A Beautiful Shinto Tanto With Finest Shakudo Mounts of the Four Treasures of Calligraphy.
The blade beautifully polished. A true all original Edo period. 18th century museum grade samurai dagger and work of art combined. The dagger is based on the samurai martial art of calligraphy combined with the god Fukurokujo who used calligraphy to amuse the seven gods of fortune. His image is engraved on the kozuka handle. A truly fabulous and beautiful Japanese samurai art sword in every sense. Japanese samurai training included arts as well as combat. Shodo, or the Way of Calligraphy, is one of the arts in traditional Japanese samurai education. A most fine tanto with stunning and finest fittings of calligraphy, all ensuite in multi colour patinated shakudo with water pot, brushes, ink making tools etc. With its original complimentary Edo period finest ribbed saya of hardened leather, over lacquered, [achieved with incredibly intense and complex work] with a matching shakudo bottom mount, and gold mimi rimed shakudo tsuba. The shakudo kozuka is engraved with a profile figure of Fukurokujo with his most distinctive high forehead.
God of Wealth, Happiness, Longevity "Four Treasures of the Study" is an expression used to refer to the ink brush, inkstick, paper and inkstone used in Japanese and Chinese calligraphy and painting. The name stems from the time of the Chinese Southern and Northern Dynasties (420-589 AD). Brushes and ink are two of the legendary ?Four Treasures of the Study? tools of Chinese calligraphers, painters and poets over thousands of years. The other vital elements of culture are the rice paper (zhi), and the inkstone (yan) for grinding the solidified inksticks. Brushes are made of animal hair, usually attached to a bamboo stick. Various kinds of animal hair were once used, like goat, ox, rabbit, sheep, marten, badger, deer, wolf, each having certain properties. They can be categorized by their size: large, medium and small; and also by the strength: soft (usually taken from goat), medium (taken from rabbit, or a mixture of goat and weasel hair) and hard or stiff (taken from weasel tail). Hair of different animals can be combined to create different textures.
The ink (mo) is commonly made by burning pine or another wood in an earthenware container, mixing dense ash with glue, and compressing it into an ink stick, or another form. An unusual antique piece of ink is shaped like a ruyi, a scepter tribute offering, that conveys wishes for happiness and good fortune. After shaping, it takes about two years for the ink to dry, in a totally dry and dark environment.
Paper is usually made from parts of the rice plant, like rice straw or rice flour. The paper in the old days is very thin and light. Thus it can adsorb ink easily.
An inkstone is literally a stone mortar for the grinding and containment of ink. Traditional Chinese ink is usually solidified into sticks for easier transport and preservation. Water is usually kept in a ceramic container and sprinkled on the inkstone, which has a generally flat surface. The inkstick would be ground with the flat surface of the inkstone. By mixing ink with different amounts of water, the calligrapher or artist can create different densities and innumerable shades of black and gray. The artist?s energy is expressed through the brush as a swordsman?s is expressed through the weapon. They are both expressions of the mind and aim towards a perfection of bodily motion, from the grip of an object to the execution of the movement with the necessary flow and speed to achieve the result. One mistake in calligraphy and the scroll must be thrown away; the ink is black and permanent. So too, one mistake in a fight, and the samurai will die. Picture in the gallery of Hokusai (Japanese, 1760?1849) Title:
Bateiseki. Arrangement of writing utensils. Another picture is from the Five poems, by Yoshitoshi Tsukioka ?1839-1892).
Here Fukufokuju uses his elongated forehead to write calligraphy while the others look on gleefully.
One of the seven is perched beneath Fukurokuju?s head, peeking at the canvas. Shakudo is a billon of gold and copper (typically 4-10% gold, 96-90% copper) which can be treated to form an indigo/black patina resembling lacquer. Unpatinated shakudo Visually resembles bronze; the dark colour is induced by applying and heating rokusho, a special patination formula.
Shakudo Was historically used in Japan to construct or decorate katana fittings such as tsuba, menuki, and kozuka; as well as other small ornaments. Overall 15 inches long, blade length 9 inches to tsuba