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A VERY,VERY, SPECIAL DISCOUNT OFFER.. Several People Were Too Late For Our Valentines Day Offer So  By Popular Request We Are Choosing A One-Off, BELOW HALF PRICE Samurai Sword !!! A Simply Wonderful Koto Era, Shibui Battle-Sword Katana, Signed Masakuni

A VERY,VERY, SPECIAL DISCOUNT OFFER.. Several People Were Too Late For Our Valentines Day Offer So By Popular Request We Are Choosing A One-Off, BELOW HALF PRICE Samurai Sword !!! A Simply Wonderful Koto Era, Shibui Battle-Sword Katana, Signed Masakuni

An amazing five hundred years old, from the Sengoku-jidai era, with all original Edo fittings, very fine quality carved shakudo mounts and a fine o-sukashi Koto era tsuba. Save an amazing £3,500 GBP.

Congratulations to those that did snap up a Valentines Day gift

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.

The blade has a most fine and delicate irregular gunome hamon in beautiful polish. It has gilt menuki under the Edo silk wrap. The blade is signed on the nakago as usual but it it is very difficult to read due to it's great age, but very probably Masakuni. Original lacquer Edo saya. "Shibui" is a Japanese sword term translating to 'quiet'. The idea is that the sword is dark, subtle and reserved and made perfect for all forms of combat without being over decorative, in order not to overtly attract attention, especially at night. The first use of "katana" as a word to describe a long sword that was different from a tachi is found in the 12th century. These references to "uchigatana" and "tsubagatana" seem to indicate a different style of sword, possibly a less costly sword for lower ranking warriors. The evolution of the tachi into the katana seems to have started during the early Muromachi period (1337 to 1573). Starting around the year 1400, long swords signed with the "katana" signature were made. This was in response to samurai wearing their tachi in what is now called "katana style" (cutting edge up). Japanese swords are traditionally worn with the signature facing away from the wearer. When a tachi was worn in the style of a katana, with the cutting edge up, the tachi's signature would be facing the wrong way. The fact that swordsmiths started signing swords with a katana signature shows that some samurai of that time period had started wearing their swords in a different manner. However, it is thought by many, that as many as 70% of katana made were never signed at all. Blade 28 inches long tsuba to tip, Overall 39 inches long in saya. Some old rayskin losses under the worn ito. Carved buffalo horn kashira.
As a very special discounted item it does not qualify for further discounts, lay away or part ex. It is a one-off immediate purchase item only  read more

Code: 20778

3350.00 GBP

A Shinto Aikuchi Tanto, Unokubi-Zukuri With Hi Blade & Stunning Bi-Colour Shakudo Fittings Katakiri-bori Carving, on Migaki-ji  of Insects, a Cricket a Hornet and a Praying Mantis

A Shinto Aikuchi Tanto, Unokubi-Zukuri With Hi Blade & Stunning Bi-Colour Shakudo Fittings Katakiri-bori Carving, on Migaki-ji of Insects, a Cricket a Hornet and a Praying Mantis

Circa 1700. A very attractive Samurai tanto that has lain untouched for likely 140 odd years or more. All matching and most attractive Edo period bi-colour hand carved shakudo fittings katakiri-bori carving, on migaki-ji including a kozuka, engraved with a preying mantis, a wasp on the kashira and a grasshopper on the sayajiri. The menuki are of fine gold overlay of dragon, and the tsuka has imperial off-white silk binding. The blade is in a unokubi-zukuri form similar to naga nata in stunning polish. The original Edo lacquer saya is uniformly ribbed along it's length with age cracking below the kozuka pocket, and small bruises at the base. Very fine hammered silver foil covered habaki.

The tanto is commonly referred to as a knife or dagger. The blade can be single or double edged with a length between 15 and 30 cm (6-12 inches, in Japanese 1 shaku).

The tanto was designed primarily as a stabbing weapon, but the edge can be used for slashing as well. Tanto are generally forged in hira-zukuri style (without ridgeline), meaning that their sides have no ridge line and are nearly flat, unlike the shinogi-zukuri structure of a katana.

Some tanto have particularly thick cross-sections for armour-piercing duty, and are called yoroi toshi. Tanto were mostly carried by samurai, as commoners did not generally wear them.  read more

Code: 25141

3650.00 GBP

A, Fabulous Samurai Sword,  A Most Fine Shinto Wakizashi By Omni Daijo Fujiwara Tadahiro Circa 1660.

A, Fabulous Samurai Sword, A Most Fine Shinto Wakizashi By Omni Daijo Fujiwara Tadahiro Circa 1660.

This stunning samurai short sword. The fittings are beautifully matching depicting comorants in pure gold on bronze or iron, and the kozuka a figure riding a giant carp in gold over copper. The great Tadahiro II of Hizen. 2nd generation Tadahiro was born in Keicho 19 (1614) as the first son by a mistress of 1st generation Hizen-koku Tadayoshi. His initial name was Hashimoto Heisakuro, later had succeeded to his father's name of Shinzaemon. He excelled in as a superior sword maker since teenage to play a ghost-maker on behalf of his father in his later years. He had succeeded major Tadahiro 2nd generation in Kanei 9, (1632) when he was as young as 19 years old. He intended not to succeed his father's smith name Tadayoshi for the sake of preserving appearances that he was not a legitimate child of Tadayoshi. Passed away in Genroku 6, (1693), was 80 years old.
His legitimate child 3rd generation succeeded to the initial name of Tadayoshiu when he enjoyed the Mutsu daijo title in Manji 3 (1660), was 24 years old.
The subject artisan Tadahiro 2nd generation established and developed the superior high standard quality of sword making for the major Hizen Tadayoshi school and had laid the foundations for the later generations until 9th by the end of Edo period.
This beautiful wakizashi we believe as his work in his early thirties of 1644-47. Most superior forging method using top quality fine steel known as "Tamahagane" generates precisely fine Ko-Itame with sparkling Ji-nie glittering that generates superior Chikei darkish Nie lines activity. The forging scene looks like "Nashi-ji". We would appraise it as "Above Superior Made" and "Above Supreme Sharp". 26.5 inches long overall in saya,, blade tsuba to tip 18.65 inches.  read more

Code: 22873

4950.00 GBP

A Fabulous, Early Japanese Samurai’s, Large & Incredibly  Powerful Fukuro Yari, With a Sasaho ‘Bamboo Leaf’ Shaped Blade. A Close Combat Sojutsu Polearm Spear, With Rare Socket Head, Signed Kiyotsugu. Likely Echizen Koto, 1336 to 1575

A Fabulous, Early Japanese Samurai’s, Large & Incredibly Powerful Fukuro Yari, With a Sasaho ‘Bamboo Leaf’ Shaped Blade. A Close Combat Sojutsu Polearm Spear, With Rare Socket Head, Signed Kiyotsugu. Likely Echizen Koto, 1336 to 1575

A remarkable and most rare, early samurai’s close combat spear of incredible heft. One may possibly never see another of this size quite like it outside of a Japanese museum.

Formerly part of the Christopher Fox collection. Our late friend and colleague of over 30 years. The right hand man and dear friend of his sensei, the world famous, Roald Knutsen, England's foremost expert on samurai pole arm combat and their polearms, author of the seminal work, 'Japanese Spears Polearms and Their Use in Old Japan' { we have a 1st Edition copy for sale at present}.

The blade shown here is now re-polished, and now looks incredible as it originally did between 500 and 700 years ago. It shows wonderful grain, a lacquered carved horimono central scoop between the cutting edges, and at the rear side peak, near the top, you can see an amazing defensive blocking cut made by deflecting a samurai sword in close combat. It has the usual ancient small wear polishing lines.

The size, strength, weight and mass of such a yari spear-head a samurai could easily believe that with this polearm he was powerful enough to bring down a dragon. See the antique woodblock print in the gallery pictures of a samurai slaying a dragon with his very same form of fukuro yari. This is absolutely no regular size samurai fukuro-yari. It is well recognised that the form of socketed Fukuro yari is rare as the swordsmithing method of its creation is also very difficult indeed.

Muromachi period, 1336 to 1575, Its socket is signed Kiyotsugu.

A much larger and powerful and heavier leaf shaped blade than is usual, and as opposed to a long tang it has the earliest type of yari socket mount, in order to affix over the pole haft as opposed to the later style of within it. The yari has its original pole and iron foot mount, and blade saya cover.

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 (almost 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.

Honda Tadakatsu was famous as a master of one of The Three Great Spears of Japan, the Tonbokiri (蜻蛉切). One of The Three Great Spears of Japan, the Nihongō (ja:日本号) was treasured as a gift, and its ownership changed to Emperor Ogimachi, Shogun Ashikaga Yoshiaki, Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Fukushima Masanori, and so on, and has been handed down to the present day.

Print in the gallery "Samurai & Dragon" by Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861)

Print in the gallery of
Yamanaka Yukimori (1543-76), a samurai known for his great strength and loyalty, with his huge fukuro yari. He served the Amako warlord during a time in Japanese history referred to as "Sengoku," or "the country at war." By Tsukioka Yoshitoshi

Total head size, 32cm including mounting socket, edged blade size 18.5cm x 4cm at widest. Full length including haft and fitted saya blade cover 142cm  read more

Code: 22920

3450.00 GBP

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