Original Japanese Tanto Short Sword with Tokugawa Marked Scabbard - Ancient Handmade Blade
Original Item: Only One Available. Purchased from a collector in Europe, this is a truly interesting Japanese short sword. The shape of the blade is more characteristic of a Tanto dagger, but the spine is curved like a Katana or Wakizashi. Also, the blade length, at 15 inches, is longer than the 1 shaku typical of the Tanto style dagger, so the classification of this sword is not entirely clear.
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
Offered in very good condition with only spots of discoloration, the blade is still sharp and almost entirely nick free. Blade length is approximately 15 and overall length 21. Handmade blade, with punched mounting hole tang. Multiple temper lines visible throughout the blade. We had thought this was possibly a cut down blade or over sharpened, but the hamon indicates this sword was purpose made in the shape and length that it is.
The current mounting does not have a tsuba (cross guard) and has a very nice handle (tsuka) with a hand-carved water and air motif. The handle shows some wear, and several layers of lacquer, which have been partially chipped off. A bamboo peg (meguki) holds the grip in place.
The Scabbard (saya) is unfortunately not in the best of condition, but it is highly interesting. It appears to originally have been wood covered with stamped brass overlay. This brass overlay is now partially missing, but what remains shows multiple instances of the "triple hollyhock" crest (mon) of the Matsudaira clan, which became the Tokugawa clan, the last shogun dynasty of Japan, ruling from 1603 to 1867. The scabbard tip (kojiri) is missing, as is the upper part, but around 70% of the brass cover remains. The top 4 inches of the scabbard are wrapped in twine, and there is also a leather scabbard cover that goes over most if it.
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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