Antique Japanese Sword Tachi Signed by Bizen Noritsuna with Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate
This blade was signed by Bizen Koku Yoshii Noritsuna (備前国吉井則綱) in the 6th year of the O-Ei era (1399: early Muromachi period). Bizen Koku is the domain name in today’s Okayama prefecture. Bizen Koku was one of the most prominent sword-forging sites during the late Kamakura-Muromachi period (Late 13th-mid 16th century). Noritsuna was especially active during Meitoku～O-Ei era (1390-1399).
Yoshii is the name of the village Noritsuna resided in and the name of the school he belonged to. This blade was made right after the Nanbokucho period ended when the imperial court was split into two sides (south and north), and so many conflicts arose.
It is said that Yoshii school was founded by Tamenori (為則) in Yoshii village during the late Kamakura period (Late 13th century). The school flourished during the late Kamakura- Muromachi period. Many famous swordsmiths who belonged to this school had 則(Nori) in their maker’s names, such as Noritsuna, Kiyonori, Kagenori, and Yoshinori.
BIZEN is located near the Chugoku Mountains, where iron sands, one of the essential materials for making Japanese swords, were abundant. Furthermore, BIZEN swordsmiths had close access to Yoshi River, where they could find water and charcoal. This geological location contributed to the swordsmiths forging high-quality refined blades.
We presume BIZEN was quite active in sword-forging from ancient times. It is said that BIZEN DEN, one of the five most prominent Japanese sword traditions, was created by groups of swordsmiths there during the late Heian era (Late 12th century ). These ancient swordsmiths in Bizen province are called Ko-Bizen (Old Bizen) swordsmiths. By inheriting the sword forging techniques from Ko-Bizen swordsmiths, the Bizen domain, including Yoshii school, flourished.
Based on which side the signature is located and the authentication paper, this blade was categorized as a Tachi sword. Tachi was mainly used by an armored Samurai with one hand on horseback from the Heian period (794-1185 A.D.) until the early Muromachi period. TACHI was suspended loosely on the left waist with its edge facing the ground so that you could draw it faster to cut down soldiers on the ground. It is stored in a Katana style Koshirae now.
It 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.
*Please keep in mind that there are a couple of visible Kitae-Kizu on this blade. If you like to see the detailed condition, please feel free to contact us.
Cutting Edge Length(Nagasa)：67.8 cm (26.7 inches)
Curvature(Sori)： 2.1 cm ( 0.82 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 Kashira part has a simple look. It seems to be coated with black lacquer. On the other hand, the Fuchi part is decorated with several motifs. You would find that a large flower and a butterfly are engraved. This flower is a Botan (牡丹, peony). Peony represents happiness, wealth, nobleness, and gorgeousness. This plant pattern has been treated as a good-omen motif; people regarded it as a rich harvest sign. When we write this flower’s name in Japanese, its second letter means mountain hermit medicine that would give us eternal youth. Based on the meaning of this letter, the peony pattern symbolizes eternal youth and longevity.
About the butterfly pattern, as this insect changes its looks from a larva to a butterfly, it symbolizes reborn. Therefore, lots of Samurai loved the butterfly pattern. Also, as butterflies make a couple on good terms, this motif represents happy marriage.
In ancient times, an idea was brought to Japan from the continent. It says a set of peonies, butterflies, and cats is an auspicious combination. Over time, the combination of only peonies and butterflies changed to be recognized as a lucky charm. This trend might have inspired this Fuchi Kashira’s design.
You see an engraved letter on the side of the Fuchi part. It is probably a Kaou (花押, stylized signature) of its maker. You would sometimes find makers’ names here.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
Seeing from the gaps in the Tsukamaki thread, this Menuki’s motif is a plant. It has the shape of a flower in which small petals are gathered in a spherical shape. Due to its flower part shapes, this plant might be a kind of small chrysanthemum or any other. Some parts are colored with gold paint, and this coloring makes an ornamental appearance of this work.
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 oval-shaped Tsuba has a decorative look. Firstly, its Mimi (耳, edge) part is framed with a thin gold metal plate. As you see, it gives a gorgeousness to the work. It also has practicality, such as preventing the wear of the edge part. Also, it prevents the wear and tear of the Kimono if the edge damages it by touching the cloth.
Secondly, we would mention the design. This Tsuba depicts a beautiful landscape. The gold coloring is effectively used in each motif: clouds, water surface, birds, plants, etcetera. Although there are rusts and fading, we hope you will enjoy them as antique textures. The Sansui Zu (山水図) is a landscape painting that depicts mountains and watersides. The Sansui theme has existed since the Asuka period (592-710) and has been produced; the Chinese landscape painting styles inspired it. However, this theme became particularly popular after it was brought to Japan from the Continent by Sougen (宋元) in the Kamakura period. Landscape-designed Tsubas are often seen in sword mountings; we assume it means this kind of design was favored among Samurai.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
Authentication Paper-1：NBTHK TOKUBETSU Hozon Certificate for the blade (No. 1007500)
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 May 30th in the 29 year of Heisei (2017). 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 122724
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.
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“My experience overall with the whole process was wonderful. I had many questions about the history and process to purchase these treasures. All my questions were answered very timely and complete. The staff is very knowledgeable and very well versed if any questions do arise.”
【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 500 Japanese swords for the past three years (～2023) 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, UK, Canada, Mexico, Germany, Switzerland, 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 EMS.
We normally ship by EMS(Express Mail Service) provided by Japan Post. We will send you a tracking number for your order as soon as we hand it to the post office. 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.
*Please keep in mind that due to the spread of COVID-19, there might be delays in shipping. If you like to know the detail about shipping, please feel free to ask us.
【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 Whetstone Powder, Peg remover, Oil Applicator). By watching the video instruction above , you can enjoy learning how to maintain your Japanese sword while appreciating it. If you have any difficulty assembling the sword or cleaning the blade, you can feel free to contact us.
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