Antique Japanese Sword Katana Signed by Sukehira with NBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate
This blade was signed by Sukehira (祐平) in Awaji island in the 12th year of the Tenpo era (1841: Late Edo Period), according to NBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon appraisal. He was initially a swordsmith from Bizen Osafune school in Okayama prefecture.
Sukehira’s ancestors dated back to Sukesada school, one of the most famous schools, and flourished for generations among Osafune schools(The head branch). There were various styles forged by the generations of Sukesada during the Muromachi-Edo period. There were about 60 swordsmiths who used Sukesada as his maker’s name in Samurai history. In that sense, the swordsmith’s name “Sukesada” worked as a brand that attracted many Samurai.
The swordsmiths in Bizen produced many swords during the Muromachi period as it was in the middle of the Sengoku period(Warring state period). The demand for blades increased among strong feudal lords. The high level of craftsmanship had been passed until the end of the Edo period, and Sukehira is a good example.
During the Edo period, Awaji island was ruled by Hachisuka(蜂須賀) clan, who was also the head of the Awa domain (Tokushima prefecture). Hachisuka clan flourished by serving Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi before the Edo period and also served the Tokugawa clan during the Edo period. Since Sukehira lived in Awaji island and was highly skilled, we assume that he might have worked for the Hachisuka clan, forging swords.
This blade was registered under the board of education in Hyogo prefecture, where this blade had been forged. We presume the descendant of a Samurai had preserved it for generations since the end of the Edo period.
It is accompanied by a beautiful black scabbard with a gold family crest design. And other sword mountings are Handachi(半太刀) style, which adds a gorgeous appearance to this blade.
This blade is appraised as a Tokubetsu Hozon Token(特別保存刀剣) issued by NBTHK(Nihon Bijutsu Touken Hozon Kyokai:日本美術刀剣保存協会). This authentication paper was only given to authentic Japanese swords, especially well preserved and high quality with artistic value.
Cutting Edge Length(Nagasa)：81.8 cm(32.2 inches)
Curvature(Sori)： 3.6 cm( 1.42 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.
The dragon swimming in the sea is depicted for this Fuchi Kashira. Its mustache and tiny dots are colored with gold. These dots depict water drops. In Japan, there is a faith that worships a dragon as a water god. Therefore, it is understandable that the combination of dragon and water (wave in this case) is designed for sword mountings. We imagine that this dynamic subject was favored among Samurais. Also, the dragon motif has often been combined with the cloud pattern. Since rice cultivation flourished in this country, water is always an essential resource. And clouds would bring blessed rain. A theory says dragons dwell in clouds; we think that is why this combination is also often seen.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
Same as the Fuchi Kashira, the dragon is designed for this Menuki. The gold was applied to it, and it remains relatively in good condition. Dragons twist their bodies and show their distinguished figures. Initially, the dragon was an imaginary creature found in ancient traditions or myths. Furthermore, it is regarded as a symbol of auspicious signs. Its body is likened to nine animals: antlers are deer, the head is a camel, eyes are demons, the neck is a snake, belly is the Mizuchi (蛟, mythical animal in Japan which looks like a snake and have a horn and four legs), scales are fish, claws are falcons, palms are tigers, and ears are cows. It was thought that the dragon would reign at the top of all animals because of its odd-looking appearance.
If you focus on one of these dragons’ hands, you will find that it brings a ball-shaped object. It is the Nyoi Houju (如意宝珠, Cintāmaṇi); a fantasy jewel that fulfills any desire, gives out treasure, clothes, food, and drink. Moreover, it heals illness and suffering, removes evils, purifies muddy water, and prevents disasters. It is said this magical item is taken from the brain of the king of the dragon.
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.
This antique Tsuba has Kozuka and Kougai holes. The entire appearance of this Tsuba has a well-balanced symmetry design. Four holes that look similar to the heart mark are engraved, and the golden paint (probably gold or brass) was applied to these holes’ edges. This decorative coloring makes an ornamental look for the work. It seems a kind of plant is designed for this Tsuba. Including Fuchi Kashira and Menuki, we hope you will enjoy each sword mounting’s design.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
We think this golden mark is a family mark. This design is called the Sankai-Bishi (三階菱), which is categorized as a type of the Hishi (菱) pattern. It is known that the Ogasawara family used this mark. This family was a clan of the Takeda family. The Takeda family used the Takeda Bishi (武田菱) pattern; it shows the relationship between these families. Branch families of the Takeda family used the Hishi pattern for their family crests; however, they had considered the head of the Takeda family. So, they changed the Hishi pattern. This Sankai-Bishi pattern might have been one of these examples. We could imagine that the former owner of this sword and the Takeda family were related by blood.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK TOKUBETSU Hozon Certificate for the blade (No. 151773)
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 Feb 7th in the 19th year of Heisei (2007). 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 : Hyogo 5737
The Board of Education in Hyogo prefecture issued a registration paper for this sword . It is called Jyu Token Rui Torokusho(銃刀剣類登録証). Bunkacho(The Agency for Cultural Affairs) acknowledges a Japanese sword with this paper as a work of art.
The sword needs to be traditionally hand-forged and made of Tamahagane carbon steel to be registered in the system. With this paper, its owner in Japan can legally own an authentic Japanese sword. Based on this registration number, we will apply for its export permit.
This paper will need to be returned to the board of education when the sword is being shipped abroad, but you can receive a copy of it. An English translation of this registration paper is available on request.
Samurai Museum is located in Tokyo, Japan, exhibiting antique artifacts related to the Samurai history. Samurai Museum Shop is the place for those who are interested in Japanese culture and craftsmanship. We deal with antique Samurai swords/armor, traditional crafts made in Japan and so on.
【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 350 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.
To legally export the sword from Japan to other countries, we will have to apply for its permit to the Agency for Cultural Affairs(Bunkacho) and return the original registration paper to the Board of Education. It normally takes around 2-4 weeks to receive this permit after submitting required documents. And we would like you to expect at least 1-1.5 months for your order to arrive at your given address after you ordered. For more detailed info, please click here.
It is allowed for residents in Japan to own authentic Japanese swords without a special license as long as they come with registration papers. Please feel free to contact us if you are a resident of Japan, whether temporarily or permanently. We will also assist you when you leave Japan and need to obtain the export permit.
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* If the amount is above 1 million JPY, Stripe or wire transfer will be the only options for payment.
We have shipped authentic Japanese swords to the USA, Canada, Mexico, UK, Germany , France Hong Kong and Australia. If you don’t live in these countries and like to order, please contact us first before making a purchase. We offer Free International Shipping as long as we can send antique Japanese swords by either EMS or FedEx(Canada).
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.
We will send you a tracking number for your order as soon as we hand it to the post office/FedEx. We will put 100 % insurance on the shipping document without any extra charge. Based on the total amount, there might be a duty tax or other fee for you to pay, depending on the countries. We use package cushioning to protect the item and put it in a PVC pipe, which is one of the most secure packages because of its durability.
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.
* If you live in Australia and like to purchase an authentic Japanese sword, please click here to know the detail.
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【How to make sure the condition】
Please keep in mind that what you are going to purchase is an antique item. We uploaded high resolution photos for you to check its condition thoroughly. If you like to see more photos with different angles, please feel free to contact us. We will be happy to send them to you so that you can make informed decision. It is essential for us to know that you are happy with your choice of a sword. and we are prepared to use the best of our ability to serve you.
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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. By mastering how to clean the Japanese sword, its aesthetic beauty will last forever.
When you purchase a Japanese sword from us, you can get a Free Japanese sword maintenance kit. It comes with four tools(Choji Oil, Uchiko Powder, Peg remover, Oil Applicator). By watching the video instruction above , you can enjoy learning how to maintain your Japanese sword while appreciating it.
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