Original Edo Period Japanese Ko-Wakizashi Short Sword by KANESADA with Lacquered Scabbard & Sageo Cord

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 well used 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 tanto, some would term this an "Ko-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 of age. However, the chisel marks (tagane) are and tagane-makura (raised area around the mei) are still present, so the signature of 和 泉 守 兼 定 - IZUMI NO KAMI KANESADA is still easily visible. There are multiple KANESADA smiths listed who used this signature, so unfortunately there is no way for us to definitively attribute the blade. "Izumi no Kami" is a title, which basically means that the swordsmith was a "protector" of that particular province, and this would often be awarded to an entire lineage. Definitely some great research potential in this blade.

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 is signed on the tang by the maker.
- Vibrant visible temper line ("hamon") running full length of blade cutting edge, including on the tip (boshi).
- Hada or Grain is visible throughout the blade surface.
- Ware Kizu (blade wounds) from lamination artifacts, only possible on handmade blades.

Offered in very good condition, the blade is still quite sharp, and should definitely be handled with care. It looks to have seen very little wear since the last time it was traditionally polished, and not had uchiko powder used on it. The temper line and other aspects of the blade are easily visible. There is some bending and roughness on the edge but no major dents or chips. There are also still a few spots of oxidation along the edge, as well as some scuffing on the blade.

Blade length is approximately 14 ½ inches and overall length 21 inches. 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 shorter side, some would term this an "Ko-Wakizashi", even though it has the "Shinogi-Zukuri" shape. The sword has a traditionally handmade blade with a Futsu 普通 (regular) Nakago (tang) and an Iriyamagata (asymetrically pointed) nakago-jiri (tang tip). The sword has a simple copper Habaki (blade collar), typical of the Edo period, which has transparent tape around it, which we assume holds it together.

The HAMON (刃文) temper line is easily visible, and is a very attractive and active NOTARE (湾れ - wave like) style. Along the transition there are clear NIE crystals visible, with cloudy areas of NIOI in the body of the hamon. There is also a lot of internal activity and visible crystallization, something not usually seen on more modern blades. The tip temper line (BOSHI) is still fully visible, and is the Ō-MARU (大丸- large round turnback) style. The YOKOTE (横手 - transition to the tip) is fully visible, and the blade has a proper geometric KISSAKI (tip).

The body of the blade has clear hada (grain), which is of the ITAME (板目 - Wood Grain) pattern. We can see some blade wounds (傷 - KIZU) such as WARE (割れ- lamination lines) and very small FUKURE (脹れ - Carbon pits). These are only possible on true traditionally made blades. This is really a flovely looking blade! With the long delay for traditional togishi polishing, blades like this that are ready to display are definitely in demand.

The tsuba (cross guard) is made of well-patinated iron and is of the MARU GATA (round) shape, with brass trim around the entire edge. There embossed floral designs on either side of the cross guard, which really look great, and it definitely looks to be quite old. There is a large HITSU-ANA accessory slog on one side, most likely for the handle of a kogatana knife. There are two seppa around the crossguard, which are also inlet to match the hitsu-ana. The fuchi (collar) is made from brass, and has an embossed "village" design with gold highlights, and the kashira is matching and looks great. The stingray (Sa-Me) grip is in very good condition, and the black / red Ito (grip wrapping) is in very good condition, showing light wear with some fraying. There are two insect menuki grip ornaments 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 gloss black decorative urushi lacquer finish. It shows a lot of age to the lacquer, with some checking and light deterioration. It has a kurikata (knob), is fitted with a lovely black sageo sword cord, and it also has a slot for a kogatana knife on the other side, which is unfortunately empty.

A very nice Edo Period O-wakizashi complete with some lovely aged fittings. Available for an economical price and ready to display!

Blade Length: 14 ½"
Blade Shape: Shinogi-Zukuri
Overall length: 21“
Scabbard Length: 17 ¼"

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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