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Very unusual wakazashi size. Very good leather, good stitching. The shingunto swords of wakazashi size were often used by pilots and tankcrew officer's. During the Meiji period, the samurai class was gradually disbanded, and the Haitōrei Edict in 1876 forbade the carrying of swords in public except for certain individuals such as former samurai lords (daimyōs), the military and police. Skilled swordsmiths had trouble making a living during this period as Japan modernized its military and many swordsmiths started making other items such as cutlery. Military action by Japan in China and Russia during the Meiji Period helped revive the manufacture of swords and in the Shōwa period (1926–1989) before and during World War II swords were once again produced on a large scale.
During the pre World War II military buildup and throughout the war, all Japanese officers were required to wear a sword. Traditionally made swords were produced during this period but, in order to supply such large numbers of swords, blacksmiths with little or no knowledge of traditional Japanese sword manufacture were recruited, and sword making methods learnt with great expediancy. In addition, supplies of the type of Japanese steel (tamahagane) used for sword making were limited so several other types of steel were substituted. Shortcuts in forging were also taken, such as the use of power hammers and tempering the blade in oil rather than hand forging and water tempering; these measures created swords often without many of the usual characteristics associated with Japanese swords. The shin guntō (新軍刀, new military sword) was a weapon and symbol of rank used by the Imperial Japanese Army between the years of 1935 and 1945. During most of that period, the swords were manufactured at the Toyokawa Naval Arsenal.
In response to rising nationalism within the armed forces, a new style of sword was designed for the Japanese military in 1934. The shin guntō was styled after a traditional slung tachi of the Kamakura Period (1185-1332). Officers' ranks were indicated by coloured tassels tied to a loop at the end of the hilt. The corresponding colours were brown-red and gold for generals; brown and red for field officers; brown and blue for company or warrant officers. The blades found in shin guntō ranged from modern machine made blades through contemporary traditionally-manufactured blades to ancestral blades dating back hundreds of years. Overall 19.6 inches long
Probably for a high ranking retainer in service of the great samurai commander of legend Takeda Shingen. Armour piercing koto blade circa 1530, with superb original Edo period fittings 'koshirae] including silver copper alloy mounts and a gilt dragon saya ornament. Hammered gold over copper alloy oval tsuba, and silver clan mon menuki within the tsuka [hilt wrap] of the four interlocking diamonds of the Takeda clan. The saya is decorated in superb cinnabar lacquer, the favoured colour and symbol of Takeda Shingen [his armour was entirely based on this colour] and the tsuka wrapped in black silk over Takeda kamon on giant rayskin. In 1548, Shingen defeated Ogasawara Nagatoki in the Battle of Shiojiritoge and then took Fukashi in 1550.
After conquering Shinano, Shingen faced another rival, Uesugi Kenshin of Echigo. The feud between them became legendary, and they faced each other on the battlefield five times in the Battles of Kawanakajima. These battles were generally confined to controlled skirmishes, neither daimyo willing to devote himself entirely to a single all-out attempt. The conflict between the two that had the fiercest fighting, and might have decided victory or defeat for one side or the other, was the fourth battle, during which the famous tale arose of Uesugi Kenshin's forces clearing a path through the Takeda troops and Kenshin engaging Shingen in single combat. The tale has Kenshin attacking Shingen with his sword while Shingen defends with his iron war fan or tessen. Both lords lost many men in this fight, and Shingen in particular lost two of his main generals, Yamamoto Kansuke and his younger brother Takeda Nobushige. In 1563, allied with Hojo Ujiyasu, he captured Matsuyama Castle in Musashi Province. Takeda Shingen then took Kuragano in 1565 and Minowa Castle. He then moved against the Hojo by attacking Hachigata Castle then engaged in the Siege of Odawara (1569). He successfully withdrew after Hojo Ujiteru and Hojo Ujikuni failed to stop him in the Battle of Mimasetoge.Shingen and Tokugawa Ieyasu "came to terms" and occupied the "former Imagawa territory." They both fought against Yoshimoto's heir, Imagawa Ujizane. After defeating the intervention forces commanded by Hojo Ujimass of Sagami, Shingen finally secured the Suruga, formerly base of the prestigious Imagawa clan, as a Takeda asset in 1569.
Upon securing Takeda control over Suruga, northern Shinano, and western Kozuke, Shingen moved to challenge the Oda-Tokugawa alliance, leading a formidable force of over 30,000 into the latter's territories in Totomi, Mikawa, and Mino in 1572.
Signed Bizen Osafune Kiyomitsu. With gilt and patinated handled kozuka. O-sukashi koto tsuba inlaid with silver boars eyes. A delightful tanto in all original fittings and an Edo brown stone lacquer finish. Nice and beautiful blade in good polish showing a fine sugaha hamon. A very thick bladed tanto specifically designed to penetrate using a powerful thrust, either samurai armour or even a helmet. Wide narrow straight sided blade, with a narrow suguha hamon typical of the Koto era. Mounted in a plain wooden shirasaya mount that bears some kanji text on both sides of the tsuka. We have not had this translated yet. The bottom of the saya bears a carved image of a stern face. The yoroi-doshi "armour piercer" or "mail piercer" were one of the traditionally made Japanese swords (nihonto) that were worn by the samurai class as a weapon in feudal Japan. The yoroi-d?shi is an extra thick tanto, a long knife, which appeared in the Sengoku period (late Muromachi). The yoroi-doshi was made for piercing armour and for stabbing while grappling in close quarters. The weapon ranged in size from 20 cm to 24 cm, but some examples could be under 15 cm, with a "tapering mihaba, iori-mune, thick kasane at the bottom, and thin kasane at the top and occasionally moroha-zukuri construction". The motogasane (blade thickness) at the hamachi (the notch at the beginning of the cutting edge) can be up to a half-inch thick, which is characteristic of the yoroi-doshi. The extra thickness at the spine of the blade distinguishes the yoroi-doshi from a standard tanto blade.
Yoroi-doshi were worn inside the belt on the back or on the right side with the hilt toward the front and the edge upward. Due to being worn on the right, the blade would have been drawn using the left hand, giving rise to the alternate name of metezashi or "horse-hand (i.e. rein-hand, i.e. left-hand) blade".
Around 500 years old. A stunning tanto with carved steel mounts decorated with geometric Ha-kenkoroitsu pattern, a version of the Hachisuka clan mon, it also has a matching kozuka with gold inlay to match the gold inlay workmanship on the tsuba. Cockeral menuki and a super oni demon mount on the two tone banded lacquer saya. Signed koshirae and blade by Masaiye circa 1530. Although called the manji in Japan symbolising 10,000 years and infinity, and usually used as a Buddhist symbol for temples, this version though is the Ha-kenkoroitsu (from the German word Hakenkreuz, or crooked cross ) and it describes it as the 45-degree clockwise manji used by the Nazi party. It?s first recorded occurrence of the swastika [named from a sanskirt word] dates all
the way back the the 6th to 5th millennium BC when it was used in the ?Vinca script? of Neolithic Europe. After that it has been used by primitive society consitently from China to the Americas passing by Greece and Africa. The crooked cross is a historical sacred symbol in all
Indian religions. It is used in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. It rose
to importance in Buddhism during the Mauryan
Empire and in Hinduism with the decline of Buddhism in
India during the Gupta Empire. It followed the silk road with
Buddhism to reach Tibet and China. The symbol was also introduced
to Bali with Hinduism by Hindu kings. The use of the
swastika by the Bon faith of Tibet, as well as later
religions like Cao Dai of Vietnam and Falun
Gong of China, can also be traced to Buddhist influence. The oni is the demon of Japanese folklore. It takes on many other names, sometimes referred to as a devil. Unlike most western cultures, the oni is not necessarily seen as an evil being. It is said to be of a dual nature, meaning it's powers can be good or evil, depending on if it likes the subject it attaches itself too. Oni are credited with bringing good health, safety, peace and avoiding disaster. A typical oni mask has horns, bulging eyes, a sinister looking smile and sharp teeth.
With super original Edo period koshirae [mounts and fittings]. Higo fushigashira with pure gold onlay with a war fan and kanji seal stamp. Shakudo menuki under the hilt wrap of samurai warriors fighting with swords and polearm. Iron plate o-sukashi tsuba, black lacquer saya with buffalo horn kurigata. Superb hamon and polish with just a few aged surface stains [see photo 7] By the time Ieyasu Tokugawa unified Japan under his rule at the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, only samurai were permitted to wear the sword. A samurai was recognised by his carrying the feared daisho, the big sword [daito], little sword [shoto] of the samurai warrior. These were the battle katana, the big sword, and the wakizashi, the little sword. The name katana derives from two old Japanese written characters or symbols: kata, meaning side, and na, or edge. Thus a katana is a single-edged sword that has had few rivals in the annals of war, either in the East or the West. Because the sword was the main battle weapon of Japan's knightly man-at-arms (although spears and bows were also carried), an entire martial art grew up around learning how to use it. This was kenjutsu, the art of sword fighting, or kendo in its modern, non-warlike incarnation. The importance of studying kenjutsu and the other martial arts such as kyujutsu, the art of the bow, was so critical to the samurai, a very real matter of life or death, that Miyamoto Musashi, most renowned of all swordsmen, warned in his classic The Book of Five Rings: The science of martial arts for warriors requires construction of various weapons and understanding the properties of the weapons. A member of a warrior family who does not learn to use weapons and understand the specific advantages of each weapon would seem to be somewhat uncultivated. We rarely have swords with papers for our swords mostly came to England in the 1870's long before 'papers' were invented, and they have never returned to Japan for inspection and papers to be issued. However, on occasion we acquire swords from latter day collectors that have had swords papered in the past 30 years or so. this is one of those.
Uda school blade with bo hi to both sides. Fine sugaha hamon with mokume hada. Edo period Goto school mounts in shakudo patinated copper and gold depicting carved shi shi lion dogs. Menuki of shakudo and gold dragons. Iron Edo tsuba of fan formed windows, with Amidayasuri. NTHK certificated in 2003 as attributed to Kanemune of Etchu by a previous owner. The founder of the Uda School is considered to have been Kunimitsu. He was originally from the Uda district of Yamato Province. He worked around the Bunpo Era or 1317 at the end of the Kamakura Era. All of the succeeding smiths of this school used the kanji character â"Kuni", in their signatures. At some point he moved to Etchu Province so even though the Uda School had its foundation in the Yamato tradition, it is considered to be one of the wakimono schools from this region together with such schools as he Fujishima and Chiyozuru. Together these three schools are often referred to as the kita kuni mono.
Since remaining works by Kunimitsu are non-existent, his students, Kunifusa and Kunimune, are generally thought to be the true founders of this school. Both of these smiths studied under Norishige of the Etchu Province and they were active around the Koan Era (1361). The works of these early Uda smiths followed the style of the Yamato Den particularly in the areas of sugata and hamon. We rarely have swords with papers for our swords mostly came to England in the 1870's long before 'papers' were invented, and they have never returned to Japan for inspection and papers to be issued. However, on occasion we acquire swords from latter day collectors that have had swords papered in the past 30 years or so. this is one of those.
On this Fabulous Anniversary occasion, by way of a special thank you, we are offering for a brief period 20% discount on all our fabulous Samurai weaponry, swords, dagger, tsuba, polearms etc. both large and small. That will translate to a huge saving on our amazing range of samurai artefacts with many being sold at cost or below. This is a tradition that goes back through the generations, to invite our clients far and wide to celebrate with us our significant steps on the progress of the family business that stretches back over 100 years.
****To deduct your 20% discount simply contact us by email, or using our usual 24-hour phone number, 07721 010085, before you buy in the basket system, and we will re-adjust the price of your chosen item or items for you to purchase online with the 20% discount reduction, and you can then buy online as usual. Or, you can simply arrange payment by card direct with us personally, via email or telephone, it is a simple as that.
Save an incredible 20 gbp on every 100 gbp or 200 gbp on every 1,000 gbp, etc. that you spend!!
****Important.. our basket system does not show the 20% discount, so contact us first if you want to buy with a card and we can re adjust the price online accordingly, or we can take your order by phone. Bank Transfer is fine too. All discounts qualify for outright sales only.
Just yesterday we started the offer off, with our very special discount on an ancient blade, and it was snapped up last night to one of our online regulars.
Almost 800 year old blade set in complete, and original Edo period [1596-1867] mounts, made of silvered copper, decorated with deeply chiselled takebori chrysanthemum grandiflorum. Blade now re-polished. Used in the era of the attempted invasion by the armadas of the great Mongol Kublai Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan. The kozuka is complimentarily decorated in silvered copper, also on a botanical theme. The lacquer body of the saya is over decorated in powdered gold with representations of chrysanthemum heads to match the fushi, kashira and sayajiri. Unofficially, the Kamakura Era began in 1185, when the Minamoto clan defeated the Taira family in the Genpei War. However, it was not until 1192 that the emperor named Minamoto Yoritomo as the first shogun of Japan ? whose full title is "Seii Taishogun," or "great general who subdues the eastern barbarians" ? that the period truly took shape.
Minamoto Yoritomo ruled from 1192 to 1199 from his family seat at Kamakura, about 30 miles south of Tokyo. His reign marked the beginning of the bakufu system under which the emperors in Kyoto were mere figureheads, and the shoguns ruled Japan. This system would endure under the leadership of different clans for almost 700 years until the Meiji Restoration of 1868.
After Minamoto Yoritomo's death, the usurping Minamoto clan had its own power usurped by the Hojo clan, who claimed the title of "shikken" or "regent" in 1203. The shoguns became figureheads just like the emperors. Ironically, the Hojos were a branch of the Taira clan, which the Minamoto had defeated in the Gempei War
The Hojo family made their status as regents hereditary and took effective power from the Minamotos for the remainder of the Kamakura Period. The greatest crisis of the Kamakura Era came with a threat from overseas. In 1271, the Mongol ruler Kublai Khan ? grandson of Genghis Khan ? established the Yuan Dynasty in China. After consolidating power over all of China, Kublai sent emissaries to Japan demanding tribute; the shikken's government flatly refused on behalf of the shogun and emperor.
Kublai Khan responded by sending two massive armadas to invade Japan in 1274 and 1281. Almost unbelievably, both armadas were destroyed by typhoons, known as the "kamikaze" or "divine winds" in Japan. Although nature protected Japan from the Mongol invaders, the cost of the defense forced the government to raise taxes, which set off a wave of chaos across the country.
The Hojo shikkens tried to hang on to power by allowing other great clans to increase their own control of different regions of Japan.
They also ordered two different lines of the Japanese imperial family to alternate rulers, in an attempt to keep either branch from becoming too powerful.
Nonetheless, Emperor Go-Daigo of the Southern Court named his own son as his successor in 1331, sparking a rebellion that brought down the Hojo and their Minamoto puppets in 1333. They were replaced, in 1336, by the Ashikaga Shogunate based in the Muromachi part of Kyoto. The Goseibai Shikimoku remained in force until the Tokugawa or Edo Period. The blade shows natural age surface thinning, and some open grain areas, but as to be expected and certainly not surprising for such an ancient piece. If one looks closely at the nakago the bottom mounting hole [mekugi ana] is so ancient that small areas of delamination are visible around the rim. Victor Harris, former Keeper of the Department of Japanese Antiquities at the British Museum in London, once told us that you really can often only see that incredible natural aging feature in truly ancient steel samurai blades that are approaching, or over, a thousand years old. Overall 12.75 inches long, blade length tsuba to tip 8.5 inches
Antique, Edo period [1600-1867] sagemono set. A silk tobacco pouch [tobako-ire] with a silver Oni Demon mask mount. A white Jade Ojimi on the connecting cord and a chequered lacquer and metal mounted pipe case a Kizuruzutsu. All set in a beautiful damask silk patterned box. Sagemono were the items [pouches pipes, writing implements etc.] that hung by silk cords from the Obi [the silk Kimono sash]. Tobacco was known in Japan since the 1570s at the earliest. By the early 17th century, kiseru had become popular enough to even be mentioned in some Buddhist textbooks for children. The kiseru evolved along with the equipment and use of incense associated with the Japanese incense ceremony: kodo: Master artisanship in the traditional Japanese aesthetic, this magnificent tobacco sagemono suite would make a striking centerpiece for the discriminating collector of Japanese antiques. From the early 16th century around the world, sailors and global trade disseminated tobacco and smoking habits. Cultivation by colonists became widespread not only in America, but across the African continent as well. ?The weed had been integrated within diverse cultures, and diagnosed as beneficial by the medical systems of Europe, of China, and of India,? but it was the Japanese, having ?received tobacco courtesy of a shipwreck in 1542,? who took most zealously to it, adopting a matter-of-fact approach free from ritual or reason. A doctor from Nagasaki wrote, ?of late a new thing has come into fashion called ?tobacco?, it consists of large leaves which are cut up and of which one drinks the smoke? . Tobacco was instantly popular?though, as elsewhere, first in the higher strata of Japanese society, where it was favoured by higher ranking Samurai who created ?ornate silver tobacco pipes? and formed smoking clubs in which to gather and share in the pleasure of tobacco .
Circa 1580. All original Edo period koshirae [fittings] and beautiful original Edo cinnabar lacquer saya. The wrap is original Edo lacquered tooled leather over two wonderful pure gold decorated menuki of two armoured menuki. The tsuba is a very fine nanban lobed mokko gata tsuba of wonderful dragon form also decorated with gold. The kashira is a gold decorated shakudo and the fushi a super quality dragon on a nanako ground. The blade has a joyful hamon and a hammered silver over copper habaki. the first mention of the word "katana" occurred during Japan's Kamakura Period (1185 to 1333). Back then, the word was used to describe a long sword with similar characteristics as the tachi but with a few nuances. The katana, for instance, generally had a longer, more curved blade than its tachi counterpart. Most importantly, however, the katana was stronger and more powerful than the tachi. The Kamakura and Muromachi periods
These two periods are considered as the most important periods of the Samurai sword's development history. Though the exact time frames for these periods is debated the period from 1185 to 1336 was known as the Kamakura while the period from 1337 to 1573 was referred to as the Muromachi period. During these periods, there were many invasions in Japan. As a result, there was need for an effective sword to fend off invaders successfully.
During battle the Japanese warriors found that it was very difficult to draw the old ken straight sword from the scabbard (saya) while fighting on a horseback. Consequently, during the Muromachi period, smiths developed the curved katana sword which was more functional during horseback fighting. Because of the design and effective cutting angles, a Samurai could easily draw their sword from the scabbard and slash their opponents in a single swing. 27.5 inch blade from tsuba to tip.
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