Item:
ONJR23AOCT058

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Original 18th Century Edo Period Japanese Handmade Ō-Wakizashi Short Sword with Textured Lacquer Scabbard

Regular price $1,495.00

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Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. Wakizashi (脇差 "side inserted / companion sword") is a general term for a sword with an edge between one and two shaku long (30 cm and 60 cm), predominantly made after 1600. Generally it is the short blade that accompanies a katana in the traditional samurai daisho pairing of swords, but may be worn by classes other than the samurai as a single blade, also worn edge up as the katana.

This great example dates from the Edo period (江戸時代, Edo jidai) or Tokugawa period (徳川時代, Tokugawa jidai) of Japanese history. This is the period between 1603 and 1867, when Japan was under the rule of the Tokugawa shogunate and the country's 300 regional daimyo. As the blade length is close to that of a Katana, and the blade is the "Shinogi-Zukuri" shape, some would term this an "Ō-Wakizashi".

This example has been remounted several times, as was common for Japanese blades. This has made the file marks (yasurimi) on the tang faint, and given it a lovely patina. There is also some patinated oxidation, a sign of great age. The blade also has been shortened, cut down through the process of SURIAGE. If a blade is shortened, it can only be done from the tang end, to preserve the tip of the blade (kissaki) and tip temper line (boshi). The tang on such a blade is cut straight across at the bottom (kiri), which this example is. If there ever was a signature on the blade, it was removed during this process, and is now considered 無銘 (mumei), or "anonymous".

The blade has the following period correct features:

- Folded steel blade (fold lines are evident on the spine and body of the blade)
- Holes (mekugi-ana) in the tang are punched and not drilled.
- Vibrant visible temper line (hamon) at the edge of the blade with crystals visible as well as lots of activity.
- Tang of the Katana has been shortened and shows great age.
- Blade wounds (kizu) or lamination artifacts are present on the blade. Both ware (lamination lines) and fukure (carbon pits) are visible, only possible on traditionally made blades.

Offered in very good condition, the blade is still quite sharp, so it should be handled with care. There are a few tiny edge bends / dents, but no chips or major damage. The polish is in good condition, however there definitely has been some oxidation staining, which was removed by cleaning, probably with uchiko powder. This has left some areas with a rough surface texture that obscures the aspects of the blade, while others still show them fully.

Blade length is approximately 21 ¾ inches and overall length 32 ⅛ inches. The sword has a traditionally handmade blade with a Futsu 普通 (regular) Nakago (tang) and a Kiri (cut) nakago-jiri (tang tip). This classifies the sword as a long wakizashi (Japanese: 脇差, "side inserted [sword]"), which is a shorter version of the Katana, with a blade length between 12 and 24 in. Katanas must be longer than 2 shaku (Japanese: 尺), which is approximately 12 inches in length. As the length is on the longer side, and the blade is the "Shinogi-Zukuri" shape, some would term this an "Ō-Wakizashi", and it is very possible that it was a katana when first made, before it was shortened. The sword has a traditionally handmade blade with a Futsu 普通 (regular) Nakago (tang) and a Kiri (cut) nakago-jiri (tang tip).

It has a vibrant temper line (刃文- HAMON), which is visible where the blade was not oxidized along the edge, probably about 60% overall. The shape is a very attractive SANBONSUGI 三盆杉 - Three Cedars shape, which is like GUNOME (互の目 - undulating zig zag) hamon but every third zag is higher. It shimmers in the light, and there is visible NIE crystallization at the edge of the temper line easily visible, as well as the correct NIOI cloudiness in the hamon. The blade body (JI) also has ITAME HADA (板目 - Wood styled grain), which can be seen in the light. The blade has various KIZU (blade wounds), including WARE , which are lamination seams from the forging process, only possible on laminated steel. The yokote and boshi on the kissaki are unfortunately not visible.

The tsuba (cross guard) is made of well-patinated iron and a perforated MARU GATA (Round) shaped piece, showing some designs on the solid portions. It definitely looks to be relatively old, and has patination on the entire surface. There are two brass seppa around the crossguard, and the fuchi (collar) is made from blacked brass, with some embossed designs. It has a simple brass habaki blade color typical of the Edo period. The kashira (end cap) looks to be made from black horn or composite material, and is in very good condition.  The stingray (Sa-Me) grip is in very good condition, and the dark green (grip wrapping) is in very good condition, showing moderate staining and wear, with sweat and oil stains present. There are two brass leaf or flowe rmenuki grip ornaments held in place by the wrapping. The handle is held in place by a replacement peg, and the handle is a bit loose on the tang.

The sword comes in a a well fitting wooden scabbard (saya), which has a very nice black decorative textured urushi lacquer finish, which may be dark brown. It shows a lot of age to the lacquer, with some checking and light deterioration, and we can see flecks of red in the texture. There is cracking along the seams, and also some cracks near the top of the scabbard. It has a kurikata (knob), which is where a sageo sword cord might be kept, and it also has an iron koiguchi throat fitting with some lovely brass inlaid designs.

A very nice Edo Period Ō-Wakizash complete with some lovely aged fittings and a textured scabbard. Ready to display!

Specifications:
Blade Length: 21 ¾"
Blade Shape: Shinogi-Zukuri
Overall length: 32 ⅛“
Scabbard Length: 26 ¾"

It has been over one thousand years ago that the art of making swords appeared in Japan. The swordsmiths of the time may not have known it but they were creating a legendary sword. The Samurai sword has seen combat in many battlefields. From the early days of the Samurai warrior to the fierce battles in the South Pacific during WWII.

Each hand-made Japanese blade (日本刀 - Nihonto) is unique because it is forged from multiple pieces of folded steel stock. A tremendous amount of work is dedicated to creating these pieces. They were an instrument of war as much as a beautiful artifact to adorn a room.

The traditional Japanese blade and mountings have grown to be one of the most highly desired military antiques.

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