Original Japanese Katana Samurai Sword in Early 20th Century Fittings - 19th Century Handmade Blade
Original Item: Only One Available. Purchased directly collector in the UK, this is a nice condition katana, most likely used in the early 20th century, and possibly in WW2. This is a great sword with some honest wear, and the fittings have a lot of features we haven't seen before. The blade is handmade and expertly crafted by a master sword maker due to a few tell tale characteristics that include:
- Single-hole tang
- Holes in tang are punch not drilled. Tang shows significant age.
- Folded steel blade: fold lines are evident on the spine and body of blade.
- Visible temper line (hamon) at the edge of the blade
- Clear Grain (hada) in the blade body
Offered in very good condition with some small areas of discoloration, it is still sharp and only has one small nick near the tip. Blade length is approximately 21" and overall length 31.5". The blade is hand made, with multiple fold lines clearly visible, and a clear "wave" (hamon) temper line. The wave is near the edge, indicating this blade was probably re-polished in Japan during service. The Yokote, the line indicating where the tempered tip (boshi) starts, is clearly visible. Overall polish is good, making this a very attractive blade. The tang is of the "normal" (futsu) style with an asymmetrical rounded end (haagari). This is the typical classic design for the tang (nakago), and it has wear and patina indicating that it is quite old.
The blade does have several flaws, known as kizu or "wounds" in the blade. These are from delamination of the folded steel, caused by air-bubbles during the forging process. They are somewhat common, and proof that the blade is hand-made. The lines are known as "splits" (ware), and there are also several "blisters" (fukure). These can clearly be seen on the "blade flat" (shinogi-ji) as well as on the blade body (ji) mixed in with the grain of the blade. The blade does have a few small bits of corrosion near the edge, but is otherwise rust free.
The fittings on this katana are mostly iron, with a heavy octagonal tsuba (cross guard) with brass menuki (grip decoration), and a nice Kashira (End Cap), one bamboo securing peg still present. Excellent faux stingray Sa-Me (grip) with complete Ito (cloth binding), though the binding is worn and has deteriorated in some areas. Overall the handle (tsuka) is well-fitting, with only a little bit of play. The blade collar (habaki) is copper, which is typical of 19th century and early blades. By the 20th century brass was the norm. The blade has several seppa (spacers), one of which is also copper.
The Scabbard (saya) is wood, but it has a steel hanger in the 20th century military style. The scabbard is covered in a sewn-on leather field cover, which has a snap to attach to the handle (tsuka). One of the seppa is leather, and would have had a strap that snapped onto this cover, but the strap has broken off, though traces can be seen.
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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