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Ko Tosho School Swordsmith Made Koto Katana Tsuba Circa 1400

Ko Tosho School Swordsmith Made Koto Katana Tsuba Circa 1400

The strong, softly lustrous metal and very well cut, the large Hitsu-ana, and the antique chisel marks around the Hitsu-ana are all characteristic indications of early-Muromachi period works. Carved openwork clan mon. The Hitsu-ana, made when the guard was first produced, suggests that it is a work of the time of Yoshimitsu. A well worked and hammered plate. According to tradition, it says each time a Tosho made a to-ken, he made a habaki with his own hands, and at the same time he also added a single tsuba such as this.
The earliest Tosho tsuba are referred to in Japanese as Ko-Tosho old sword smith and date from the Genpei War (1180-1185) to middle Muromachi Period (1400-1500).

During the late Kamakura Period large Ko-Tosho tsuba were developed and were used mostly as field mounts for odachi by high-ranking Samurai during and after the Mongol invasion of Japan in Genko Jidai (1274-1281 ) in the Muromachi Period (1336-1573) the Ko-Tosho tsuba became even more common with the development and popularization of the onehanded sword uchigatana as the only sword of Ashigaru.
The most common design characteristic, next to the plain flat plate, for Ko-Tosho tsuba is kosukashi the simplistic use of small negative silhouetted openwork. The most common openwork designs are of mon (family crest), sun, moon, tools, plants, Buddhist, Shinto and sometimes Christian religious symbols. The plates iron is characteristically of a good temper, having good hardness and elasticity. The plate is made of local iron forged by the swordsmith or apprentice, the same as for Japanese sword blades. 74mm  read more

Code: 19741

750.00 GBP

A Most Unusual & Rare Edo Period Katana Tsuba, With Rotational Fitting. This is An Incdibly Rare Form of Tsuba in that it Has Two Methods To Mount It On Katana. Vertical or Horizontal

A Most Unusual & Rare Edo Period Katana Tsuba, With Rotational Fitting. This is An Incdibly Rare Form of Tsuba in that it Has Two Methods To Mount It On Katana. Vertical or Horizontal

An iron sukashi tsuba, cut with four different shaped symbols as kozuka-ana and kogai-ana, and two, North and South, or East and West facing blade apertures, to enable the rotation of the tsuba when mounting it onto the blade. Thus altering the profile of the tsuka from wide to narrow.
The tsuba is always usually a round, ovoid or occasionally squarish guard at the end of the tsuka of bladed Japanese weapons but always usually designed to be worn one way upon the sword, either the katana and its various declinations, tachi, wakizashi, tanto, and polearms that have a tsuba, such as naginata etc.

They contribute to the balance of the weapon and to the protection of the hand. The tsuba was mostly meant to be used to prevent the hand from sliding onto the blade during thrusts as opposed to protecting from an opponent's blade. The chudan no kamae guard is determined by the tsuba and the curvature of the blade. The diameter of the average katana tsuba is 7.58 centimetres (3.0-3.1 in), wakizashi tsuba is (2.4-2.6 in), and tanto tsuba is 4.5-6 cm (1.8-2.4 in).

During the Muromachi period (1333-1573) and the Momoyama period (1573-1603) Tsuba were more for functionality than for decoration, being made of stronger metals and designs. During the Edo period (1603-1868) tsuba became more ornamental and made of less practical metals such as gold.

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 were usually lavishly 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: 16704

585.00 GBP

A Most Pleasant Reminder of An Interview We Gave With The Japanese Press

A Most Pleasant Reminder of An Interview We Gave With The Japanese Press

We received a most pleasant surprise from a Japanese friend who works in the Japanese Consulate in Piccadilly, London.

It was his copy of a most informal interview that we gave during our stock listing, it was a boiling hot summers day, and our air con was struggling.

It was with a most polite and courteous journalist {they all are in fact} from a Japanese newspaper a little while ago.  read more

Code: 23310

Price
on
Request

A Superb, Ancient Koto Long Katana, Circa 1390 to1420 With a Very Fine Suite of Jakushi Iron & Gold Koshirae, A Signed Tsuba, and Matching Jukushi Fuchi-Kashira. The Stunning Black Saya Has Four Aoi Mon in Hiramaki-e Gold Lacquer of The Tokugawa

A Superb, Ancient Koto Long Katana, Circa 1390 to1420 With a Very Fine Suite of Jakushi Iron & Gold Koshirae, A Signed Tsuba, and Matching Jukushi Fuchi-Kashira. The Stunning Black Saya Has Four Aoi Mon in Hiramaki-e Gold Lacquer of The Tokugawa

A 600 to 630 year old, long and mighty blade, of 29 inches, measured from the tsuba to tip in beautiful condition, with a fabulous hamon. This is a most impressive ancient sword from the great warring period of Japan 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."
The late saya bears 4 deep relief gold aoi gold mon hiramaki-e low relief lacquer, the triple hollyhock leaf, of the Tokugawa, on a fine black lacquer ground. The tsuka has just been re bound in stunning black silk ito.
The theme of the koshirae is influenced by the Province of Hizen (肥前國). Forged iron (tetsu 鉄) hand guard (tsuba 鐔) is a work of the Jakushi (杓子) School based in the port city of Nagasaki (長崎) in Hizen Province, and inlaid with small silver and gold detailing. The artistic scene on both sides of the tsuba is that of a Chinese style painting made popular during the Ming Dynasty that was exported to southern Japan during the beginning of the Edo Period with the collapse of the Ming Dynasty (1644 CE). The fuchi-gashira (縁頭) is made of forged iron. The tsuba is signed by Jakushi (杓子) on its obverse face. The signature style is consistent with what the Jakushi School used during the Edo Period.

When this sword was first made it would have been the period of the end of the Nanboku-chō period, when a form of civil war was fought between the Northern Japanese Emperor and the Southern Japanese Emperor. Go-Kameyama acceded to the throne during the turbulent Nanboku-chō period during which rival claimants to the Chrysanthemum Throne gathered supporters around them in what were known as the Northern court and the Southern Court. Go-Kameyama became Emperor in what was called the Southern court when Emperor Chōkei abdicated in 1383. On October 15, 1392, at the insistence of the peace faction amongst his own courtiers, he applied to Ashikaga Yoshimitsu for peace; and he subsequently returned to the capital where he did hand over the Sacred Treasures to his Northern Court rival. In doing so, Go-Kameyama was understood to have abdicated.
From then it was in the era of use in the
1419 Ōei Invasion to Wokou bases on Tsushima Island
1428 Cholera epidemic and extreme impoverishment in now Shiga Prefecture have resulted in the Shocho uprising.
1438 Flare-up of Eikyō disturbance in the Kantō region after 22 years of confrontation between local lords and shogunate
1443 The Treaty of Gyehae was signed, resulting in Wokou pirates becoming increasingly non-Japanese.
1454 The Kyōtoku Incident starts the 32 years of instability and bloodshed in the semi-independent Kantō region.
1457 Takeda Nobuhiro emerged victorious after repelling an Ainu assault on Kaminokuni, Hokkaido, marking the beginning of Japanese conquest of Hokkaido.
Edo Castle, a nucleus of modern Tokyo, was built.
1459 Bad handling of the Kanshō famine in the aftermath of flood and plague in Kyoto has resulted in increasing divisions of society, which led to the Sengoku period
The Sengoku period Sengoku Jidai, "Warring States period" is a period in Japanese history of near-constant civil war, social upheaval, and intrigue from 1467 to 1615.

The Sengoku period was initiated by the Onin War in 1467 which collapsed the feudal system of Japan under the Ashikaga Shogunate. Various samurai warlords and clans fought for control over Japan in the power vacuum, while the Ikkō-ikki emerged to fight against samurai rule. The arrival of Europeans in 1543 introduced the arquebus into Japanese warfare, and Japan ended its status as a tributary state of China in 1549. Oda Nobunaga dissolved the Ashikaga Shogunate in 1573 and launched a war of political unification by force, including the Ishiyama Hongan-ji War, until his death in the Honnō-ji Incident in 1582. Nobunaga's successor Toyotomi Hideyoshi completed his campaign to unify Japan and consolidated his rule with numerous influential reforms. Hideyoshi launched the Japanese invasions of Korea in 1592, but their eventual failure damaged his prestige before his death in 1598. Tokugawa Ieyasu displaced Hideyoshi's young son and successor Toyotomi Hideyori at the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 and re-established the feudal system under the Tokugawa Shogunate. The Sengoku period ended when Toyotomi loyalists were defeated at the siege of Osaka in 1615.

The Sengoku period was named by Japanese historians after the similar but otherwise unrelated Warring States period of China.  read more

Code: 24034

7950.00 GBP

The Lanes Armoury Probably The Largest Online Militaria Website in the World, & The Imminent 23rd Anniversary of Our Best Antique & Collectables Shop in Britain Award

The Lanes Armoury Probably The Largest Online Militaria Website in the World, & The Imminent 23rd Anniversary of Our Best Antique & Collectables Shop in Britain Award

Presented by MILLER'S Antiques Guide, THE BBC, HOMES & ANTIQUES MAGAZINE in 2001.

Four years ago we were approached by a most historically enthusiastic young person studying at Sussex University who asked if they could research through our archive to complete a 'paper' based on us as one of the oldest remaining Sussex family business's.
It resulted in some remarkable statistics, that we thought we would share with our regulars, for those that have interest. The research only included the types of items that we regularly buy, sell and export today, with general antiques, furniture, porcelain, clocks, silver and works of art excluded, as we haven't been devoted to that side of the trade since selling our antique export shipping companies in 1992.

In over 100 years of shop keeping in Brighton, 80 of them pre-internet, apparently, we have likely sold over 200,000 books, {vintage and antique books were, and are, our largest selling single item}, 135,000 medals & badges, over 95,000 worldwide swords, knives and bayonets, over 32,000 Japanese samurai swords {for example, around 28 years ago we bought over 150 Japanese WW2 NCO swords in one vast lot, from the grandson of a WW2 British military surplus dealer, who acquired them for scrap in 1946 from the War Dept}. We have sold and exported,, apparently over 28,500 helmets of all origins and types, 27,000 pistols and muskets of all countries, at least 2450 suits of armour, European, British or Japanese, and over 1,500 cannon, both signal and full sized. Believe it or not, apparently, according to their research and calculations, these are potentially conservative figures, and the actual figure could indeed be much higher.
So, please enjoy our historical website, and remember, every thing you see is available and for sale, we try to never keep our webstore filled with past 'sold' items. Being part of the centre of the historic Brighton Lanes, anything up 2,000 to 3,000 people or students, can visit us here most days {especially on Saturdays} winter and summer, rain or shine.
We issue our unique, certificate of authenticity, with every single item purchased, and in regards to our Japanese items, both weapons and fittings etc. We detail their beauty, approximate age, style, and the feature of their fittings and mounts, and their potential position and status in Japanese samurai history. We will detail the translations, if known, of the kanji (names) on the nakago of swords, under their hilt bindings, but purely for information only, although the myth persists that all Japanese master smiths signed their swords, historically, and factually, it is likely less than 30% of samurai blades were in fact ever signed. This fact is certainly found and confirmed by us to be the case, in our family’s, over 100 year experience. For example, it is said one of the greatest master smiths who ever lived, Masamune, was, apparently, most reluctant to ever sign his swords. Although this must be relative speculation, as so very few of his swords have been recognised to still exist

Our Certificates of Authenticity are our own version of a lifetime guarantee, containing a detailed description of any item purchased from our stock. In relation to our samurai weapons, the description with be of its style, approximate age and subjective beauty, and for our Japanese samurai swords in particular, that it is an ‘original’, samurai sword, made and used by samurai, both ancient and vintage, within Japan, over the past 700 years, up to the last samurai period in the Meiji era of 1868, as well as up to 1945, if it is a military mounted shingunto sword.  read more

Code: 22565

On Hold

Superb Early to Mid Edo,Museum Quality Signed Samurai War Helmet Kabuto, by Nobutada, of 21 'Helmet Skull' or 'Bowl Plates', with a Leaping Animal, Carved Wooden and Gold Maedate & Clan Mon of the Sakai Clan, & “Fierce Face” Ressai, Face Armour

Superb Early to Mid Edo,Museum Quality Signed Samurai War Helmet Kabuto, by Nobutada, of 21 'Helmet Skull' or 'Bowl Plates', with a Leaping Animal, Carved Wooden and Gold Maedate & Clan Mon of the Sakai Clan, & “Fierce Face” Ressai, Face Armour

A truly fabulous, original, Edo samurai's antique kabuto, war helmet, worthy of a museum display, the best samurai or Japanese art collections, or as a single 'statement' piece for any home. This is, without doubt, one of the most beautiful and fine original antique samurai war helmets, kabuto, we have seen for a jolly long time. Helmets of such beauty and quality as this can be prized and valued as much as a complete original samurai armour.

The imposing beauty of the helmet is entrancing, and the menpo {the moustached, grimacing expression face armour} sets it off superbly with a most intimidating presence. When this was worn by its fierce-some armoured samurai he must have looked spectacularly impressive.

A 21 plate goshozan sujibachi kabuto, with ressei {fierce face } mempo face armour, that has just returned from having the mempo's moustache expertly conserved, and it looks as good as new.

Probably a 17th-18th century, 21 ken plate, Sujibachi, which is a multiple-plate type of Japanese helmet skull bowl with raised ridges or ribs showing where the 21 tate hagi-no-ita (helmet plates) come together creating the main skull bowl bachi, and culminating at the multi stage tehen kanamono finial, with the fukurin metal edges on each of the standing plates.
The mabisashi peak is lacquered and it has a four-tier lacquered iron hineno-jikoro neck-guard laced with gold, and the skull is surmounted by a gilt-lacquered wood leaping animal, the maedate (forecrest), possibly a rabbit or deer, the Fukigaeshi small front wings shows the mon crest symbol of a plain form katabami mon {the wood sorrel flower}.

It's one of popular kamon that is a design of the flower of oxalis corniculata.
The founder of the clan that chose this flower as their mon had wished that their descendants would flourish well. Because oxalis corniculata is renown, and fertile plant.
the mon form as used by clans such as the Sakai, including daimyo lord Sakai Tadayo

One of the great Sakai clan lords was Sakai Tadayo (酒井 忠世, July 14, 1572 – April 24, 1636). He was a Japanese daimyō of the Sengoku period, and high-ranking government advisor, holding the title of Rōjū, and later Tairō. You can see his image in the gallery wearing the very same form of war helmet kabuto.

The son of Sakai Shigetada, Tadayo was born in Nishio, Mikawa Province; his childhood name was Manchiyo. He became a trusted elder (rōjū) in Toyotomi Hideyoshi's government, alongside Tokugawa Ieyasu. Under Hideyoshi, he was made lord of Kawagoe Castle (in Musashi Province, today Saitama Prefecture) and later of Nagoya Castle in Kyūshū's Hizen Province. In 1600, in the lead-up to the decisive Sekigahara campaign, he fought against the Tokugawa at Aizu, and submitted to them at the siege of Ueda. Thus, having joined the Tokugawa prior to the battle of Sekigahara itself, Sakai was made a fudai daimyō, and counted among the Tokugawa's more trusted retainers. He served under Ieyasu for a time, and under the second shōgun, Tokugawa Hidetada, as a hatamoto.
The lacquered iron menpo (face mask) with four-lame yodarekake face armour. The kabuto is signed on the interior Nobutada saku Nobutada made this

After the introduction of firearms, smoke blanketed many battlefields, causing confusion for the troops. So they could be more readily identified, samurai began to wear helmets with elaborate ornaments at the front, back, or sides, often featuring an intricate crest (maedate).

In their quest for unique and meaningful armour, samurai turned to nature, folklore, or religion for inspiration. Whatever the source, they selected designs for their armor that would set them apart and communicate their personality and beliefs, whether whimsical, frightening, or spiritual.

An antique woodblock print in the gallery, likely of Sakai Tadayo, showing his same form of war helmet kabuto, decorated with his same Sakai clan mon of the katabami, and he also has a leaping animal, gold covered carved wood, as his maedate helmet crest as has ours. And he has the same 'fierce face' mempo face armour with the very same style of elaborate, pronounced moustache.

The Fukigaeshi on the left facing side of the helmet shows the mon crest symbol of a plain katabami mon but small surface lacquer area partly missing. There are very small age nicks to the helmet lacquer. It has its original helmet lining but most removed back to reveal the signature

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  read more

Code: 25056

7950.00 GBP

A Superb Pair of Red Lacquer Over Steel Abumi, Samurai Stirrups, Edo Period Used by Daimyo or  Seieibushi (Elite Samurai) Traditionally the Highest Rank of Elite Samurai of The Sakai  Clan,

A Superb Pair of Red Lacquer Over Steel Abumi, Samurai Stirrups, Edo Period Used by Daimyo or Seieibushi (Elite Samurai) Traditionally the Highest Rank of Elite Samurai of The Sakai Clan,

Simply stunning pieces of antique samurai armour, perfect for the collector of samurai swords, armour and artifacts, or simply as fabulous object d'art, they would be spectacular decorative pieces in any setting, albeit to compliment contemporary minimalistic or fine antique decor of any period, oriental or European.

Decorated at the front with a beautiful kamon samurai clan crest of the renown samurai it's one of popular kamon that is a design of the flower of oxalis corniculata.
The founder of the clan that chose this flower as their mon had wished that their descendants would flourish well. Because oxalis corniculata is renown, and fertile plant.
the mon form as used by clans such as the Sakai, including daimyo lord Sakai Tadayo

One of the great Sakai clan lords was Sakai Tadayo (酒井 忠世, July 14, 1572 – April 24, 1636). He was a Japanese daimyō of the Sengoku period, and high-ranking government advisor, holding the title of Rōjū, and later Tairō.

The son of Sakai Shigetada, Tadayo was born in Nishio, Mikawa Province; his childhood name was Manchiyo. He became a trusted elder (rōjū) in Toyotomi Hideyoshi's government, alongside Tokugawa Ieyasu. Under Hideyoshi, he was made lord of Kawagoe Castle (in Musashi Province, today Saitama Prefecture) and later of Nagoya Castle in Kyūshū's Hizen Province. In 1600, in the lead-up to the decisive Sekigahara campaign, he fought against the Tokugawa at Aizu, and submitted to them at the siege of Ueda. Thus, having joined the Tokugawa prior to the battle of Sekigahara itself, Sakai was made a fudai daimyō, and counted among the Tokugawa's more trusted retainers. He served under Ieyasu for a time, and under the second shōgun, Tokugawa Hidetada, as a hatamoto.
The lacquered iron menpo (face mask) with four-lame yodarekake face armour. The kabuto is signed on the interior Nobutada saku Nobutada made this

During the Japanese civil wars (1467-1568), red was revered by the samurai and worn as a symbol of strength and power in battle, in ancient times it was a lacquer called sekishitsu (a mixture of cinnabar and lacquer). For example it was the trademark colour of the armour of the Li clan, the so called Red Devil’s. In the Battle of Komaki Nagakute, fought in 1584, Ii Naomasa's clan fronted 3,000 matchlock gunmen, his front line forces up wearing what would become the clan’s trademark, bright red lacquered armour, with high horn-like helmet crests. Their fearsome fighting skills with the gun and long-spear, and their red armour had them become known as Ii’s Red Devils. He fought so well at Nagakute, that he was highly praised by Toyotomi Hideyoshi leader of the opposition! Ii Naomasa was known as one of the Four Guardians of the Tokugawa.

Also the similar clan mon of 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 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 abumi and on the tanto on the habaki, 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 these abumi with tanto of the 1390's of the same clan, but sold separately.

These abumi are in superb condition for their age, certainly showing signs of use on horseback, but these slight wear marks etc. perfectly compliment their provenance for display.  read more

Code: 23472

3750.00 GBP

Wonderful, Original Antique, Japanese Samurai Battle Armour. A Super Pair of Edo Period Samurai Saddle Stirrups, Silver Inlaid & Signed By Yoshihira from Kashu Province. Probably a Daimyo or Seieibushi Samurai of the Maeda Clan, Lords of Kaga

Wonderful, Original Antique, Japanese Samurai Battle Armour. A Super Pair of Edo Period Samurai Saddle Stirrups, Silver Inlaid & Signed By Yoshihira from Kashu Province. Probably a Daimyo or Seieibushi Samurai of the Maeda Clan, Lords of Kaga

Despite being designed, made and used, for samurai combat and warfare, they can be magnificent works of art in their own right, and created using the finest skills and materials with little or no consideration to the incredible cost involved.
The form of these gorgeous and luxurious stirrups is known traditionally as hato mune (pigeon breast). The stirrups were made in Kashu (now Kanazawa City, Ishikawa Prefecture), probably under the patronage of the Maeda clan, lords of Kaga and one of the most powerful families in Japan at the time. This Kaga zougan abumi, is a pair of armoured samurai stirrups, made in iron and of exceptional quality, and bears stunningly beautiful silver inlay of scrolling vines and leaves.

These are truly noteworthy museum grade works of art in their own right. There are a few most similar in the Metropolitan Museum in the USA for example. Absolutely signal examples, perfectly displaying the skill and technical craftsmanship of the highest order, for antique Japanese accoutrements, handmade for a samurai Daimyo clan lord or for a Seieibushi samurai, they were the elite, and the highest ranking of the samurai Made and used as part of his armour saddle fittings, but also for use as much when the samurai was in full armour or in regular daytime wear. The signature, of the maker Yoshihira from Kashu province, is inlaid in pure silver to match the d?cor. Abumi, Japanese stirrups, were used in Japan as early as the 5th century, and were a necessary component along with the Japanese saddle (kura) for the use of horses in warfare. Abumi became the type of stirrup used by the samurai class of feudal Japan Early abumi were flat-bottomed rings of metal-covered wood, similar to European stirrups. The earliest known examples were excavated from tombs. Cup-shaped stirrups (tsubo abumi) that enclosed the front half of the rider's foot eventually replaced the earlier design.

During the Nara period, the base of the stirrup which supported the rider's sole was elongated past the toe cup. This half-tongued style of stirrup (hanshita abumi) remained in use until the late Heian period (794 to 1185) when a new stirrup was developed. The fukuro abumi or musashi abumi had a base that extended the full length of the rider's foot and the right and left sides of the toe cup were removed. The open sides were designed to prevent the rider from catching a foot in the stirrup and being dragged.

The military version of this open-sided stirrup, called the shitanaga abumi, was in use by the middle Heian period. It was thinner, had a deeper toe pocket and an even longer and flatter foot shelf. It is not known why the Japanese developed this unique style of stirrup, but this stirrup stayed in use until European style-stirrups were introduced in the late 19th century. The abumi has a distinctive swan-like shape, curved up and backward at the front so as to bring the loop for the leather strap over the instep and achieve a correct balance. Most of the surviving specimens from this period are made entirely of iron, inlaid with designs of silver or other materials, and covered with lacquer. In some cases, there is an iron rod from the loop to the footplate near the heel to prevent the foot from slipping out. The footplates are occasionally perforated to let out water when crossing rivers, and these types are called suiba abumi. There are also abumi with holes in the front forming sockets for a lance or banner. Seieibushi (Elite Samurai)
Traditionally the highest rank among the samurai, these are highly skilled fully-fledged samurai. Most samurai at the level of Seieibushi take on apprentices or Aonisaibushi-samurai as their disciples.

Kodenbushi (Legendary Samurai)
A highly coveted rank, and often seen as the highest attainable position, with the sole exception of the rank of Shogun. These are samurai of tremendous capability, and are regarded as being of Shogun-level. Kodenbushi are hired to accomplish some of the most dangerous international missions. Samurai of Kodenbushi rank are extremely rare, and there are no more than four in any given country.

Daimyo (Lords)
This title translates to 'Big Name' and is given to the heads of the clan.

Shogun (Military Dictator)
The apex of the samurai, the Shogun is the most prestigious rank possible for a samurai. Shoguns are the leaders of their given district, or country, and are regarded as the most powerful samurai.Beautiful and sophisticated patterns in Kaga zougan have an outstanding, keen feel for designs and such fine expression is supported by the minute methods. The craftsman carves the pattern part on the metallic basis material with a burin (tagane in Japanese), making the bottom wider than the surface (this method is called "ari wo kiru" in Japanese) and inserts and drives in a different metal in the part.
Then, the metallic part for the pattern is pressed and spread inside and does not come off itself. This bonding technology was closely employed especially in Kaga to enable to express variously on the metal for expressive work and gained a high reputation as for the solid work.

Of all the techniques, "Abumi" (stirrup) has been a synonym for Kaga zougan and well known for the scrupulous technique making sure that the metallic parts of Kaga zougan never come off, in addition to its excellent novel designs and beauty.  read more

Code: 23043

3750.00 GBP

A Shinto Samurai Yari Pole Arm Signed Yamashiro Kami Fujiwara Norishige, Probably Yamashiro-no-Kami Fujiwara Kunishige, Early Edo Period

A Shinto Samurai Yari Pole Arm Signed Yamashiro Kami Fujiwara Norishige, Probably Yamashiro-no-Kami Fujiwara Kunishige, Early Edo Period

A beautiful Edo Period Samurai Horseman Ryo-Shinogi Yari Polearm on original haft, signed.
With original pole and iron foot mount ishizuki. Four sided double edged head. The mochi-yari, or "held spear", is a rather generic term for the shorter Japanese spear. It was especially useful to mounted Samurai. In mounted use, the spear was generally held with the right hand and the spear was pointed across the saddle to the soldiers left front corner. The warrior's saddle was often specially designed with a hinged spear rest (yari-hasami) to help steady and control the spear's motion. The mochi-yari could also easily be used on foot and is known to have been used in castle defense. The martial art of wielding the yari is called sojutsu. A yari on it's pole can range in length from one metre to upwards of six metres (3.3 to 20 feet).
The longer hafted versions were called omi no yari while shorter ones were known as mochi yari or tae yari. The longest hafted versions were carried by foot troops (ashigaru), while samurai usually carried a shorter hafted yari. Yari are believed to have been derived from Chinese spears, and while they were present in early Japan's history they did not become popular until the thirteenth century.

The original warfare of the bushi was not a thing for "commoners"; it was a ritualized combat usually between two warriors who may challenge each other via horseback archery and sword duels. However, the attempted Mongol invasions of Japan in 1274 and 1281 changed Japanese weaponry and warfare. The Mongol-employed Chinese and Korean footmen wielded long pikes, fought in tight formation, and moved in large units to stave off cavalry. Polearms (including naginata and yari) were of much greater military use than swords, due to their much greater range, their lesser weight per unit length (though overall a polearm would be fairly hefty), and their great piercing ability. Swords in a full battle situation were therefore relegated to emergency sidearm status from the Heian through the Muromachi periods.  read more

Code: 25187

1490.00 GBP

A Beautiful Koto Period Ancient Aikuchi Tanto Circa 1500, With An Equally Beautiful Blade

A Beautiful Koto Period Ancient Aikuchi Tanto Circa 1500, With An Equally Beautiful Blade

Around 500 years old.

With kodzuka utility knife decorated with deep relief takebori crabs. Unusually the saya is covered with black lacquered leather. All original Edo period mounts and fittings. Silver inlaid iron hilt mounts with patinated copper menuki of shishi liondogs. The saya has a small mount of a silver inlaid quail. The blade has now just returned from re-polishing and looks absolutely beautiful. The tanto was invented partway through the Heian period, when it was mainly used as a weapon. With the beginning of the Kamakura period, tanto were forged to be more aesthetically pleasing, and hira and uchi-sori tanto were the most popular styles for wars in the kamakura period. Near the middle of the Kamakura period, more tanto artisans were seen, increasing the abundance of the weapon, and the kanmuri-otoshi style became prevalent in the cities of Kyoto and Yamato. Because of the style introduced by the tachi in the late Kamakura period, tanto began to be forged longer and wider. The introduction of the Hachiman faith became visible in the carvings in the tanto hilts around this time. The hamon (line of temper) is similar to that of the tachi, except for the absence of choji-midare, which is nioi and utsuri. Gunomi-midare and suguha are found to have taken its place. In Nambokucho, 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. The aikuchi is a tanto koshirae where the fuchi is flush with the mouth of the saya. Overall 21 3/4 inches long, blade length 12 1/4 inches  read more

Code: 23142

3695.00 GBP