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Original 18th Century Edo Period Japanese Handmade Wakizashi Short Sword with Lacquered Scabbard & Sageo

Regular price $2,495.00

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 "O-Wakizashi".

This example has most likely 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. As there is no maker name on the tang, this blade is considered 無名 (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)
- hole (mekugi-ana) in the tang is punched and not drilled
- blade has a temper line (hamon), running the entire edge of the blade
- 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.
- Blade shows grain (hada) in the body (ji) of the blade, produced by the layering in the steel.

Offered in excellent condition, the blade is still quite sharp and looks great. There are no nicks on the edge that we can see, just some wear from the scabbard in areas. Overall the polish on the blade is great, with just a few small specks of oxidation staining, so the aspects of the blade are easily visible. Blade length is approximately 18 inches and overall length 25 1/2 inches. The wakizashi has a traditionally handmade blade with a Futsu 普通 (regular) Nakago (tang) and a Kurijiri (rounded) nakago-jiri. It possibly is a kiri (cut) type, though the blade does not show any signs of shortening.

The blade has a proper kissaki (tip) with a clear yokote (division between body and tip) and boshi (tip temper line). The main edge Temper line (hamon) is fully visible, and is a very attractive SUGUHA (straight) shape. Along the transition there are clear NIE crystals visible, with cloudy areas of NIOI in the body of the hamon, and some nice activity. The body of the blade (JI) also shows hada (grain), which is the MASAME (straight) pattern. The tip temper line (boshi) is of visible, and is of the KOMARU (small turnback) shape. With the long delay for traditional togishi polishing, blades like this that are ready to display are definitely in demand. The sword has a two piece copper Habaki (blade collar), which is typical of the Edo period.

The tsuba (cross guard) is made of well-patinated iron and is of the iconic MARU GATA (quince) shape, completely unadorned. It has some hollowed out designs, and there is a HITSU-ANA cut out on one side. There are two seppa around the crossguard, which are also inlet to match the hitsu-ana. The fuchi (collar) and kashira (end cap) for the tsuka (handle) both look to be blacked brass, and both are marked in gold with the Mitsuba-aoi (Three Leaves of Hollyhock) (三つ葉葵) Mon of the Matsudaira clan, which became the Tokugawa clan, the last shogun dynasty of Japan, ruling from 1603 to 1867.

The stingray (Sa-Me) grip is in very good condition, and the black Ito (grip wrapping) is in very good condition, though it does show some wear and soiling from use. There are two flower menuki held in place by the wrapping, which look to be blacked copper, highlighted with gold.

The sword comes in a a well fitting wooden scabbard (saya), which has a very nice black decorative lacquer finish, which has gold or brass sparkles mixed in for a lovely effect. The scabbard is in very good condition, and definitely looks to be of great age. It has a kurikata (knob), which has a brown sageo sword cord threaded through it, which is now coiled up around the scabbard.

A very nice Edo Period O-wakizashi with a lovely blade, complete with some great fittings and ready to display!

Blade Length: 18"
Blade Shape: Shinogi-Zukuri
Overall length: 25 1/2
Scabbard Length: 20"

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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