Original Japanese Wakizashi Sword with Highly Decorative Scabbard - Ancient Handmade Blade
Original Item: Only One Available. Wakizashi (?? "companion sword) is a general term for a sword between one and two shaku long (12 to 24 inches), 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 wonderful example is a cut down katana, which was a process called suriage. As the blade gets used, the blade will often need to be shortened due to wear on the edge as well as the hilt area. Nicks in the blade had to be polished out, and these often occurred close to the hilt, so over time the sword would get shorter. This blade has been shortened and re-hilted at least 3 times, if not more. The tang has 4 holes, and it appears that possibly all of the original tang has been removed along with the mei (signature), meaning this sword probably originally had a blade of 24 inches long or more, and was considered a Katana. The lack of any markings unfortunately makes it impossible to verify the age of the blade, but we assume it to be hundreds of years old.
The blade measures 18 1/4 and is finely made with high polish, a sharp edge, and no signs of non-traditional sharpening. It has the following period correct features:
- Folded steel blade (fold lines are evident on the spine and body of the blade)
- Holes in the tang ("mekugi-ana") are punched and not machine drilled. - Visible grain (hada) in the steel of the blade. Grain is of the MOKUME (wood burl) type.
- Crisp visible temper line (hamon) of the undulating (midare) type
- Clean yokote
Fine quality crisp blade with crisp edges and a great polish. It has a clean hamon and yokote with only some small spots of discoloration. Blade 18 1/4" long with overall length of 26". Blade collar ("habaki") is laminated brass.The rounded cross guard ("tsuba") Is iron, and highly decorative, with remnants of gold highlighted leaf motifs. Two gilt brass spacers ("seppa") surround the cross guard. The handle ("tsuka") has an excellent condition stingray Sa-Me (grip) with complete Ito (cloth binding), which shows a bit of wear. There are two wonderful high decorative brass ornaments ("menuki") under the wrappings. The end cap ("kashira") is also iron, with the same gold highlighted leaf motif.
The well-fitting scabbard ('saya") for this wakizashi is the most decorative we have ever seen. It is wood, and it appears that a series of highly decorative laquered and/or inlaid sleeves were slid over the scabbard shell. These are of various designs, and overall make this into a very attractive artistic scabbard. The fastening knob ("kurikata") is plain black and squared at the ends. The scabbard has a cutout for a Gokatana knife and Kogai hair pin, both of which are unfortunately absent. There is a cord/tassel through the knob, but it appears to be a more recent addition.
Offered in near excellent condition this wakizashi is still sharp and nick free, and would make an excellent addition to any Japanese sword collection.
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 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 Samurai sword has grown to be one of the most highly desired military antiques.
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