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A Stunning Edo Period Tettsu {iron Plate} Krishitan {Christian.} Tsuba, Of The Holy Cross, Heavenly Eight Pointed Stars in Gold, & The River Of Life in Silver. In Superb Condition & From A Very Fine Collection of Tsuba.

A Stunning Edo Period Tettsu {iron Plate} Krishitan {Christian.} Tsuba, Of The Holy Cross, Heavenly Eight Pointed Stars in Gold, & The River Of Life in Silver. In Superb Condition & From A Very Fine Collection of Tsuba.

A stunning Krishitam sukashi piercing of the cross with a silver river and gold eight pointed star inlays. With a kozuka hitsu-ana, and kogai hitsu ana
The Bible starts with an account of a river watering the Garden of Eden. It flowed from the garden separating out into four headwaters. The rivers are named, flowing into different areas of the world,

Eight pointed stars symbolise the number of regeneration and of Baptism. The Stars and The River as Christian Symbols, are images or symbolic representation with sacred significance. The meanings, origins and ancient traditions surrounding Christian symbols date back to early times when the majority of ordinary people were not able to read or write and printing was unknown. Many were 'borrowed' or drawn from early pre-Christian traditions.
The Hidden Christians quieted their public expressions and practices of faith in the hope of survival from the great purge. They also suffered unspeakably if captured and failed to renounce their Christian beliefs.

In Silence, Endo depicts the trauma of Rodrigues’ journey into Japan through his early encounter with an abandoned and destroyed Christian village. Rodrigues expresses his distress over the suffering of Japanese Christians and he reports the “deadly silence.”

‘I will not say it was a scene of empty desolation. Rather was it as though a battle had recently devastated the whole district. Strewn all over the roads were broken plates and cups, while the doors were broken down so that all the houses lay open . . . The only thing that kept repeating itself quietly in my mind was: Why this? Why? I walked the village from corner to corner in the deadly silence.

...Somewhere or other there must be Christians secretly living their life of faith as these people had been doing . . . I would look for them and find out what had happened here; and after that I would determine what ought to be done.”

- Silence, Shusaku Endo

Two images in the gallery are drawings of bronze fumi-e in use during the 1660s in Japan, during the time of the persecution. Each of these drawings mirrors actual brass fumi-e portraying Stations of the Cross, which are held in the collections of the Tokyo National Museum

The current FX series 'Shogun' by Robert Clavell is based on the true story of William Adams and the Shogun Tokugawa Ieyesu, and apart from being one of the very best film series yet made, it shows superbly and relatively accurately the machinations of the Catholic Jesuits to manipulate the Japanese Regents and their Christian convert samurai Lords.

Oda Nobunaga (1534–82) had taken his first step toward uniting Japan as the first missionaries landed, and as his power increased he encouraged the growing Kirishitan movement as a means of subverting the great political strength of Buddhism. Oppressed peasants welcomed the gospel of salvation, but merchants and trade-conscious daimyos saw Christianity as an important link with valuable European trade. Oda’s successor, Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537–98), was much cooler toward the alien religion. The Japanese were becoming aware of competition between the Jesuits and the Franciscans and between Spanish and Portuguese trading interests. Toyotomi questioned the reliability of subjects with some allegiance to the foreign power at the Vatican. In 1587 he ordered all foreign missionaries to leave Japan but did not enforce the edict harshly until a decade later, when nine missionaries and 17 native Kirishitan were martyred.

After Toyotomi’s death and the brief regency of his adopted child, the pressures relaxed. However, Tokugawa Ieyasu, who founded the great Tokugawa shogunate (1603–1867), gradually came to see the foreign missionaries as a threat to political stability. By 1614, through his son and successor, Tokugawa Hidetada, he banned Kirishitan and ordered the missionaries expelled. Severe persecution continued for a generation under his son and grandson. Kirishitan were required to renounce their faith on pain of exile or torture. Every family was required to belong to a Buddhist temple, and periodic reports on them were expected from the temple priests.

By 1650 all known Kirishitan had been exiled or executed. Undetected survivors were driven underground into a secret movement that came to be known as Kakure Kirishitan (“Hidden Christians”), existing mainly in western Kyushu island around Nagasaki and Shimabara. To avoid detection they were obliged to practice deceptions such as using images of the Virgin Mary disguised as the popular and merciful Bōsatsu (bodhisattva) Kannon, whose gender is ambiguous and whom carvers often render as female.

The populace at large remained unaware that the Kakure Kirishitan managed to survive for two centuries, and when the prohibition against Roman Catholics began to ease again in the mid-19th century, arriving European priests were told there were no Japanese Christians left. A Roman Catholic church set up in Nagasaki in 1865 was dedicated to the 26 martyrs of 1597, and within the year 20,000 Kakure Kirishitan dropped their disguise and openly professed their Christian faith. They faced some repression during the waning years of the Tokugawa shogunate, but early in the reforms of the emperor Meiji (reigned 1867–1912) the Kirishitan won the right to declare their faith and worship publicly.

Some wear to the gold and silver inlays on the reverse side.  read more

Code: 25311

1495.00 GBP

An Edo Tettsu Krishitan {Christian} Tsuba Of Twin Symbols of The Rope And The Cross. In Superb Condition & Traditionally Boxed For Display. From A Very Fine Collection Of Beautiful Antique Tsuba

An Edo Tettsu Krishitan {Christian} Tsuba Of Twin Symbols of The Rope And The Cross. In Superb Condition & Traditionally Boxed For Display. From A Very Fine Collection Of Beautiful Antique Tsuba

This beautiful iron tsuba, contains the hidden Edo period Christian symbols of the rope and the cross, and it serves as both a reminder to the violence and to the subsequent hiddenness that came out of the Japanese convert Christians’ suffering. The rope was symbol of obedience - the symbol of an untied rope.
It may be that the design of the tsuba confronted the believer to the ambiguity born of a prolonged time of painful secrecy. Surrounded by the threat of violence, even a weapon could bear a hidden symbol of Christianity—the cross.

The Hidden Christians quieted their public expressions and practices of faith in the hope of survival from the great purge. They also suffered unspeakably if captured and failed to renounce their Christian beliefs.

In Silence, Endo depicts the trauma of Rodrigues’ journey into Japan through his early encounter with an abandoned and destroyed Christian village. Rodrigues expresses his distress over the suffering of Japanese Christians and he reports the “deadly silence.”

‘I will not say it was a scene of empty desolation. Rather was it as though a battle had recently devastated the whole district. Strewn all over the roads were broken plates and cups, while the doors were broken down so that all the houses lay open . . . The only thing that kept repeating itself quietly in my mind was: Why this? Why? I walked the village from corner to corner in the deadly silence.

...Somewhere or other there must be Christians secretly living their life of faith as these people had been doing . . . I would look for them and find out what had happened here; and after that I would determine what ought to be done.”

- Silence, Shusaku Endo

The current FX series 'Shogun' by Robert Clavell is based on the true story of William Adams and the Shogun Tokugawa Ieyesu, and apart from being one of the very best film series yet made, it shows superbly and relatively accurately the machinations of the Catholic Jesuits to manipulate the Japanese Regents and their Christian convert samurai Lords.

Oda Nobunaga (1534–82) had taken his first step toward uniting Japan as the first missionaries landed, and as his power increased he encouraged the growing Kirishitan movement as a means of subverting the great political strength of Buddhism. Oppressed peasants welcomed the gospel of salvation, but merchants and trade-conscious daimyos saw Christianity as an important link with valuable European trade. Oda’s successor, Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537–98), was much cooler toward the alien religion. The Japanese were becoming aware of competition between the Jesuits and the Franciscans and between Spanish and Portuguese trading interests. Toyotomi questioned the reliability of subjects with some allegiance to the foreign power at the Vatican. In 1587 he ordered all foreign missionaries to leave Japan but did not enforce the edict harshly until a decade later, when nine missionaries and 17 native Kirishitan were martyred.

After Toyotomi’s death and the brief regency of his adopted child, the pressures relaxed. However, Tokugawa Ieyasu, who founded the great Tokugawa shogunate (1603–1867), gradually came to see the foreign missionaries as a threat to political stability. By 1614, through his son and successor, Tokugawa Hidetada, he banned Kirishitan and ordered the missionaries expelled. Severe persecution continued for a generation under his son and grandson. Kirishitan were required to renounce their faith on pain of exile or torture. Every family was required to belong to a Buddhist temple, and periodic reports on them were expected from the temple priests.

By 1650 all known Kirishitan had been exiled or executed. Undetected survivors were driven underground into a secret movement that came to be known as Kakure Kirishitan (“Hidden Christians”), existing mainly in western Kyushu island around Nagasaki and Shimabara. To avoid detection they were obliged to practice deceptions such as using images of the Virgin Mary disguised as the popular and merciful Bōsatsu (bodhisattva) Kannon, whose gender is ambiguous and whom carvers often render as female.

The populace at large remained unaware that the Kakure Kirishitan managed to survive for two centuries, and when the prohibition against Roman Catholics began to ease again in the mid-19th century, arriving European priests were told there were no Japanese Christians left. A Roman Catholic church set up in Nagasaki in 1865 was dedicated to the 26 martyrs of 1597, and within the year 20,000 Kakure Kirishitan dropped their disguise and openly professed their Christian faith. They faced some repression during the waning years of the Tokugawa shogunate, but early in the reforms of the emperor Meiji (reigned 1867–1912) the Kirishitan won the right to declare their faith and worship publicly.

Two images in the gallery are drawings of bronze fumi-e in use during the 1660s in Japan, during the time of the persecution. Each of these drawings mirrors actual brass fumi-e portraying Stations of the Cross, which are held in the collections of the Tokyo National Museum.  read more

Code: 25310

675.00 GBP

A Beautiful Samurai Long 17th Century Katana With Very Fine Edo Period Mounts Including Fabulous Quality Hand Chisselled Silver Fuchi Kashira of Takebori Turbulent Seas and Sea Shells. Signed Hisamichi

A Beautiful Samurai Long 17th Century Katana With Very Fine Edo Period Mounts Including Fabulous Quality Hand Chisselled Silver Fuchi Kashira of Takebori Turbulent Seas and Sea Shells. Signed Hisamichi

Very fine signed iron plate hira-kaku-gata tsuba, but when mounted, the tsuba seppa-dai is covered by seppa (metal spacers) and the signature (mei) is not visible. With a mimi {a prominant rim} and a kozuka hitsu-ana, and kogai hitsu ana, and very scarcely seen, twin holes near the rim at the bottom of the tsuba called ude-nuki ana. These represent the sun and moon and were likely used for threading a leather wrist thong to prevent dropping the sword in battle.

Its munuki are bound underneath the micro woven plaied tsuka-ito hilt binding, depict takebori gold and shakudo Mount Fuji, and a man running in the waves that are before Mount Fuji. The saya is black urushi lacquer with a carved buffalo horn kurigata and brown sageo wrap. The blade shows a beautiful notare based on suguha hamon, with pinpricks in the hada. The nakago is signed and bears the signature, Omi no Kami Hisamichi, but not, or very unlikey to be one of the four Mashina school masters, also named Hisamichi

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. European knights and Japanese samurai have some interesting similarities. Both groups rode horses and wore armour. Both came from a wealthy upper class. And both were trained to follow strict codes of moral behaviour. In Europe, these ideals were called chivalry; the samurai code was called Bushido, "the way of the warrior." The rules of chivalry and Bushido both emphasize honour, self-control, loyalty, bravery, and military training.

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.

Blade 28.3 inches long, tsuba to tip.  read more

Code: 25301

6750.00 GBP

A Beautiful Antique Edo Samurai Long Katana. A Most Fine Katana With A Good Hon-Zukuri Blade With Midare Hamon and Full Length Hi

A Beautiful Antique Edo Samurai Long Katana. A Most Fine Katana With A Good Hon-Zukuri Blade With Midare Hamon and Full Length Hi

Soten school mounts on a botanical theme, in gold and shakudo, a taka zogan tsuba decorated with a peasant driving a bullock with a mountain in the background. Mumei tang. Very nice blade indeed, hon-zukuri with wonderful hamon in midare form. The stunning menuki, bound under the original Edo micro cord tsuka-ito of birds, are also in gold and shakudo.

This is a katana made for a ranking samurai based on horseback in combat, a medium weight and cursive katana, a battle sword, yet with beautiful fittings and features, and made to complete an uncomprimising task of close combat and aggressive swordmanship.
Although samurai would not, one would say, be a cavalry based warrior, all senior samurai would be mounted and thus travel on horseback, and some cavalry type samurai could be deployed in battle, but with differing combat styles depending on what part of Japan they came from. The cavalry troops, being Samurai, had personal retainers that stayed closer to them in the Sonae, carried their weaponry and worked as support units, much like an European squire. They also joined the fight whenever possible (especially in the mounted infantry scenario) and were often responsible of taking heads for their lords.
These foot Samurai were also used as heavy infantry or archers to support the ashigaru lines.


Tactics
Given the fact that the Samurai could directly dismount and operate as infantry, there were some specific tactics for horsemen.
Cavalry in general was only used after the battle was already started, either to deliver a decisive victory or to trying to save the day.

Norikiri
This is a classic charge, where several small groups of five to ten horseman ride consequently (possibly with a wedge formation) into a small area against the enemy lines, to maximize the shock. It was mainly used by heavy cavalry in the East, but given the fact that the ideal target where "weavering" units with low morale or disorganized, even medium cavalry could perform this charge.
The main role of this charge was to create confusion; if it didn't succeed, the cavalry regroups and either retreat or deliver another charge.

Norikuzushi
This is a combined infantry and cavalry charge. The horseman charged first, and after creating mayhem, a second charge is delivered by infantries armed with polearms, which could keep on fighting. The main target for this tactics were ranged units detached by the army. After a Norikuzushi usually follows a Norikiri by the cavalry group. 30 inch blade tsuba to tip. The saya has two colour lacquer in red and black.  read more

Code: 25300

6850.00 GBP

A Superb Edo Period Samurai Teppo {Arquebus Musket} With Signed Barrel Bearing the Silver Clan Mon of the Minamoto. One of The Greatest Clans of Samurai History

A Superb Edo Period Samurai Teppo {Arquebus Musket} With Signed Barrel Bearing the Silver Clan Mon of the Minamoto. One of The Greatest Clans of Samurai History

A beautiful museum quality piece. A fine original long Samurai tanegashima musket from the Edo period 1598-1868, the barrel is signed underneath with the gunmaking family name. The barrel has a silver inlaid mon, engraved with the kamon of the Minamoto clan of Japan, on the top section of the barrel is futher silver inlays of clouds.

Kamakura period and Kamakura city, which were established and founded by Minamoto no Yoritomo—the first shōgun of Japan.
Muromachi period was founded by shōgun Ashikaga Takauji—a direct descendant of Minamoto no Yoshiyasu (also known as Ashikaga Yoshiyasu).
Edo period was founded by shōgun Tokugawa Ieyasu—who claimed to be a descendant of Minamoto no Yoshishige (also known as Nitta Yoshishige).

The Tokugawa Shoguns ruled Japan for more than two centuries. The type of weapon most often called in Japanese, and sometimes in English Hinawaju, which means matchlock gun. It was a type of matchlock configured arquebus firearm. Clan mon motif of Sasarindo stylized gentian plants combined with bamboo leaves

The Samurai's teppo has been used in Samurai Warfare since their introduction to the Samurai, in 1543, by the Portugese. Much of Japan was involved with internecine wars during the Sengoku period (1467-1603), as feudal lords vied for supremacy.

Matchlock guns were introduced midway through the period and saw extensive use in the later years of the conflict, playing a decisive role on the battlefield. In 1549, Oda Nobunaga ordered 500 guns to be produced for his armies at a time when the benefits of firearms over traditional weapons were still relatively questionable to other daimyo.

The Japanese soon worked on various techniques to improve the effectiveness of their guns. They developed a staggered firing technique to create a continuous rain of bullets on the enemy. They also developed larger calibre barrels and ammunition to increase lethality. Protective boxes in lacquerware were invented to fit over the firing mechanism so it could still fire while it was raining, as were systems to accurately fire weapons at night by keeping fixed angles thanks to measured strings. Another development would be the hayago, a bamboo cartridge used to facilitate faster reloading. A hollow tube open on the both ends, the hayago contained gun powder, wadding, and a bullet. Upon tearing open the tube's paper seal at the bottom, a soldier could quickly use it to pour the necessary powder into his weapon before placing over the barrel and using his rammer to load both wadding and bullet into the barrel at the same time. After use, the hayago could be kept for repacking or discarded.

One significant place to see other original Samurai Tanegeshima in present day Japan is in Matsumoto Castle, within their armoury. Particular importance in the collection are the Tanageshima, which played an important role during the massive battle for Osaka Castle in 1615. The main articles in the collection are matchlocks manufactured in the period from 1543 (when guns were introduced by the Portuguese through Tanegashima island) through to the late Edo period during the long Tokugawa peace. In total there are 141 guns of different design, calibre and period, and 230 pieces of armour. All of the weapons were made in Japan during a century in which enormous changes took place, both in Japan's social and political organization and modernisation prior to the closing of the country and 250 years of relative isolation. Matsumoto Castle was built some 50 years after the introduction by Portuguese traders of firearms into Japan. For this reason the walls of the turrets (Nurigome-zukuri) are thick enough to withstand bullets, and the defences were built in depth. As firearms were also used to defend the castle, the donjon has 55 square holes called teppozama, from which matchlock muskets (and in some cases small cannon) could bring fire to bear on an assaulting force  read more

Code: 25297

3995.00 GBP

An Edo Japanese Kayakuire Teppo Musket Powder Flask

An Edo Japanese Kayakuire Teppo Musket Powder Flask

Kayakuire (Powder Flask) is an essential element of the Teppo Tai (Japanese Samurai Gunners or Riflemen). The kayaku is the flask used to contain the main powder charge, when there was no hayago (fast-loading tube). The gunpowder in the kayakuire was poured down the teppo canon, followed by a wadding, iron ball, and then hit with the karuka (ramrod). The Samurai's teppo has been used in Samurai Warfare since their introduction to the Samurai, in 1543, by the Portuguese.

Much of Japan was involved with internecine wars during the Sengoku period (1467-1603), as feudal lords vied for supremacy. Matchlock guns were introduced midway through the period and saw extensive use in the later years of the conflict, playing a decisive role on the battlefield. In 1549, Oda Nobunaga ordered 500 guns to be produced for his armies at a time when the benefits of firearms over traditional weapons were still relatively questionable to other daimyo.

The Japanese soon worked on various techniques to improve the effectiveness of their guns. They developed a staggered firing technique to create a continuous rain of bullets on the enemy. They also developed larger caliber barrels and ammunition to increase lethality. Protective boxes in lacquerware were invented to fit over the firing mechanism so it could still fire while it was raining, as were systems to accurately fire weapons at night by keeping fixed angles thanks to measured strings. Another development would be the hayago, a bamboo cartridge used to facilitate faster reloading. A hollow tube open on the both ends, the hayago contained gun powder, wadding, and a bullet. Upon tearing open the tube's paper seal at the bottom, a soldier could quickly use it to pour the necessary powder into his weapon before placing over the barrel and using his rammer to load both wadding and bullet into the barrel at the same time. After use, the hayago could be kept for repacking or discarded. One significant place to see other original Samurai Tanegeshima in present day Japan is in Matsumoto Castle, within their armoury. Particular importance in the collection are the Tanageshima, which played an important role during the massive battle for Osaka Castle in 1615. The main articles in the collection are matchlocks manufactured in the period from 1543 (when guns were introduced by the Portuguese through Tanegashima island) through to the late Edo period during the long Tokugawa peace. In total there are 141 guns of different design, caliber and period, and 230 pieces of armor. All of the weapons were made in Japan during a century in which enormous changes took place, both in Japan's social and political organization and modernisation prior to the closing of the country and 250 years of relative isolation. Matsumoto Castle was built some 50 years after the introduction by Portuguese traders of firearms into Japan. For this reason the walls of the turrets (Nurigome-zukuri) are thick enough to withstand bullets, and the defences were built in depth. As firearms were also used to defend the castle, the donjon has 55 square holes called teppozama, from which matchlock muskets (and in some cases small cannon) could bring fire to bear on an assaulting force.  read more

Code: 23210

425.00 GBP

A Fine, Mid Edo Signed, Samurai Sword Tsuba Umatada Tadatsugu With Hozon Papers

A Fine, Mid Edo Signed, Samurai Sword Tsuba Umatada Tadatsugu With Hozon Papers

Signed by Tadatsugu whose family name was Umetada, Umetada Tadatsuga 1675 - 1725. Complete with Hozon papers and translation. Tsuba are usually finely decorated, and are highly desirable collectors' items in their own right. Tsuba were made by whole dynasties of craftsmen whose only craft was making tsuba. They could be simple, plain, sukashi [pierced] or highly elaborately 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.  read more

Code: 23507

785.00 GBP

A Stunning Antique Edo Samurai Katana With Signed Blade, Kashu ju Darani Tachibana Katsukuni Saku, Katsukuni of the Tachibana clan, the Darani school of smiths, made this {sword} in Kashu Province,  With Full Length Hi and Incredible Hamon of Sanbon-sugi

A Stunning Antique Edo Samurai Katana With Signed Blade, Kashu ju Darani Tachibana Katsukuni Saku, Katsukuni of the Tachibana clan, the Darani school of smiths, made this {sword} in Kashu Province, With Full Length Hi and Incredible Hamon of Sanbon-sugi

Beautifully mounted in original Edo mounts of iron fuchi kashira of silver birds in reeds, a pair of takebori crab menuki, with a fine iron tsuba decorated with takebori prunus blossom in silver, upon their branches. Finest blue tsukaito binding, and a beautiful black lacquer saya carved buffalo horn kurigata and dark brown sageo.
Signed blade,
加州住陀羅尼橘勝國作
Kashu ju Darani tachibana Katsukuni saku.
The Darani school, was geographically located in the Kaga domain, and its aim was following the Mino forging style. The sword's smith, likely the third generation, of the 1600’s, was a member, and made for, the Tachibana clan of Kashu {Kaga} province.

Engraved upon the ura with mei Senshu Banzai, which means ‘celebrate long life’, it may be for the samurai for whom it was made, or possibly to whom it was presented. A most unusual Mei blessing to see on a blade

The Tachibana clan
Home province Chikuzen
Parent house Ōtomo clan
Founder Tachibana Sadatoshi (Ōtomo Sadatoshi)
Founding year 14th century
The Tachibana clan (立花氏) was a Japanese clan of daimyō (feudal lords) during Japan's Sengoku and Edo periods. Originally based in Tachibana castle in Kyūshū, the family's holdings were moved to the Yanagawa Domain in the far north-east of Honshū in the Edo period.

Darani Katsukuni swords are rated on the Wazamono list in the Kokon Kajibiko (古今鍛冶備考) of 1830 and later additions, as
Yoki Wazamono (良業物), {Ryo Wazamono } "Very good." Swords that cut through the torso 5-7 out of 10 times.
Edo period 1597 to 1863
The head of Darani school - Katsukuni 勝国 followed Mino technique and made to emulate Sanbon-sugi hamon {three cedar pattern} of Kanemoto

The sword is in original last Edo polish, (around 90%+) and although shows some natural age surface marking and small defensive edge nick it may be preferred to leave untouched.

Wazamono is a classification of Japanese swords and swordsmiths used in Japan to identify historic blades of exceptional quality. According to the first edition of Kaiho Kenjaku (懐宝剣尺) published in 1797, There are 163 Wazamono swords in total, grouped into four categories based on their quality. This rating is based on a book compiled by Yamada Asaemon V (山田浅右衛門吉睦), an official sword cutting ability examiner and executioner of the Tokugawa shogunate, and is an authoritative index of cutting ability of Japanese swords. The list of ratings concerning swordsmithing differs between Kaiho Kenjaku (懐宝剣尺) published in 1797 and the reprinted edition published in 1805, and the major revised edition of Kokon Kajibiko (古今鍛冶備考) published in 1830. Adding to the number of sword smiths in each edition: Saijo Ō Wazamono 15, Ō Wazamono 21, Yoki Wazamono 58, Wazamono 93, lower 3 grade mixed 65. In the original list of 1797 Twelve swords are classified as Saijō Ō Wazamono (Supreme Grade), twenty-one swords are classified as Ō Wazamono (Excellent), fifty swords are classified as Yoki (Ryō) Wazamono (Very Good), and eighty swords are classified as Wazamono (Good).

There was a most famous sword of the Tachibana it was named Raikiri: The Lightning Cutter, or Thunder Cutter.

Raikiri, also known as the Lightning Cutter, holds a place of honour within the annals of Japanese sword lore. Its story intertwines with the remarkable warrior Bekki Dōsetsu, the first head of the Tachibana family.
Originally, Raikiri began its existence as a long tachi sword named “Chidori.”
One fateful day, as Dōsetsu rested beneath a grand tree, a thunderbolt struck nearby. Swift as lightning, he drew his sword, Chidori, and slashed at the electrifying force.
The blade’s swift and decisive cut earned it a new name: Raikiri, signifying the lightning’s cleaving power.
Dōsetsu, father of the renowned Tachibana Ginchiyo, wielded Raikiri with unmatched skill. His valour and connection to the supernatural elevated the sword’s status.
Raikiri became a symbol of courage, a blade that could slice through not only flesh but also the very elements.

More details to follow

The katana was such a crucial part of a samurai's life that when a young warrior was on the verge of entering this world, the sword he would use as a protector was brought into the delivery room as if to greet the young one. And, when a weathered, old veteran warrior was on his deathbed, ready to cross over into the White Jade Pavilion of the afterlife, his katana was placed at his side, as if to protect him one last time. 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. 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 were 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.

As part of their military training, it was said, that 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. It seems somewhat extreme, but not entirely impossible.

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.
An individual 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. Swords in Japan have long been symbols of power and honour and seen as works of art. Often times swordsmiths were more famous than the people who used them  read more

Code: 25268

7950.00 GBP

An Ancient & Most Beautiful Samurai Tanto Circa 1390 Chōsokabe Clan, Signed Motochika. Around 630 Years Old

An Ancient & Most Beautiful Samurai Tanto Circa 1390 Chōsokabe Clan, Signed Motochika. Around 630 Years Old

With finest quality original Edo koshirae of pure gold decorated fuchigashira, of cooking a fish using two branches over a smoking frame on the fuchi and a curled rat on the kashira, all on a very fine nanako hand punched ground.The kozuka has an engraved silver handle and copper and short metal blade. a beautiful black urushi lacquer to the saya with a kojiri bottom mounts in silvered copper, and a very finely made copper tsuba. The blade has a fine suguha hamon with a good turn back at the tip, a single wide hi and a two piece silver and copper habaki with a pierced clan mon, and in old Edo polish. Although the blade was made in around 1390 it has been likely used by the clan for many centuries. Overall this tanto is absolutely stunning. The Chōsokabe clan (長 宗 我 部 氏Chōsokabe-shi ) , Also known as Chōsokame (長 曾 我 部 、 長 宗 我 部 ) , Was a Japanese clan from the island of Shikoku . Over time, they were known to serve the Hosokawa clan , then the Miyoshi clan, and then the Ichijō clan , 1 although they were later liberated and came to dominate the entire island, before being defeated by Toyotomi Hideyoshi . The clan claimed to be descendants of Qin Shi Huang (d. 210 BC), the first emperor of a unified China .

The clan is associated with the province of Tosa in present-day Kōchi prefecture on the island of Shikoku . Chōsokabe Motochika , who unified Shikoku, was the first twenty daimyo (or head) of the clan.

In the beginning of the Sengoku period , Chōsokabe Kunichika's father , Kanetsugu , was assassinated by the Motoyama clan in 1508. Therefore, Kunichika was raised by the aristocrat Ichijō Husaie of the Ichijō clan in Tosa province. Later, towards the end of his life, Kunichika avenged the Motoyama clan and destroyed with the help of Ichijō in 1560. Kunichika have children, including his heir and future daimyo of Chosokabe, Motochika, who continue unifying Shikoku.

First, the Ichijō family was overthrown by Motochika in 1574. Later, he gained control of the rest of Tosa due to his victory at the Battle of Watarigawa in 1575. Then he also destroyed the Kono clan and the Soga clan . Over the next decade, he extended his power to all of Shikoku in 1583. However, in 1585, Toyotomi Hideyoshi ( Oda Nobunaga's successor ) invaded the island with a force of 100,000 men, led by Ukita Hideie , Kobayakawa Takakage , Kikkawa Motonaga , Toyotomi Hidenaga and Toyotomi Hidetsugu . Motochika surrendered and lost the Awa provinces, Sanuki and Iyo ; Hideyoshi allowed him to retain Tosa. The smiths name Motochika was linked to the clan itself. The last picture In the gallery is of samurai Chōsokabe Morichika, ruler of Tosa province. His clan mon, that appears on the hibaki, can be seen on the collar of his garb, As ruler of Tosa Province, in 1614 he went to join the defenders of Osaka Castle against the Tokugawa, he arriving there the same day as Sanada Yukimura. His Chōsokabe contingent fought very well in both the Winter and Summer at Osaka Campaigns. After the fall of Osaka, Morichika attempted to flee but was apprehended at Hachiman-yama by Hachisuka men, He and his sons were beheaded on May 11, 1615, following the defeat of the Toyotomi and Chōsokabe forces at the Battle of Tennōji. We acquired this tanto with a pair of abumi of the same clan, sold seperately. Overall 12.75 inches long and an 8 " long blade  read more

Code: 23468

SOLD

A Simply Stunning Koto Era Japanese Katana Circa 1550 of Most Elegant Form

A Simply Stunning Koto Era Japanese Katana Circa 1550 of Most Elegant Form

Around 470 to 500 year old blade, with a most beautiful elegant blade in good polish, showing a very active hamon and long kissaki. Fitted with wonderful, all original Edo period mounts, including its original Edo period lacquer saya in near pristine condition with multi patterned polychrome lacquer that has survived near 200 years stunningly well. The complexity of the different patterns and colours of urushi lacquer on the saya shows the status of its last owners during the 18th and 19th century. The original Edo period lacquer on the saya is in simply excellent condition and shows most elegant technical skill, it reveals within that skill the finest craftsmanship and beauty worthy of a master of the art of urushi decor. 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.
A saya of this quality would likely have taken over a year to make. Long impressive blade with a long o-kissaki tip. The tsuba is Hira-zogan iron tetsu inlaid with flat kinko brass in the form of a willow tree. The fushi and menuki patterns are both dragon based.The first use of katana as a word to describe a long sword that was different from a tachi occurs as early as the Kamakura Period (1185?1333). These references to "uchigatana" and "tsubagatana" seem to indicate a different style of sword, possibly a less costly sword for lower-ranking warriors. The Mongol invasions of Japan facilitated a change in the designs of Japanese swords. Thin tachi and chokuto-style blades were often unable to cut through the boiled leather armour of the Mongols, with the blades often chipping or breaking off. The evolution of the tachi into what would become the katana seems to have continued during the early Muromachi period (1337 to 1573). Starting around the year 1400, long swords signed with the katana-style mei were made. This was in response to samurai wearing their tachi in what is now called "katana style" (cutting edge up). Overall 40 inches long, blade tsuba to tip 28.25 inches long  read more

Code: 21525

7950.00 GBP