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Most Attractive Koto Period Tanto Around 600 Years Old Imperial White Ito

Fitted with an original suite of mounts from the Edo period, decorated with fine gold and patinated copper takebori of shi shi lion dogs. Original Edo brown laquer saya. This is a most handsome ancient samurai dagger from the muromachi era, with a jolly nice early blade showing good running itame grain in the hada. In the Nambokucho era, the tanto were forged to be up to forty centimetres as opposed to the normal one shaku (about thirty centimetres) length. The tanto blades became thinner between the uri and the omote, and wider between the ha and mune. At this point in time, two styles of hamon were prevalent: the older style, which was subtle and artistic, and the newer, more popular style. Blades could be of exceptional quality. As the end of the period neared, the average blade narrowed and the sori became shallow. 3 interesting and deliberate small cuts made into the tang. Not part of the mounting process so added by the dagger's owner. On western antique weaponry this often means each cut represents a vanquished foe. In Japanese culture it may mean the same, or may not, but either way it is most intriguing. 10 inch blade from tsuba to tip. 16.3 inches long overall in saya.

Code: 21612

1890.00 GBP


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An Ancient Koto Period Handachi Mounted Katana

Blade made around 1450, in a fine suite of Edo period of six matching handachi koshirae [sword mounts] on the saya and tsuka, with a simulated stone finish, of hammered silver over copper. A most impressive, beautiful and statuesque sword. The blade hasn't been polished or touched in likely 200 plus years, but shows a very nice hamon, hada and very attractive brightness. The tsuka has traditional Edo period battle wrap with old yellow silk ito, with two takebori iron dragons. Han-dachi originally appeared during the Muromachi period when there was a transition taking place from Tachi to katana. The sword was being worn more and more edge up when on foot, but edge down on horseback as it had always been. The handachi is a response to the need to be worn in either style. The samurai were roughly the equivalent of feudal knights. Employed by the shogun or daimyo, they were members of hereditary warrior class that followed a strict "code" that defined their clothes, armour and behaviour on the battlefield. But unlike most medieval knights, samurai warriors could read and they were well versed in Japanese art, literature and poetry.
Samurai endured for almost 700 years, from 1185 to 1867. Samurai families were considered the elite. They made up only about six percent of the population and included daimyo and the loyal soldiers who fought under them. Samurai means one who serves."

Samurai were expected to be both fierce warriors and lovers of art, a dichotomy summed up by the Japanese concepts of bu [to stop the spear] exanding into bushido (the way of life of the warrior) and bun (the artistic, intellectual and spiritual side of the samurai). Originally conceived as away of dignifying raw military power, the two concepts were synthesized in feudal Japan and later became a key feature of Japanese culture and morality. The quintessential samurai was Miyamoto Musashi, a legendary early Edo-period swordsman who reportedly killed 60 men before his 30th birthday and was also a painting master. The coral coloured lacquer saya has some age surface dings and scratches. This we can leave as is, or have it completely re-lacquered. We could also have the tsuka rebound on Japanese silk ito. Although we would recommend it is left just as is, it is an honest ancient samurai sword around 575 years old and its natural ageing and honourable battle scars are part of its amazing character 40.5 inches long overall, blade 24.25 inches long

Code: 23673

5950.00 GBP


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Just Arrived A Jolly Nice Original Samurai Shinto Period Armour Piercing Tanto, Offered For Below Our Cost, With All Original Edo Mounts, Totally Untouched For Over 250 Years Or More

Recently arrived in a superb 26 samurai sword collection. As before, we chose a very nice Koto period katana and offered it below cost as a thank you to our regular loyal viewers [and that indeed quickly sold last week] and this is super late Shinto era tanto that we have decided to do the very same, as we promised two weeks ago. It is offered at below our cost, and an absolute beauty of an untouched samurai's armour piercing tanto of the 18th century. Edo fittings, decorated with takebori relief mice gamboling over crops and an a bamboo hafted implement. Menuki under blue-green silk binding of gold and shakudo gourds. Carved buffalo horn tsuba, black lacquer saya with kozuka pocket holding a kozuka [utility knife] with takebori relief scene of the Japanese zodiac, of a dragon, pony, deer, rabbit, dog, pig, tiger and chicken. The blade has a nice undulating gunome hamon and horimono hi. A tanto would most often be worn by Samurai, and it was very uncommon to come across a non samurai with a tanto. It was not only men who carried these daggers, women would on occasions carry a small tanto called a kaiken in their obi which would be used for self-defence. In feudal Japan a tanto would occasionally be worn by Samurai in place of the wakizashi in a combination called the daisho, which roughly translates as big-little, in reference to the big Samurai Sword (Katana) and the small dagger (tanto). Before the rise of the katana it was more common for a Samurai to carry a tachi and tanto combination as opposed to a katana and wakizashi. Before the 16th century it was common for a Samurai to carry a tachi and a tanto as opposed to a katana and a wakizashi. In the shinto period they were used for close quarter protection, and could be kept hidden within the samurai's sleeve. The fittings are in superb condition, as is the Edo lacquer on the saya, the silk is original and very good and sound. The strong armour piercing blade has a few light wear marks and a couple of tiny pits etc. as one would expect for a blade untouched since it was made in the 18th century. overall 15 inches long, blade 9.25 inches long tsuba to tip

Code: 23668

2195.00 GBP


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A Very Good Late Koto Katana, Full Suite of Higo Mounts

Circa 1590. All original Edo period koshirae and a leather bound tsuka over bird menuki on a giant rayskin covered hilt, ishime stone lacquer finish saya in bull's blood [sang de boeuf] lacquer. Very fine Higo mounts including a sayagaki. Fine blade with suguha hamon. A great sword in very nice condition. Made and used in the time of the greatest battle in samurai history. The Battle of Sekigahara Sekigahara no Tatakai) was a decisive battle on October 21, 1600 that preceded the establishment of the Tokugawa shogunate. Initially, Tokugawa's eastern army had 75,000 men, while Ishida's western army numbered 120,000. Tokugawa had also sneaked in a supply of arquebuses. Knowing that Tokugawa was heading towards Osaka, Ishida decided to abandon his positions and marched to Sekigahara. Even though the Western forces had tremendous tactical advantages, Tokugawa had already been in contact with many daimyo in the Western Army for months, promising them land and leniency after the battle should they switch sides.

Tokugawa's forces started the battle when Fukushima Masanori, the leader of the advance guard, charged north from Tokugawa's left flank along the Fuji River against the Western Army's right centre. The ground was still muddy from the previous day's rain, so the conflict there devolved into something more primal. Tokugawa then ordered attacks from his right and his centre against the Western Army?s left in order to support Fukushima's attack.

This left the Western Army's centre unscathed, so Ishida ordered this unit under the command of Shimazu Yoshihiro to reinforce his right flank. Shimazu refused as daimyos of the day only listened to respected commanders, which Ishida was not.

Recent scholarship by Professor Yoshiji Yamasaki of Toho University has indicated that the Mori faction had reached a secret agreement with the Tokugawa two weeks earlier, pledging neutrality at the decisive battle in exchange for a guarantee of territorial preservation, and was a strategic decision on Mori Terumoto's part that later backfired.

Fukushima's attack was slowly gaining ground, but this came at the cost of exposing their flank to attack from across the Fuji River by Otani Yoshitsugu, who took advantage of this opportunity. Just past Otani's forces were those of Kobayakawa Hideaki on Mount Matsuo.

Kobayakawa was one of the daimyos that had been courted by Tokugawa. Even though he had agreed to defect to Tokugawa's side, in the actual battle he was hesitant and remained neutral. As the battle grew more intense, Tokugawa finally ordered arquebuses to fire at Kobayakawa's position on Mount Matsuo to force Kobayakawa to make his choice. At that point Kobayakawa joined the battle as a member of the Eastern Army. His forces charged ?tani's position, which did not end well for Kobayakawa. Otani's forces had dry gunpowder, so they opened fire on the turncoats, making the charge of 16,000 men mostly ineffective. However, he was already engaging forces under the command of Todo Takatora, Kyogoku Takatsugu, and Oda Yuraku when Kobayakawa charged. At this point, the buffer Otani established was outnumbered. Seeing this, Western Army generals Wakisaka Yasuharu, Ogawa Suketada, Akaza Naoyasu, and Kutsuki Mototsuna switched sides, turning the tide of battle

Code: 21331

5450.00 GBP


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A Fine Japanese Shinto era Samurai Wakazashi Superb Fittings, Edo Polish

Beautifully bound in gold silk ito. The wakizashi was used as a backup or auxiliary sword; it was also used for close quarters fighting, and also to behead a defeated opponent and sometimes to commit ritual suicide. The wakizashi was one of several short swords available for use by samurai including the yoroi toshi, the chisa-katana and the tanto. The term wakizashi did not originally specify swords of any official blade length and was an abbreviation of "wakizashi no katana" ("sword thrust at one's side"); the term was applied to companion swords of all sizes. It was not until the Edo period in 1638 when the rulers of Japan tried to regulate the types of swords and the social groups which were allowed to wear them that the lengths of katana and wakizashi were officially set.

Kanzan Sato, in his book titled "The Japanese Sword", notes that there did not seem to be any particular need for the wakizashi and suggests that the wakizashi may have become more popular than the tanto due to the wakizashi being more suited for indoor fighting. He mentions the custom of leaving the katana at the door of a castle or palace when entering while continuing to wear the wakizashi inside. Wakizashi were worn on the left side, secured to the obi [waist sash].

Code: 21797

3550.00 GBP


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A Superb, Signed, Samurai’s Large O-Tanto Late Koto to Early Shinto Period. Mutsu no Kami Daido School

The blade, around 400 years old, is very wide and powerful, and has horimono carved to both sides, of ancient Buddhist ken swords, one with a varjira [a Buddhist god's lightning creator] and the swirling grain in the hada looks absolutely stunning, with a typical narrow suguha hamon. Beautiful shakudo and pure gold Mino Goto school fushigashira of takebori water dragon, with an iron ground matching water dragon tsuba. Gold and shakudo flowering menuki and a matchingly decorated kozuka utility knife in the saya pocket. The original Edo saya is fabulously decorated with polished giant rayskin.The saya is polished same. Polished giant ray skin [same] was, at the time of the Samurai, some one of the most expensive and highly prized forms of decoration to be used on sword scabbards [Saya]. It was the same material as is used on sword hilts under the binding, but the large and small protruding nodules were hand polished, for hundreds of hours, to create a highly polished flat surface, that was then hand dyed and thus created a decorated scabbard with immense natural beauty, and huge expense for the time. The name Daido is most interesting, his early name is Kanemichi, and he changed to “O”Kanemichi when he received the “O” or “Dai” kanji from the Emperor Ogimachi. Later he called himself “Daido” and then received the title of “Mutsu No Kami” in Tensho 2. It is also believed that he was the personal swordsmith to Oda Nobunaga and the fact that he moved to Kyoto at the same time Nobunaga established his residence in Kyoto seems to support this idea. There are Juyo-Token by him, as well as joint effort works with Horikawa Kunihiro. The Horimono are double edged Buddhist ken straight sword, and a Bonji of 'Fudo' warrior deitie. Fudō-myōō (不動明王) is the full Japanese name for Acala-vidyaraja, or Fudō (o-Fudō-sama etc.) for short. It is the literal translation of the Sanskrit term "immovable wisdom king". The sword engraved on this sword is as a kongō-ken (金剛杵 "vajra sword"), which is descriptive of the fact that the pommel of the sword is in the shape of the talon-like kongō-sho (金剛杵 "vajra") of one type or another. It may also be referred to as "three-pronged vajra sword. The blade 17.5 inches long [tsuba to tip] overall inches long in saya

Code: 23662

5950.00 GBP


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A Very Fine Ancient Koto Period ‘Plum Blossom’ Tanto Of the 1400's, Signed Blade

Around 600 plus years old. Likely used by one of the great Japanese clans that used the Ume [plum blossom] symbol as their kamon [crest]. With simply fabulous original Edo mounts of a copper ground with silver and gold decor of takebori deep relief plum blossom and berries. A fine copper tsuba stamped with rows of plum blossom kamon. The original edo saya is stunning, and inlaid with almost microscopic inlays of white shell. The saya pocket holds a superb kozuka with a complimenting copper hilt decorated with a takebori gold and shakudo goose in flight, showing with half a pure gold full moon. It is signed on the reverse side. The blade is very good with typical early, koto narrow straight hamon. The tang is signed but due to its great age is very difficult to translate. There are a super pair of matching takebori plum blossom menuki under the gold silk binding. A tanto would most often be worn by Samurai, and it was very uncommon to come across a non samurai with a tanto. It was not only men who carried these daggers, women would on occasions carry a small tanto called a kaiken in their obi which would be used for self-defence. In feudal Japan a tanto would occasionally be worn by Samurai in place of the wakizashi in a combination called the daisho, which roughly translates as big-little, in reference to the big Samurai Sword (Katana) and the small dagger (tanto). Before the rise of the katana it was more common for a Samurai to carry a tachi and tanto combination as opposed to a katana and wakizashi. Before the 16th century it was common for a Samurai to carry a tachi and a tanto as opposed to a katana and a wakizashi. Plum blossoms, symbolic of the arrival of spring, were a favored subject among scholar-gentleman painters in China, but when Chinese ink paintings of plums arrived in Japan their imagery became widespread within Zen circles. This composition of a gnarled plum tree framed by a circle of ink wash may reflect the use of the circle in Zen painting and calligraphy as a visual representation of words from the text of the Heart Sutra, “form is void and void is form,” and as a symbol of enlightenment.

Motsurin, a Zen artist-monk, might also have chosen plum blossoms because they were beloved of his mentor Ikkyū Sōjun (1394–1481), an abbot of Daitokuji temple in Kyoto known for his poetry, calligraphy, and flagrantly unorthodox behavior. Motsurin’s inscribed text claims that even elegant peonies and sweet jasmine cannot match the plum as a representation of the spring season. Originally brought in from China during the early Heian period (794-1185), plum trees became popular as ornamental garden fixtures because of their delicate beauty. Over the years, many varieties have been cultivated and now you see ume blossoms in a myriad of colours.

Ume blossoms are the first flower of spring and the original inspiration for flower-viewing hanami parties that were so well-loved by the rich aristocrats from the past. 21.5 inches long overall, blade 11 inches long

Code: 23658

4995.00 GBP


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A Most Fine, Late Shinto Tanto, All Original Edo Period Mounts

Around 300 years old. All original Edo mounts, and saya in black lacquer with carved buffalo horn kurigata and a micro grooved copper bottom mount. Kozuka pocket with a patinated and copper handled kozuka decorated with relief twin row of Tosa kiri mon, of the leaf of the deified Empress tree, also known as the paulownia tree. A family crest with the highest social status after 'Kikuka-monsho' since the time of Emperor Saga. With a pair of shishi [lion dogs] menuki over giant rayskin, and under the purple silk binding. Iron mounts fushigashira with a crosshatch design onlaid with gold. Tsuba in Iron, Amida Yasuri [Sun Rays Pattern]. Beautiful blade with Edo polish and suguha hamon. A tanto would most often be worn by Samurai, and it was very uncommon to come across a non samurai with a tanto. It was not only men who carried these daggers, women would on occasions carry a small tanto called a kaiken in their obi which would be used for self-defence. In feudal Japan a tanto would occasionally be worn by Samurai in place of the wakizashi in a combination called the daisho, which roughly translates as big-little, in reference to the big Samurai Sword (Katana) and the small dagger (tanto). Before the rise of the katana it was more common for a Samurai to carry a tachi and tanto combination as opposed to a katana and wakizashi. Before the 16th century it was common for a Samurai to carry a tachi and a tanto as opposed to a katana and a wakizashi. Shishi (or Jishi) is translated as lion but it can also refer to a deer or dog with magical properties and the power to repel evil spirits. A pair of shishi traditionally stand guard outside the gates of Japanese Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples, although temples are more often guarded by two Nio protectors. The Shishi (like the Nio) are traditionally depicted in pairs, one with mouth open and one with mouth shut.). Others say the open mouth is to scare off demons, and the closed mouth to shelter and keep in the good spirits. The circular object often shown beneath their feet is the Tama, or sacred Buddhist jewel, a symbol of Buddhist wisdom that brings light to darkness and holds the power to grant wishes. The original Edo period lacquer is very good indeed but does have a few small imperfections. Blade 11 inches total 16.5 inches

Code: 23653

3450.00 GBP


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A Huge Ancient 600 Year Old Ancient Katana, Likely Originally Made as a Tachi or Odachi for Use on Horseback.

this is a truly spectacular sword, the essence of a true statement piece!. It has a 301/2 inch long blade, with a total length 44 3/4 inches long, a sword of incredible stature and presence. Fully mounted han-dachi style with a full suite of Edo period koshirae. Once used as a tachi [slung sword] or odachi. From the Heian to the Muromachi Period, the primary battlefield sword was the tachi. Its long blade and sharp edge made it ideal for use on horseback. In the Nanboku-cho period in the 14th century, huge Japanese swords such as odachi became popular. The reason for this is thought to be that the conditions for making a practical large-sized sword were established due to the nationwide spread of strong and sharp swords of the Soshu school. In the case of odachi whose blade was 150 cm long, it was impossible to draw a sword from the scabbard on the waist, so people carried it on their back or had their servants carry it. Large naginata and kanabo were also popular in this period. However, as infantry were often equipped with yari and naginata, this fashion died out in a short period of time. Furthermore, from the Sengoku period in the latter part of the Muromachi period to the Azuchi-Momoyama period, as tactics shifted to fighting with yaris and guns by a large group of infantry, ōdachi became even more obsolete. As ōdachi became less effective, it was often reduced in size [from below the hilt] and thus changed its function and used as a tachi or katana.

Odachi was used as a weapon, but because of its magnificent appearance, it was often used as an offering to kami, a Shinto shrine. For example, Oyamazumi Shrine, which is said to be a treasure house of Japanese swords and armour, is dedicated to the national treasure Odachi, which was dedicated by Emperor Go-Murakami, and ōdachi, which was dedicated by Omari Naoharu and killed Kusunoki Masashige.

In the peaceful Edo period, ōdachi was no longer regarded as a practical weapon and came to be recognized only as an offering to the kami of Shinto shrines. During the fifteenth century, the uchigatana came into use, and during the Muromachi Period (1336 to 1573) use of the uchigatana became widespread.

The word uchigatana can be found in literary works as early as the Kamakura Period, with uchi meaning "to strike" and gatana (katana) meaning "sword", so that uchigatana means "sword to strike with". The uchigatana was originally used only by individuals of low status or rank, such as the ashigaru.

Most uchigatana made during the early Kamakura Period were not always of the highest standard, and because they were considered relatively disposable, virtually no examples from these early times exist today. It was not until the Muromachi Period, when samurai began to use uchigatana to supplement the longer tachi, that more uchigatana of higher quality were made. During the Momoyama period, their use in combat was very fast and effective. Unlike the tachi, with which the acts of drawing and striking with the sword were two separate actions, unsheathing the uchigatana and cutting the enemy down with it became one smooth, lightning-fast action. This technique was developed in the arts of battojutsu, iaijutsu, and iaido.

The curvature of the uchigatana blade differs from the tachi in that the blade has curvature near the sword's point (sakizori), as opposed to curvature near the sword's hilt (koshizori) like the tachi. Because the sword is being drawn from below, the act of unsheathing became the act of striking. For a soldier on horseback, the sakizori curve of the uchigatana was essential in such a blade, since it allows the sword to come out of its sheath (saya) at the most convenient angle for executing an immediate cut. Han-dachi originally appeared during the Muromachi period when there was a transition taking place from Tachi to katana. The sword was being worn more and more edge up when on foot, but edge down on horseback as it had always been. The handachi is a response to the need to be worn in either style. The samurai were roughly the equivalent of feudal knights. Employed by the shogun or daimyo, they were members of hereditary warrior class that followed a strict "code" that defined their clothes, armour and behaviour on the battlefield. But unlike most medieval knights, samurai warriors could read and they were well versed in Japanese art, literature and poetry.
Samurai endured for almost 700 years, from 1185 to 1867. Samurai families were considered the elite. They made up only about six percent of the population and included daimyo and the loyal soldiers who fought under them. Samurai means one who serves."

Samurai were expected to be both fierce warriors and lovers of art, a dichotomy summed up by the Japanese concepts of bu [to stop the spear] exanding into bushido (the way of life of the warrior) and bun (the artistic, intellectual and spiritual side of the samurai). Originally conceived as away of dignifying raw military power, the two concepts were synthesized in feudal Japan and later became a key feature of Japanese culture and morality. The quintessential samurai was Miyamoto Musashi, a legendary early Edo-period swordsman who reportedly killed 60 men before his 30th birthday and was also a painting master. This swords habaki is being fixed as it has worn loose.

Code: 23648

8950.00 GBP


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A Superb Ancestral & Historical WW2 Japanese Officer's Sword by Masahiro a Shinto period Hizen Master Smith

One of the great Shinto Hizen smiths circa 1660, signed; Hizen koku Kawachi no Kami Fujiwara Masahiro. A Chisa-Katana likely made by the Nidai Masahiro of Hizen. He was born in 1627 and was the son of the Shodai Masahiro , He was the great grandson of Shodai Hizen Tadayoshi. When began making swords he used the mei Masanaga, then later in his changed to Masahiro like his father.

He received three titles in his working life : Musashi no Daijo, Musashi no Kami and finally Kawachi no Kami in 1665. His famed swords have often tested with tamegashi [a cutting test] and one was recorded as cutting through an amazing three bodies. His swords are ranked as most superior and
this is a beautiful example, showing a typical fine gunome hamon.This beautiful example is likely late Shinto era, and last remounted and used as an ancestral blade, by an officer in WW2, in it's shin gunto fittings. Usually the first born son of an old samurai family is allowed the privilege to carry his family samurai ancestor's sword into combat, in the service of his Emperor. This is one of those swords, and we actively specialise in these rare weapons of WW2. The blade is quite beautiful and singularly elegant. Some finger print stain and markings that would polish out invisibly, if it was traditionally stone repolished. In Hawley's seminal work on his appraisal and status of samurai sword smiths from the past millennia, he rates [nidai] Masahiro of Hizen around 50 points, probably less than one percent of his appraisals go up to this level of praise and recognition 38 inches long, blade 22.5

Code: 23649

6850.00 GBP


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