A Very Fine & Beautiful Handachi Katana Dated 1539 signed Bizen Kuni Osafune ju Tsuguiye
Just under 500 years old, and a delight to observe the wonderful curvature to the blade. It possesses a very long signature by the smith on the nakago. It has all original Edo period mounts fittings and saya, with original saya intricately patterned urushi lacquer. Typical Edo handachi mounts with a beautiful iron tsuba with gold onlay of prunus and grasses. It has a very active hamon on the stunning blade and it’s all original Edo tsukaito binding to the hilt, now somewhat pleasingly colour faded in part and usual signs of combat use age appropriate wear as to be expected.
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 expanding 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 synthesised 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. Members of a hierarchal class or caste, samurai were the sons of samurai and they were taught from an early age to unquestionably obey their mother, father and daimyo. When they grew older they may be trained by Zen Buddhist masters in meditation and the Zen concepts of impermanence and harmony with nature. The were also taught about painting, calligraphy, nature poetry, mythological literature, flower arranging, and the tea ceremony.
it has been said that part of their military training, samurai were taught to sleep with their right arm underneath them so if they were attacked in the middle of the night and their the left arm was cut off the could still fight with their right arm. Samurai that tossed and turned at night were cured of the habit by having two knives placed on either side of their pillow.
Samurai have been describes as "the most strictly trained human instruments of war to have existed." They were expected to be proficient in the martial arts of aikido and kendo as well as swordsmanship and archery---the traditional methods of samurai warfare---which were viewed not so much as skills but as art forms that flowed from natural forces that harmonized with nature.
Some samurai, it has been claimed, didn't become a full-fledged samurai until he wandered around the countryside as begging pilgrim for a couple of years to learn humility. When this was completed they achieved samurai status and receives a salary from his daimyo paid from taxes (usually rice) raised from the local populace.
Japanese lacquer, or urushi, is a transformative and highly prized material that has been refined for over 7000 years.
Cherished for its infinite versatility, urushi is a distinctive art form that has spread across all facets of Japanese culture from the tea ceremony to the saya scabbards of samurai swords
Japanese artists created their own style and perfected the art of decorated lacquerware during the 8th century. Japanese lacquer skills reached its peak as early as the twelfth century, at the end of the Heian period (794-1185). This skill was passed on from father to son and from master to apprentice.
Some provinces of Japan were famous for their contribution to this art: the province of Edo (later Tokyo), for example, produced the most beautiful lacquered pieces from the 17th to the 18th centuries. Lords and shoguns privately employed lacquerers to produce decorated samurai sword saya and also ceremonial and decorative objects for their homes and palaces.
27.25 inch blade tsuba to tip.
Every single item from The Lanes Armoury is accompanied by our unique Certificate of Authenticity. Part of our continued dedication to maintain the standards forged by us over the past 100 years of our family’s trading, as Britain’s oldest established, and favourite, armoury and gallery