Antique Japanese Sword Katana Signed by Masamori with Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate
This blade was forged by Ashu Ishikawa Masamori(阿洲石川正守) in the sixth year of Kansei(1794: Late Edo period). Ashu is the name of the province in Tokushima prefecture where he lived when he forged this blade. His real name was Ishikawa Shohei(石川小平).
During the last years of the Edo period, Ashu (Awa) province was ruled by Hachisuka clan, a prestigious feudal line. The 10th head of this clan, Hachisuka Shigeyoshi, sent four skilled swordsmiths to Suishinshi Masahide, one of the most famous swordsmiths in Edo city back then. Ishikawa Masamori, Masanao(his brother), and the other two learned sword forging skills from Masahide in Edo city.
Masamori improved his craftsmanship under the supervision of Suishinshi Masahide. After finishing the apprenticeship, he also created his work in Iwakura(Aichi prefecture) and Edo(Tokyo). He trained many apprentices in his career. His work has a close resemblance to his master Suishinshi Masahide.
This blade was registered under the board of education in Tokushima prefecture, where this blade had been forged. We presume the descendant of a Samurai had preserved it for generations.
This blade is appraised as a Tokubetsu Hozon certificate issued by NBTHK. This authentication paper was only given to Japanese swords, especially worth preserving by Nihon Bijutsu Touken Hozon Kyokai(the Society for the Preservation of the Japan Art Sword).
Cutting Edge Length(Nagasa)： 69.7 cm(27.44 inches)
Curvature(Sori)：1.06 cm(0.42 inches)
The crystalline structure which forms along the cutting edge of a blade as a result of the hardening process
visible steel surface pattern created by folding and hammering during forging process
Nakago：Nakago is the tang of the Japanese sword.
Japanese swordsmiths left the black rust on the tang because it prevents red rust while the tang is in its handle. And the discoloration of the tang was created over time, and it is a great indicator for a Japanese sword specialist to estimate when the sword was forged.
Koshirae: Koshirae is the mounting of the Japanese sword. There are several parts that consist of Koshirae such as Saya(Scabbard), Tsuka( Handle), Tsuba(Handguard).
Fuchi-Kashira：A pair of matching sword fittings that cover the upper and bottom parts of its sword hilt.
Golden cobwebs are designed on this Fuchi Kashira. If you focus on the Fuchi part, you will find a spider. This Fuchi Kashira has a bumpy surface. A spider web can be seen in the concave part of the uneven surface, and it looks as if these spider webs are stretched in a cave.
Spiders nest and catch preys with their web; people considered the spider pattern as “grabbing happiness” or “attracting things.” The cobweb appears in Nihonshoki (日本書紀, Nihongi, The Chronicles of Japan), Kokin Wakashu (古今和歌集, an early anthology of Japanese poetry) and also Heike Monogatari (平家物語, The Tale of the Heike). When the cobweb goes down in the morning, it was thought, “the person you are waiting for will come.” The spider pattern has been appreciated due to its beautiful nest shape and the meaning of the design.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
A kind of insect is the motif of this Menuki. It might be a fly or bee. If it is a fly, we could imagine that this insect was chosen with the intention of a combination with a spider (as mentioned above, a spider is this Menuki’s motif). Spiders prey upon harmful insects such as flies. This Menuki’s flies are pretty large compare to the spider which is depicted on the Fuchi Kashira. As it has googly eyes, it seems it is threatening opponents. The figure of a tiny spider aiming for a fly that is larger than itself appears to be a metaphor for a battle of Samurai with clever schemes against strong enemies.
Tsuba and Habaki：Tsuba is the handguard for the Japanese Sword and Habaki is the equipment to make the blade not touch its scabbard inside. It prevents the blade from getting rusty and chipped.
A variety of insects are designed for this Tsuba. On the surface, there are a bee, a cricket, and a mantis. On the other side, you could find a butterfly and a snail. We would consider that each character might have been chosen because of its meanings.
For example, the mantis is called Kamakiri (蟷螂) in Japanese, and there is another name “Ogami-Mushi (拝み虫),” or “Inori-Mushi (祈り虫).” Both of these names mean a praying insect. Mantises hold their arms together, and their long wings cover their lower bodies. As this posture looks like a priest who prays to God, the mantis is likened to a “praying mantis.” Mantises lay well. Therefore, the mantis is considered a symbol of children.
About the butterfly pattern, there is the following theory. A larva becomes a chrysalis, and it grows up to a butterfly. As this insect changes its looks, it symbolizes reborn; therefore, Samurai loved the butterfly pattern. Also, as butterflies make a couple on good terms, this motif represents happy marriage.
It is just a guess, but we would imagine the reason why a snail is designed here. Snails move very slowly, so it takes a considerable amount of time and effort to reach their destination. However, its accumulated effort will undoubtedly be acquired as power. Now, doesn’t the snail look like a symbolic design that encourages Samurais to do their daily discipline to play an active part on the battlefield someday?
These are examples of views to interpret the meanings of motifs. We hope you would also enjoy guessing them.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK TOKUBETSU Hozon Certificate for the blade
NBTHK, also known as Nihon Bijutsu Touken Hozon Kyokai (the Society for the Preservation of the Japan Art Sword), is one of the oldest Japanese sword appraising organizations in modern-day Japan. They authenticated the blade on April 2nd in the 11th year of Heisei (1999). They appraised it as Tokubetsu Hozon Touken, the blade especially worth preserving for Japanese society. The purchaser will receive this original certificate as well. We can also translate what is written into English and make a PDF file for your record if you request.
Registration Number : Tokushima 1377
The Board of Education in Tokushima prefecture issued a registration paper for this sword . In order to obtain this paper, the sword needs to be traditionally hand forged. With this paper, its owner can legally own an authentic Japanese sword in Japan. This paper will need to be returned to the board of education when the sword being shipped abroad but you can receive a copy of it.
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【Japanese Sword& Export Process】
The Japanese swords we deal with are hand-forged edged swords made in Japan. It was made from the traditional carbon steel called TAMAHAGANE(玉鋼). Samurai Museum is familiar with the proper legal procedure for an antique/ authentic Japanese sword to be exported from Japan. We have sent more than 300 Japanese swords to amazing owners who appreciate its historical value.
Each Japanese sword is registered under the Agency for Cultural Affairs and the Board of Education in Japan.They issue a registration paper for each Japanese sword for its owner in Japan to legally possess it. The Japanese sword with its registration paper means it was traditionally hand-forged in Japan.
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We normally ship by EMS(Express Mail Service) provided by Japan Post. When we receive an order from the Canada we will use FedEx instead as EMS temporarily stops shipping from Japan to those countries due to COVID-19.
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It will normally takes 5-14 days for the item to arrive at your given address after we dispatch it. Time of delivery is estimated as accurately as possible by the carrier but does not take into account any delays beyond our control such as by inclement weather, post office holiday seasons.
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【How to make sure the condition】
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【The Art of Nihonto(Japanese Sword)】
Samurai’s history is a profound, eloquent legacy of ancient Japanese warriors in which millions of people worldwide are being fascinated. If you like to find out the art of Nihonto, please click here.
【A Guide to Japanese Sword Maintenance】
After acquiring an genuine Japanese sword, it is also important to know how to take good care of it. Here is the special video for you. Mr. Paul Martin, Japanese sword expert, shows you how to give proper maintenance to your sword. When you purchase a Japanese sword from us, you can get a Free sword maintenance kit, which appears in this video.