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A Good Antique Edo Period 1700's Wakazashi Maru Gata Heianjo Tsuba

A Good Antique Edo Period 1700's Wakazashi Maru Gata Heianjo Tsuba

Antique Japanese Edo period Tsuba for Wakizashi sword, or large o-tanto, onlaid with copper and sinchu-gold alloy aoi leaves, with a chiselled cut away rock and water formation.
Fine engraved with gold and high quality brass inlay Heianjo-style was established in Yamashiro (Kyoto Pref. today), it was inspired by the Ounin-style. Heianjo Tsuba is elaborate and decorative. It is mainly iron Tsuba circle shape with brass inlay. Its design was simply family crest or arabesque patterns in the beginning. However, after that, they made different shapes of Tsuba and started using gold, silver, or copper for inlaying.

The tsuba, is a fundamental element in the mounting of the Japanese sword, it is the guard, the most important element of the fittings, and has two main functions: the first to protect the hand against the slashes and lunges of an opposing sword; the second is to prevent that the hand ends up directly on the cutting edge of the blade. Over the course of more than ten centuries of history, the tsuba has undergone a number of important changes, as regards the materials used for its manufacture and its appearance.

During the centuries of wars that characterised Japan until the advent of the Tokugawa Shogunate during the first half of the 17th century, the tsuba was essentially made of iron or steel. From the mid-17th century onwards the tsuba became a real work of art, with the use of soft metals used in various ways, with engravings, incrustations; well made tsuba were the pride of hundreds of craftsmen’s schools whose value sometimes exceeded that of the same blades of the mounting where tsuba was part of.
67mm across  read more

Code: 24167

360.00 GBP

An Edo Period Armourer's Chrysanthemum Katana Tsuba

An Edo Period Armourer's Chrysanthemum Katana Tsuba

Iron plate tsuba in circular shape with omote and ura surfaces showing multiple hot stamp kiku stamp designs.

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: 20740

295.00 GBP

A Fabulous and Stunning, Original, Edo Period Mounted Long Tanto with Koto era Sengoku Period, Circa 1500's Blade & a Remarkable Secret Compartment for a Secret Letter or Gold

A Fabulous and Stunning, Original, Edo Period Mounted Long Tanto with Koto era Sengoku Period, Circa 1500's Blade & a Remarkable Secret Compartment for a Secret Letter or Gold

A wonderful Japanese art sword in the truest sense of the word, with a Koto blade circa 1500. All the wonderful koshirae are based on sea creatures, such as numerous gold Japanese spiney lobster on the sayajiri and menuki, with a takebori octopus Akkorokamui kurigata, and the shakudo fushi kashira are katakiribori engraved with a koi carp, an Akkorokamui octopus and a turbot, an eel on the shakudo tsuba, and a silver fish at the base of the kozuka pocket, and the kozuka has a stunning gold spiny lobster to match the mountings. The blade is fixed into place, as the hidden secret compartment, hidden under the rare removable kashira, would be where the tang would normally be, thus the hilt would normally be solid and the secret compartment, in the hollow tsuka [hilt], would not be remotely suspected. Original Edo period black stripe and counter stripe lacquer saya
Akkorokamui is a gigantic octopus-like monster from Ainu folklore, which supposedly lurks in Funka Bay in Hokkaidō and has been allegedly sighted in several locations including Taiwan and Korea since the 19th century. John Batchelor most notably records an account of this monster in his book The Ainu and Their Folklore when noting, “...three men, it was said, were out trying to catch a sword-fish, when all at once a great sea-monster, with large staring eyes, appeared in front of them and proceeded to attack the boat. The monster was round in shape, and emitted a dark fluid which has a very powerful and noxious odour.” It is said that its enormous body can reach sizes of up to 120 meters in length. The coloration of the Akkorokamui is said to be a striking red, often described as glowing and sometimes likened to the color of the reflection of the setting sun upon the water. Due to its coloration and immense size, it is visible from great distances. It is possibly a giant squid or a giant octopus.

Ainu reverence of this monster has permeated into Shintoism, which has incorporated Akkorokamui as a minor kami. Self purification practices for Akkorokamui are often strictly followed. While Akkorokamui is often presented as a benevolent kami with powers to heal and bestow knowledge, it is fickle and has the propensity to do harm. Akkorokamui’s nature as an octopus means that it is persistent and it is near impossible to escape its grasp without permission. Like other Shinto purification rituals, prior to entering the shrine of Akkorokamui, one’s hands must be cleaned with water with the exception that one’s feet must also be cleaned as well. Akkorokamui enjoys the sea and offerings which reflect this: fish, crab, mollusks, and the like are particular favorites of Akkorokamui, which give back that which it gave. Homage to Akkorokamui is often for ailments of the limbs or skin, but mental purification and spiritual release is particularly important.

Shrines in dedication to Akkorokamui and associated octopus deity are found throughout Japan. In particular, well known shrines include one in Kyoto and the island of Hokkaido that pay homage to Nade yakushi. These shrines, while named to different entities, come from and share various characteristics with Akkorokamui, and as such practices involving healing, renewal, and purification are similar. Koi fish are associated with positive imagery. Because of the dragon legend, they are known as symbols of strength and perseverance, as seen in their determinative struggle upstream. And because of the lone koi that made it to the top of the waterfall, they are also known as symbols of a destiny fulfilled. Resulting from its bravery in swimming upstream, the koi is oftentimes associated with Samurai Warriors in Japan. 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 Ōnin 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. Small natural wear marks to the lacquer. Blade 14 inches long tsuba to tip, 19.5 inches long overall. More details to follow.....  read more

Code: 23929

7900.00 GBP

A Superb Samurai, Shinto Period, 350 Year Old, Ryo-Shinogi Yari Polearm Spear, Signed Bushu ju Shimosaka Fujiwara Kazunori, In Incredible Polish, Showing Fine Grain in the Hada and Wide Fine Suguha Hamon, With 12 'Notch' Tang

A Superb Samurai, Shinto Period, 350 Year Old, Ryo-Shinogi Yari Polearm Spear, Signed Bushu ju Shimosaka Fujiwara Kazunori, In Incredible Polish, Showing Fine Grain in the Hada and Wide Fine Suguha Hamon, With 12 'Notch' Tang

An Edo Period Samurai Horseman Ryo-Shinogi Yari Polearm on original haft, circa 1680. Fantastic polish showing amazing grain and deep hamon.

The blade is signed Bushu ju Shimosaka Fujiwara Kazunori, and bears 12 hand cut notches to the tang, which often represented the number of vanquished samurai by the yari weilding samurai, likely in a single battle

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.

70.5 inches long overall,5.5 inches long blade, blade with tang overall 15 inches long  read more

Code: 25131

2120.00 GBP

A Very Good, Antique, Edo Period 1700's, Wakazashi Maru Gata Heianjo Tsuba

A Very Good, Antique, Edo Period 1700's, Wakazashi Maru Gata Heianjo Tsuba

Antique Japanese Edo period tsuba for wakizashi sword or large o-tanto
Fine engraved with gold and high quality brass inlay Heianjo-style that was established in Yamashiro (Kyoto Pref. today). It was inspired by the Ounin-style.
Heianjo tsuba are elaborate and most decorative. It is mainly iron tsuba, of circular shape with brass inlay. Its designs were simply family crests, or arabesque patterns in the beginning. However, as time past they made different shapes of tsuba and started using gold, silver, or copper for inlaying.

The tsuba, is a fundamental element in the mounting of the Japanese sword, it is the guard, the most important element of the fittings, and has two main functions: the first to protect the hand against the slashes and lunges of an opposing sword; the second is to prevent that the hand ends up directly on the cutting edge of the blade. Over the course of more than ten centuries of history, the tsuba has undergone a number of important changes, as regards the materials used for its manufacture and its appearance.

During the centuries of wars that characterised Japan until the advent of the Tokugawa Shogunate during the first half of the 17th century, the tsuba was essentially made of iron or steel. From the mid-17th century onwards the tsuba became a real work of art, with the use of soft metals used in various ways, with engravings, incrustations; well made tsuba were the pride of hundreds of craftsmen’s schools whose value sometimes exceeded that of the same blades of the mounting where tsuba was part of.
66mm across.  read more

Code: 24166

375.00 GBP

Huge & Impressively Bladed 400 Year Old Samurai Tanto Signed Omi Kami Minamoto Kagehiro. Shinto Period From The Province of Settsu

Huge & Impressively Bladed 400 Year Old Samurai Tanto Signed Omi Kami Minamoto Kagehiro. Shinto Period From The Province of Settsu

A beautiful and large samurai dagger, with fine 'status' blade. Squared sukashi tsuba in iron, pure gold inlaid shakudo fushi, decorated with a constellation of stars and celestial bodies, that are inlaid with gold over a nanako ground, with a carved and polished buffalo horn kashira.
Pure gold and shakudo menuki of takabori crabs. Fine shakudo kozuka decorated in relief with mount Fuji, two piece habaki. Wide blade without ridge line flat sided with suguha hamon. A most impressive and sizeable tanto.
It has its original Edo period lacquered saya scabbard in rich dark brown urushi lacquer, with a kozuka {utility knife} of shakudo, decorated with a fishermen within a small boat, with Mount Fuiji in the distance. The kozuka blade is very nicely signed.

Shakudo is a billon of gold and copper (typically 4-10% gold, 96-90% copper) which can be treated to form an indigo/black patina resembling lacquer. Unpatinated shakudo Visually resembles bronze; the dark color is induced by applying and heating rokusho, a special patination formula.

Shakudo Was historically used in Japan to construct or decorate katana fittings such as tsuba, menuki, and kozuka; as well as other small ornaments. When it was introduced to the West in the mid-19th century, it was thought to be previously unknown outside Asia, but recent studies have suggested close similarities to certain decorative alloys used in ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. The lacquer surface of the saya has some age bruising etc. due to its vintage.  read more

Code: 22206

3995.00 GBP

A Simply Beautiful, Edo Era Chrysanthemum Silver Kiku Mon Crested, Samurai Abumi Stirrup. Used By Samurai on Horseback, For Standing Archery in Combat, And As A Close Combat Kick Motion Weapon Against Enemy Foot Samurai

A Simply Beautiful, Edo Era Chrysanthemum Silver Kiku Mon Crested, Samurai Abumi Stirrup. Used By Samurai on Horseback, For Standing Archery in Combat, And As A Close Combat Kick Motion Weapon Against Enemy Foot Samurai

This Japanese stirrup, 17th to 18th century, is made in the traditional 'dove's breast' (hato mune) shape with an open platform lined with abilone shell slightly curved forward so that the foot fits in without sliding backwards. In the front extremity the stirrup has a rectangular buckle with several horizontal slots which also serve as a handle.
The whole surface is fine decorated in engraved and inlaid silver with the Kiku Mon {chrysanthemum} the imperial flower of Japan pattern has 16 petals, however this is the most rare 18 petal type which means that they likely belonged to a Samurai of a branch of the Imperial family. During the Meiji period, no one was permitted to use the Imperial Seal except the Emperor of Japan, who used a 16-petalled chrysanthemum with sixteen tips of another row of petals showing behind the first row. Therefore, each member of the Imperial family used a slightly modified version of the seal. Shinto shrines either displayed the imperial seal or incorporated elements of the seal into their own tag.

Earlier in Japanese history, when Emperor Go-Daigo, who tried to break the power of the shogunate in 1333, was exiled, he adopted the seventeen-petalled chrysanthemum in order to differentiate himself from the Northern Court's Emperor Kōgon, who kept the imperial 16-petalled mon.

It is to be noted that these stirrups, due to their weight, were also used as weapons against the infantry adversaries. 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 lords of Japan.

Shogun (Military Dictator)
The apex of the samurai, the Shogun was the most prestigious rank possible for a samurai. Shoguns were the military leaders of the country, { the Emperors from around 1600 were purely ceremonial leaders } and thus the Shogun were regarded as the most powerful men of all Japan, and thus the samurai.  read more

Code: 23125

1950.00 GBP

A Simply Magnificent & Rare Edo Period Cloisonne Enamel Mounted Itomaki Tachi with a Shinto Blade Circa 1600

A Simply Magnificent & Rare Edo Period Cloisonne Enamel Mounted Itomaki Tachi with a Shinto Blade Circa 1600

A true and iconic example of a stunning samurai art sword. Worthy of the finest museum class collections. Edo period cloisonné enamel full length tachi, and the decoration of its design on the saya, is the like of which we have not seen before. This fabulous sword’s cloisonné work and design is incredibly rare, in that the saya decor is simulating traditional tachi Itomaki silk binding, with decorated lacing on the scabbard for the top third, in the same manner as actual Ito maki tachi silk binding, and quite incredible. This form of tachi, the itomaki tachi, came into being in the Nambokochu era around 1350 when armour was used far more frequently and lacing on the saya prevented chafing of the top section of the saya through rubbing against the samurai’s armour.

This sword is a magnificent collision of beauty and function. It does not fail to attract admiration and awe from all that see it, and even those that have little or no interest at all in original fine antique weaponry, would agree that this is simply a remarkable example of the finest and intricate craftsmanship to be seen in the world today. Enamel work comparable to such as a piece of sublime object d’art by the genius Carl Faberge himself,. This fine piece was probably made in Kyoto.

Part of the design includes, imperial chrysanthemum mon, gilt mounts and two phoenix or Suzaku.
The blade is grey but shows a superb gunome hamon but we will clean it to reveal its natural beauty.
Suzaku is one of the four, Japanese, 'Great Celestial Beasts'. Suzaku translates to "Vermillion Chinese Phoenix". Cloisonne enamel mounted ancient bladed swords were often fabulous cultural presentation pieces, offered to great samurai and nobles as a symbol of their status and importance within the Japanese samurai nobility class hierarchy. This sword also bears numerous geometric roundels. The fabulous Japanese cloisonne koshirae fittings and mounts may well have been designed by one of the Imperial Craftsman to the court of the Emperor Meiji. Overall decorated with incredible quality and detailed, magnificence, including a pair of the mythological phoenix.

Although Chinese cloisonné enamels had long been highly valued it was not until the late sixteenth century that cloisonné enamels became more widely used in Japan.There had long been a demand among the samurai for fine decoration of sword fittings and cloisonné enamels were used on tsuba (sword guards). The finest of these were made by the Hirata School, founded by Hirata Dōnin (died 1646) which was active well into the nineteenth century. A former samurai and one of the greatest artisans of the art was the cloisonné artist Namikawa Yasuyuki. Yasuyuki began his career around 1868 and worked with the Kyoto Cloisonné Company from 1871 to 1874.

He established his own studio and exhibited his work at national and international expositions. The most significant result of the collaboration of Wagener and Yasuyuki was the creation of the semi-transparent mirror black enamel that became the hallmark of most of Yasuyuki’s subsequent work.

Yasuyuki’s cloisonné enamels are characterised by the skilful use of intricate wirework and superb attention to detail and the designs on his earlier pieces are relatively traditional, consisting mainly of stylised botanical and formal geometric motifs. Much of his later work tends to be more pictorial with scenes from nature and views of landmarks in and around Kyoto.

Yasuyuki continued to improve his technical and artistic skills and in 1896 he was appointed Teishitsu Gigei’ in (Imperial Craftsman) to the court of the Emperor Meiji.The four celestial beasts, Seiryu the dragon , Suzaku pheonix, Byakko white tiger, and Genbu tortoise were probably introduced to Japan from China sometime in the 7th century AD, for their images are found on the tomb walls at Takamatsuzuka in Nara, which was built sometime in the Asuka period (600 - 710 AD). They are also found on the base of the Yakushi Triad at Yakushi-ji Temple , also in Nara. In Japan, the term “Suzaku” is translated as “Red Bird” or “Vermillion Chinese Phoenix.” In both Japan and China, the symbolism of the red bird seems nearly identical to or merged with that of the mythological Phoenix. One must consider the Suzaku and the Phoenix to be the same magical creature, although one cannot be certain if this is entirely true. Scholar Derek Walters says the Phoenix was supplanted or replaced by the Red Bird, for the Red Bird more accurately reflected the astronomical iconography associated with the southern lunar mansions.

It corresponds to summer, red, fire, and knowledge; it makes small seeds grow into giant trees. Often paired with the dragon, for the two represent both conflict and wedded bliss; dragon (emperor) and phoenix (empress). Portrayed with radiant feathers, and an enchanting song; and it only appears in times of good fortune. Within the ancient Imperial Palace in Japan, there was a gate known as Suzakumon (Red Bird Gate) Pairs of vases from these Meiji period Japanese cloisonne enamel workshops can now command prices into six figures. Overall the sword is in amazing condition for age. 38 inches long overall  read more

Code: 24311

21995.00 GBP

A Most Attractive Koto Wakizashi Attributed to Kanemune of Etchu, 1532 WIth Japanese Attribution Papers

A Most Attractive Koto Wakizashi Attributed to Kanemune of Etchu, 1532 WIth Japanese Attribution Papers

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. It is important to bear in mind, that due to the revered status that Japanese swords achieve for most of their working lives in Japan, that the condition they survive in can be simply remarkable. One can see just how remarkable it can be, by comparing the condition of this fine sword that was made around the same time as the early Tudor period of King Henry the VIIIth to any equivalent aged, surviving, early Tudor period sword, from any country outside of Japan, and that comparison will show just how fine any Japanese sword’s state of preservation, from the same era, truly can be.  read more

Code: 23596

4950.00 GBP

A Simply Stunning Museum Quality Shinto Period Samurai Wakizashi of the Kobayakawa Clan, In Superb Han-dachi Fittings

A Simply Stunning Museum Quality Shinto Period Samurai Wakizashi of the Kobayakawa Clan, In Superb Han-dachi Fittings

Fully bound in fine Han-dachi form, with its tsuka with iron Higo fuchi and kabuto-gane decorated in pure gold with scrolls and tendrils, shakudo and gilt Tomoe mon, of the Kobayakawa clan, and the mon of Kobayakawa Takakage, iron sukashi tsuba chiselled and pierced with gilded and silvered dragons, contained in its fabulous textured red lacquer saya with Higo iron and pure gold inlaid mounts matching ensuite with the tsuka. Kobayakawa Takakage (小早川 隆景, 1533 – July 26, 1597) was a samurai and daimyō (feudal lord) during the Sengoku period and Azuchi–Momoyama period. He was the third son of Mōri Motonari who was adopted by the Kobayakawa clan and became its 14th clan head. He merged the two branches of the Kobayakawa, the Takehara-Kobayakawa clan (竹原小早川氏) and Numata-Kobayakawa clan (沼田小早川氏). He became an active commander of the Mōri army and he with his brother Kikkawa Motoharu became known as the “Mōri Ryōkawa", or “Mōri's Two Rivers" (毛利両川). As head of the Kobayakawa clan, he expanded the clan's territory in the Chūgoku region (western Honshū), and fought for the Mōri clan in all their campaigns

At first he opposed Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi but later swore loyalty and became a retainer of Hideyoshi who awarded him domains in Iyo Province on Shikoku and Chikuzen Province on Kyūshū, totalling 350,000 koku. Hideyoshi gave him the title Chûnagon also appointed him to the Council of Five Elders but died before Hideyoshi himself. Han-dachi originally appeared during the Muromachi period when there was a transition taking place from Tachi to katana. The sword was being worn more and more edge up when on foot, but edge down on horseback as it had always been. The handachi is a response to the need to be worn in either style. The samurai were roughly the equivalent of feudal knights. Employed by the shogun or daimyo, they were members of hereditary warrior class that followed a strict "code" that defined their clothes, armour and behaviour on the battlefield. But unlike most medieval knights, samurai warriors could read and they were well versed in Japanese art, literature and poetry.
Samurai endured for almost 700 years, from 1185 to 1867. Samurai families were considered the elite. They made up only about six percent of the population and included daimyo and the loyal soldiers who fought under them. Samurai means one who serves." Approx 26 inches long overall in saya, blade 17 inches  read more

Code: 23560

8950.00 GBP