Original Japanese Tanto Short Sword with Kogatana Knife and Decorative Lacquered Scabbard - Handmade Blade
Original Item: Only One Available. Purchased from a collector in Europe, this is a truly beautiful Japanese Tanto (短刀), which literally means short sword. These could be in any number of different shapes, depending on the requests of the person who ordered it. The blade is in the typical "Hira Zukuri" shape, which means it is a blade without a shinogi, or ridge typical of longer blades. It comes as a complete set with lacquered decorative scabbard and Kogatana, which fits into a slot in the scabbard. The Tsuba (crossguard) is inlet for the handle of the kogatana.
The blade is old, we are told ancient, due to a few tell tale characteristics that are:
- The hole in the tang (meguki-ana) is punched, and not drilled
- Folded steel blade - fold lines are evident on the body and spine of blade, as well as grain typical of folded steel.
- Visible temper line ("hamon") running full length of blade cutting edge.
- Hada or Grain is visible throughout the blade surface.
Offered in excellent condition with only spots of discoloration, the blade is still sharp and does not have any visible nicks. Blade length is approximately 9 3/4" and overall length 14 1/2". Handmade blade, with punched mounting hole tang. The tang shape is funagata (船形) or "ship shaped", commonly seen on tanto. It also has a Naagari (asymmetrical rounded) nakago-jiri (tang tip).
There are multiple lamination lines visible throughout the blade. It looks to have masame (straight) hada (grain) to the ji (body) of the blade, and there are some blade wounds, mostly ware (lamination lines). These confirm that it is a true laminated blade. Although it is faint, the blade also does have a hamon (temper line), which looks to be a slanted sawtooth shape. It is like a slanted (saka) or oblique (gyaku) choji (cloverleaf). It also may be a Nokogiri-ba (Sawtooth) shape. We have never had one like this before!
Please see the photographs for details. The polish on the blade is good, but a bit faded, probably from cleaning.
The Kogatana accessory knife is in good condition, and the blade on this example looks to be laminated steel! There is a bit of staining, but nothing major. The Kozuka (grip) is loose enough on the tang to allow viewing, but is in excellent condition and is highly decorative. The design motif on the handle shows some "Koi" fish, which are decorative carp kept as pets. The knife fits into a slot on the scabbard.
The Tsuka (handle) has a round tsuba (cross guard) with menuki (grip decoration), and a nice Kashira (End Cap), with one bamboo securing peg. Excellent stingray Sa-Me Skin (grip) with complete Ito (cloth binding) and a nice fuchi (grip collar). The Tsuba has cutouts to allow the Kogatana to fit through it.
The menuki, kashira, and fuchi are all decorated prominently with the Go-san oni kiri (五三鬼桐) 5–3 Blossomed Paulownia mon (crest). This is an ancient and well known crest in Japan, and currently is the emblem of both the Ministry of Justice and the Imperial Guard Headquarters. This was originally a private crest used by the Imperial Family, and use was granted (or taken) by powerful families during Japanese history. There are many different designs of the "Kiri Mon", but its use on this tanto indicates ownership by someone of some stature.
The Scabbard (saya) is in excellent condition, and is quite attractive, with a pattern of black and red. This was most likely accomplished by hand, and was very labor intensive. The Kurikata (scabbard knob) is in excellent condition, and the two slot for the Kogatana is very expertly carved out. It has a brass Kojiri (Scabbard tip), which also shows the flowering 5-3 Flowering Pawlonia crest.
This is one of the nicest Japanese edged weapon sets that we have had in some time, and it would be a worthy asset to any edged weapon collection, both for the quality of the knife, and the beauty of the fittings
Blade Length: 9 3/4"
Blade Style: tanto
Overall length: 14 1/2“
Scabbard Length: 11 1/8"
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 Samurai sword is unique because it is forged from 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 Samurai sword has grown to be one of the most highly desired military antiques.
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