that dilemma in an ingenious way. Four metal bars ? a soft iron bar to guard against the blade breaking, two hard iron bars to prevent bending and a steel bar to take a sharp cutting edge ? were all heated at a high temperature, then hammered together into a long, rectangular bar that would become the sword blade. When the swordsmith worked the blade to shape it, the steel took the beginnings of an edge, while the softer metal ensured the blade would not break. This intricate forging process was followed by numerous complex processes culminating in specialist polishing to reveal the blades hamon and to thus create the blade's sharp edge. Inazo Nitobe stated: ?The swordsmith was not a mere artisan but an inspired artist and his workshop a sanctuary. Daily, he commenced his craft with prayer and purification, or, as the phrase was, ?he committed his soul and spirit into the forging and tempering of the steel.?
Celebrated sword masters in the golden age of the samurai, roughly from the 13th to the 17th centuries, were indeed revered to the status they richly deserved. Daito tsuba 78mm, shoto tsuba 72mm. Apertures for the sword's tangs [nakago ana] 29mm x 8mm and 24mm x 8mm respectively [they can be adjusted as required]

Code: 23030

1475.00 GBP


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A Most Fine & Beautiful Katana Signed Sukesada of Bizen Dated 1560

Signed Bizen kuni ju Osafune Sukesada. One of the Sukesada, Bizen smiths. A very nice Koto blade, that has seen battle, with fine mounts and, most unusually, a very interestingly, embossed leather bound tsuka, with cloisonn? enamel menuki. Embossed leather was imported to Japan by the Portuguese in the 16th century and was highly prized as screens and other decorative works of art. We have also seen, although most rarely, other items decorated with this distinctive leatherwork such as samurai purses and saya coverings. The embossing on the leather are various insects, highly popular in samurai fittings d?cor. The fushi tsuka mount is very fine, signed by the maker, and decorated with flowers and gold buds. Harima, Mimasaka and Bizen provinces were prospering under the protection of the Akamatsu family. Above all, Bizen province turned out a great many talented swordsmiths. A large number of swords were made there in the late Muromachi period not only supplying the demand of the Age of Provincial Wars in Japan but also as an important exporting item to the Ming dynasty in China. At the onset of the decline of the Ashikaga shogunate in 1565 ad., and Yoshiteru's assassination the shogunate of Yoshiteru was filled by his two-year old son, Yoshiaki. Yoshiteru's brother was the abbot of a Buddhist monastery. He resigned this position and attempted to assume the shogunate. These efforts ultimately failed. The demand for swords began an accent to unimaginable levels. The national unrest and violent civil war did not cease until the successful takeover of the shogunate by Tokugawa Iyeyasu. The "Osafune - Kozori" group was the major supplier of blades for these events. 29 inch blade Tsuba to tip. On just one side of the blade there are combat stress hagire marks near the top section. This blade has certainly seen combat, and is simply ideal for the historical collector of beautiful samurai weaponry of battle, rather than those seeking blade condition perfection. 40 inches long approx overall in saya

Code: 22916

6450.00 GBP


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A Rare WW1 Russian Romanov Era Poster of Czar Nicolas IInd Period

With stunning and highly distinctive artistry. Showing a monoplane crashing into a Zeppelin and the men jumping for their lives. This is a beautiful remnant of an art form that existed for a relatively brief period thus is highly evocative of its era. Published date of 1914. Early Russian posters, in fact all forms of original posters, are now becoming extraordinarily collectable. Their original purpose of being entirely transitory and disposable means so few original examples now exist, and can now only be usually seen as reprinted versions. Another poster for the Battleship Potemkin Russian movie, designed by the Stenberg brothers in 1925, sold in November 2012 for 103,250 Pounds Sterling at Christies Auction in London. It arranged class elements into a powerful design of revolutionary upheaval. This poster is approx. 21 inches x 15.75 inches, sold unmounted, without frame, but shown framed in the photos for an example of its potential display. As with any art form the value of a poster is somewhat dependent on the artist who created it. For example, the Frenchman, Chenet’s work is very sought after, however other artists' work can be even more desirable. Henri deToulouse-Lautrec is well known for his images of the Parisian night-life. His posters are filled with images of showgirls, bright colours, and stylized fonts. The auction record for an art poster is held by his Moulin Rouge, which sold for an amazing $241,500.00 in 1999.

This poster is in superb condition for age, and has been superbly preserved with stunningly vibrant colours.

Code: 18204

475.00 GBP


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A Simply Fabulous 18th Century Hand Held Military Grenade-Mortar-Pyrotechnic Cohorn Pistol

A Fabulous and such a rare pistol, somewhat like an amazing short barrelled huge muzzle blunderbuss. Made in the 1760's, it is a hand portable grenade or mortar launcher sometimes known as a cohorn, and also known as a pyrotechnic gun. It is such a rarity today as to be a near unique survivor of its type. We show in the gallery [photo 10] another example of a rare hand held mortar / grenade gun, that sold at auction 3 years ago in Germany, for a remarkable 120,000 euros [although it was certainly somewhat more elaborate as it was a civilian type]. The two stage barrel is stunning and has traces and of scrolling flames engraved across the top. The butt has a grotesque cast mask and a most finely engraved trigger guard, depicting anf ancient helmetted warrior, and an engraved brass side plate. Certainly used in the Americas in the 18th and early 19th century. Last year we were delighted to have a very, very rare, shoulder mounted grenade launcher, used by the early grenadiers, but a hand held version, such as this in some respects is even rarer still. It has had a percussion conversion lock by R Ashmore [an American maker] converted by him in the first quarter part of the 19th century. His name is engraved on the lock [but worn]. The hand mortar is a firearm that was used in the late 17th century and 18th century to throw fused grenades. The action was similar to a flintlock, matchlock, or wheellock firearm (depending on the date of production), but the barrel was short, usually less than 2 inches (5 cm) to 4 inches (10 cm) long (though some are reported to have barrels up to 13 inches (33 cm) long), and had a large bore to accommodate the grenade; usually between 2 and 2.5 inches (5 to 6 cm). Between 1672 and 1740, the Royal Foundry of Berlin (Knigliches Giehaus zu Berlin) produced 302 hand mortars (Handmorser). Additionally, a mortar at the Museum of Artillery in Woolwich, Great Britain bears the inscription Fondeur Strasbourg (made in Strasbourg (France)) and several other surviving pieces bear the coat of arms of Wurttemberg indicating that they might have been made there. The first references to the type of grenade used in a hand mortar occur in a 1472 work entitled Valturius, where an incendiary prototype may have been produced. However, widespread use of the explosive grenade does not occur until the early-to-mid-16th century under Francis I of France. An early casualty of this type of grenade was Count de Randan who died of shrapnel wounds to the legs from a grenade during the Siege of Rouen (probably the battle of Issoire) in 1562. Explosive grenades were made from brass, glass, and possibly clay, and incendiary projectiles were made from canvas, however, Nathanael Nye, Master Gunner of the City of Worcester in a work entitled Art of Gunnery published in 1647, remarks that the soldiers of his day were not fond of handling the grenades because they were too dangerous. While there are substantial records of infantry units called grenadiers throughout the 18th century in Europe, these units generally threw the grenades by hand, but maybe a few men of the regiment could be armed with launchers such as this. After priming the firearm and adding the gunpowder, the shooter would light a grenade fuse, place the grenade in the muzzle of the mortar, then fire it at the enemy. However, accidents could occur if the weapon misfired and the lit grenade remained in the barrel. Additional modifications attempted to light the grenade using the burning gunpowder, but accounts say that the fuse would be forced into the grenade which would explode immediately.

The low number of surviving specimens of this firearm indicate that it was not a popular weapon, possibly due to the safety issues. In his essay on the weapon, Hewitt opines that the mortar is among a variety of "projects for destruction which have never destroyed anything but the fortunes of their inventors". At least one version of the hand mortar was probably invented by John Tinker in 1681. However, his mortar may have been an improvement on an earlier piece. A reference to this mortar may have appeared in a work entitled Ancient Armour which refers to a tinker's mortar. Another account refers to a hand mortar as a cohorn, and attributes its invention to a Dutch engineer, Menno Van Coehoorn, who lived from 1641 to 1704. Hand Mortars were also to be found in the New World. References to a hand mortar being transferred in Maryland are found in the record of The Proceedings of the Council of Maryland in 1698. Another account in the journal of Alexander Henry the younger tells of a hand mortar (called a cohorn; after Menno van Coehoorn) being loaded with a pound of powder, 30 balls, and fired in an action against Sioux indians in 1808.

Another reference to the use of cohorns in the New World can be found in The Life of Joseph Brant (Thayendanegea) including the Border Wars of the American Revolution by William L. Stone (two volumes) published Albany NY 1865. Stone in describing Sir William Johnson's Niagara campaign of 1759 notes the following: "The youthful warrior likewise accompanied Sir William during the Niagara Campaign of 1759, and in the brilliant achievements of the Baronet, after the chief command had devolved upon him upon the death of General Prideaux, is said to have acquitted himself with distinguished bravery. General Prideaux, commanding the expedition, was killed by the accidental explosion of a cohorn on the 20th of July?" (Stone, Vol 1, p. 20). The action is tight and the forend has old working life stock repairs. 12.5 inches long , barrel 6.75 inches long 1.25 inch bore

Code: 23197

5995.00 GBP


Shortlist item
Aur.Theodosii Macrobii, v. cl. & inlustris, Opera Published London 1694

by Ambrosius Aurelius Theodosius Macrobius, Johannes Isacius Pontanus, Johannes van Meurs, Jacobus Gronovius. First printing in England. Published by Dring and Harper of Fleet St. Imprimateur Rob. Ridgely, Feb 25, 169 1/2. 1694 Editio Novissima, Cum Indice Rerum & Vocum Locupletissimo. Calf leather, spine with four raised bands.Macrobius, ca. 400, is considered to be one of the last pagan Roman authors. His most important work is the Saturnalia, an account of a long dicussion held during a symposium on the occasion of the Saturnalia. The subjects discussed are grammar, philology, mythology, history. Macrobius also produced a commentary on the Somnium Scipionis of Cicero. The work of this late antique writer is important because he rescued opinions and passages from works that have been lost. The Dutch classical scholar Johannes Isaac Pontanus, 1571-1639, was born at sea (hence his name), when his parents were on their way to Denmark. There he was for some time a helper of Tycho Brahe (NNBW I,1417). In 1606 he became professor of Mathematics at the University of Harderwijk. His edition of Macrobius, which included also notes of the Dutch scholar Johannes Meursius, dates from 1597, a second edition from 1628. § This edition of 1670 was produced by the young Dutch scholar Jacobus Gronovius, 1645-1716, after having finished his studies at the University of Leiden under his father Johannes Fredericus Gronovius, 1611-1671, who was professor of Greek and History from 1658, and from 1665 librarian of the University Library of Leiden. It was Jacobus' first important scholarly feat. In the preface Gronovius tells us that his father allowed him to inspect and cleanse ancient manuscripts, and how he conceived the plan to collate two rather old Macrobius manuscripts that were in a bad shape. ('duorum (.) MStorum situ & squalore horrentium, satis tamen antiquam manum ostendentium')Later, in 1679, Jacobus succeeded his father as professor of History and Greek)

Code: 23302

875.00 GBP


Shortlist item
A Superb 2000 Year Old Rare Roman Legionary's or Gladiator's Pugio Dagger, Only the Third of This Fine Quality We have Found in the Past 10 Years

A simply superb, original artifact of Ancient Rome. from the time of the Great Julius Caeser, and the subsequent Emperors, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero. The very form and type of dagger that was used to assassinate the great Julius Caesar on the Ides of March, and that was actually depicted at the time on a Roman coin, the "Brutus “Eid Mar” Denarius", considered by some to be the rarest and most important coin ever made in Roman history [see photo 8 in our gallery] and the only coin minted to openly celebrate a murder.
Plus, the highly distinctive pugio dagger was an essential weapon of the roman legionaries. The hilts of original roman swords and daggers very rarely survive to today, as their material of construction [such as wood, ivory, horn or bone] does not last as long over 2000 years as the iron blades can. Only the very few that had cast bronze hilts remain intact. The pugio (plural: pugiones) was a dagger used by Roman soldiers as a sidearm, and it seems most likely that the pugio dagger was intended as an auxiliary weapon, after the sword or lance. Officials of the empire took to wearing ornate daggers in the performance of their offices, and some would wear concealed daggers as a defence against contingencies. The dagger was a common weapon of assassination and suicide; for example, the conspirators who stabbed Julius Caesar used pugiones. Roman writer Vegetius, wrote

"A stroke with the edges, though made with ever so much force, seldom kills. On the contrary, a stab, though it penetrates but two inches, is generally fatal. If the body is covered while a thrust is given, and the adversary receives the point before he sees the sword." This was the method of fighting principally used by the Romans. There are a number of surviving Roman depictions of soldiers slashing with their weapons in addition to stabbing with them. This is shown best on the Adamklissi metopes.

Attempts to cast pugios in the role of utility knives are misguided, as the blade form is not suited to this purpose, it being far better suited for use as a close quarter weapon. Small utility knives are found in profusion at military sites and there is no reason to think that soldiers needed to use their pugios for anything other than fighting. Tacitus reports that Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo had a soldier executed for not wearing a sword while digging a trench and another for wearing only a pugio in the same activity. The pugio became an ornate sidearm of officers and dignitaries as well, a custom reminiscent of the knives after which the Saxons were named. These Germanic mercenaries served in the Roman army. The emperors came to wear a dagger to symbolize the power of life and death. The emperor Vitellius attempted to resign his position and offers his dagger to the consul, but it was refused and Vitellius was forced to stay by popular acclaim and the Praetorian guard. Tacitus also relates that a centurion, Sempronius Densus, of the Praetorian guard drew a dagger to save Lucius Calpurnius Piso Licinianus momentarily. One picture in the gallery is from Barry Strauss book the Death of Caesar, it shows a complete original pugio with its intact cast bronze hilt, the blade shape of ours is identical and highly identifiable. This blade is superb, with an aged russetted surface condition as normal for surviving Roman iron blades today. Blade. 14 1/4 inch blade length total. An original silver minted version of the "Brutus “Eid Mar” Denarius today can sell for around $ 500,000 [it is estimated for there to be only around 56 surviving examples] and the gold minted version, recently sold for $4.2 million [and it is estimated for there to be only 2 surviving examples]. It thus makes this original pugio dagger, from the same period, to be somewhat of a bargain by comparison.

Code: 23163

3950.00 GBP


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A Wonderful 18th Century French Small-Sword of Parcel Gilt and Blued Steel

A stunning museum grade sword, worthy of a finest collection of 18th century fine art and furnishings. Likely made at Versailles by a Royal swordsmith of King Louis XVIth, such as the master swordsmiths of the king, Lecourt, Liger or Guilman. A very finest grade sword of the form as was made for the king to present to favoured nobles and friends. He presented a similar sword to John Paul Jones [see painting in the gallery] now in the US Naval Academy Museum. Three near identical swords to this now reside in the Metropolitan A simply superb small-sword, with stunningly engraved chiselled steel hilt, overlaid with pure gold over a fish-roe background,, decorated with hand chiselled scenes in the rococo Italianate renaissance style depicting various hunting scenes, of hunting hounds and game birds. The multi wire spiral bound grip is finest silver, in with Turks head finials. The blade is in the typical trefoil form, ideal for the gentleman's art of duelling. The degree of craftsmanship of this spectacular sword is simply astounding, worthy of significant admiration, it reveals an incredible attention to detail and the skill of it's execution is second to none. Other similar swords are in also in the British Royal Collection and in Les Invalides in Paris. Trefoil bladed swords had a special popularity with the officers of the French and Indian War period. Even George Washington had a very fine one just as this example. For example of the workmanship in creating this sword for such as the King and Marie Antoinette we show the keys for the Louis XVI Secretary Desk (Circa 1783) made for Marie-Antoinette by Jean Henri Riesener, one of the worlds finest cabinetmakers, and whose works of furniture are the most valuable in the world. The steel and gold metalwork key for Marie Antoinette's desk, is attributed to Pierre Gouthi?re (1732?1813), the most famous Parisian bronzeworker of the late eighteenth century who became gilder to the king in 1767. This sword bears identical workmanship and style to that magnificent key. This is the quality of sword one might have expected find inscribed upon the blade 'Ex Dono Regis' [given by the King]. Very good condition overall, with natural aged patination throughout. This painting, entitled John Paul Jones and Louis XVI, by the American artist Jean Leon Gerome Ferris depicts John Paul Jones and Benjamin Franklin at the court of Louis XVIth and being presented a similar sword now in US Naval Academy Museum. 39.1/4 inches long overall.

Code: 23138

5995.00 GBP


Shortlist item
A Magnificent 18th Century Silver Hilted Small Sword with Colichmarde Blade

Ideal for duelling or close quarter combat, as well as being a fabulous finest quality sword of immense beauty. Fine cast and chased silver hilt in the elegant roccoco style with double shell guard single knucklebow and pas dans. The grip has silver banding intersperced with herringbone pattern twisted silver wire. The guard has enchanting workmanship with a scrolling, pierced, rococo Arabesque pattern. Colishmarde blade with blackened steel finish. The highly distinctive colishmarde blades appeared in 1680 and were popular during the next 40 years at the royal European courts. The colichemarde bladed swords had a special popularity with the officers of the French and Indian War period. Even George Washington had a very fine one just as this example.

The colichemarde descended from the so-called "transition rapier", which appeared because of a need for a lighter sword, better suited to parrying. It was not so heavy at its point; it was shorter and allowed a limited range of double time moves.The colichemarde in turn appeared as a thrusting blade too and also with a good parrying level, hence the strange, yet successful shape of the blade.

This sword appeared at about the same time as the foil. However the foil was created for practising fencing at court, while the colichemarde was created for dueling. With the appearance of pocket pistols as a self-defense weapon, the colichemardes found an even more extensive use in dueling.
This was achieved thanks to a wide forte (often with several fullers), which then stepped down in width after the fullers ended.The result of this strange shape was a higher maneuverability of the sword: with the weight of the blade concentrated in one's hand it became possible to maneuver the blade at a greater speed and with a higher degree of control, allowing the fencer to place a precise thrust at his/her adversary. This sword is a true work of art, in it's beauty form, quality and balance. One photo in the gallery is of General Burgoyne surrendering his similar gilt sword after the Battle of Saratoga in October 1777. Another portrait of George Washington with his very similar solid silver sword sword

Code: 23170

2850.00 GBP


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