Antique Japanese Sword Katana Unsigned Shikkake with Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate
This blade is attributed to a work of the Shikkake school during the late Kamakura-Nanbokucho period(1299-1392), according to NBTHK’s appraisal.
Shikkake school was founded by Norinaga(則長) in Yamato region(Today’s Nara prefecture) during the Bunpo era (1317-1319: Late Kamakura period). It is said that swords forged by Norinaga were known for their sharpness and made a lot of long Tachi swords. Therefore, most of the remaining work has been shortened so dramatically that the signatures were cut.
The school prospered during the late Kamakura period-Muromachi period.
There were five prestigious schools, including Shikkake school during the Kamakura-Nanbokucho period. They are called Yamato Goha(大和五派); Senjyuin(千手院), Tegai(手掻)・Taima(当麻)・Hosho(保昌) and Shikkake school. They served politically powerful monks and temples in Nara, such as Todaiji temples. They were initially forging swords for military monks who became powerful due to the government’s policy back then. Monks needed many weapons as there were many political rivalries between influential temples, and they need strong weapons like swords to protect themselves. During this time, Shikkake school or other Yamato sword schools met the requests from monks. They also forged blades for Samurai during their heyday.
Shikkake school belonged to YAMATO DEN, which has the longest history among GOKADEN, five traditions of Japanese sword forging techniques. The blades forged by swordsmiths residing in Yamato region are generally called Yamato Mono.
The name Shikkake came from the district where this school forged swords. The district’s name used to be called Shirikake, but it changed its pronunciation over time and became Shikkake. They called themselves Shikkake swordsmiths. Shikkake school forged swords near Todaiji temple, one of the most famous temples in Japan. The name Shikkake came from the ritual in festivals taking place near Todaiji temple.
Those who carried mikoshi, a portable shrine on their shoulders during the festivals, took a rest at the district, and they sat there. In Japanese, Shikkake(尻懸) means sitting down. That is how this district was named. The Shikkake swordsmiths such as Norinaga included the name in his maker’s name.
The swords forged in Yamato regions are famous for their beautiful Jigane, steel surface, and straight tempering line(Suguha). This blade has a beautiful Jigane with a Suguha tempering line, which shows an outstanding characteristic of the Yamato sword. The overall condition is excellent. Based on the shape of Nakago(Tango), it was shortened in the past. We assume its original length was much longer than it is now.
It is accompanied by beautiful sword mountings.
There is a Saya Gaki, which is one’s appraisal on the sheath on Shirasaya Case(Plain wooden case). It was written by Sodo, a famous modern Japanese sword appraiser in Kyushu island. It says Yamato Koku Kanenaga, who belonged to a different school. However, according to NBTHK’s appraisal in 2017, this blade was authenticated as a work of Shikkake school.
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)： 62.1 cm( 24.4 inches)
Curvature(Sori)： 1.51 cm( 0.59 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 is designed on this Fuchi Kashira. It has fins like a frill-necked lizard, and its look shows imaginary creature. If you focus on the Fuchi, you will find something like a ball; it might be Nyoi Houju (如意宝珠, Cintāmaṇi). In Japan, its shape is generally spherical at the bottom and curved and pointed at the top. It is 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. By combining it with the dragon motif, the mystical impression of this work is strengthened.
Initially, the dragon is an imaginary creature found in ancient traditions or myths. Furthermore, it is a symbolic beast of encouraging 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 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.
According to the signature, this Fuchi Kashira’s maker is Kunishige (國重), who lived in Hirado (平戸, north part of Nagasaki prefecture today). Hirado had traded with foreign countries since early times. During the Shogunate era, it was the only port opened to the world, albeit only in specific countries. Therefore, decorative sword mountings made in this region have an exotic mood and became famous.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
Same as Fuchi Kashira, this Menuki’s motif is also the dragon. It seems the dragon dwells in the clouds and flying in the sky. In Japan, some people worship a dragon as a water god. This faith is called Ryujin Shinkou (竜神信仰). As rice cultivation has been flourished in this country, water is always an essential resource. So, the dragon motif has been familiar to Japanese people for a long time. Clouds bring blessed rain, and dragons dwell in the clouds. The combination of these motifs might have been regarded as a promising sign.
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.
The Gosan-no Kiri (五三の桐) is designed for this Tsuba. The Kiri (桐, paulownia) pattern is composed of three standing straight inflorescences and three leaves. The number of blooming flowers at each inflorescence represents the ranks of this design. For example, the Goshichi-no Kiri (五七の桐) pattern has five-seven-five flowers for inflorescences. So that this is a more high-ranked design than Gosan-no Kiri (three-five-three flowers) pattern, this motif is known as the symbolic design of the Japanese Government.
It is also famous that one of the most popular Samurais in Japan: Toyotomi Hideyoshi used the Kiri pattern for his family crest. A theory says, Hideyoshi used Omodaka (沢瀉, arrowhead) pattern as his family crest. However, Oda Nobunaga, a well-known military commander in the Warring States period, permitted Hideyoshi to use the Kiri design. This plant pattern was once used by the imperial family and national leaders of the time. It is one of the motifs strongly related to the Samurai era.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
The Saya has surface with a constant width notched pattern like an Inro (印籠, traditional Japanese case to store small objects) in the circumferential direction.
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 May 30th in the 29th 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 : Tokyo 63012
The Board of Education in Tokyo 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.
We accept payment through Stripe (Credit card), PayPal, Apple Pay or ChromePay, all of which are secure payment methods. Also, you don’t need to make an account on Stripe for the checkout. If you prefer other payment method, please contact us. After confirming your payment, we will apply for an export permit. You may either pay in JPY, USD, AUD, EUR or GBP. The price is set in Japanese Yen. Prices in other currencies are automatically calculated based on the latest exchange rate.
We have shipped authentic Japanese swords to the USA, Canada, Mexico, UK, Germany , France and Hong Kong. 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.
*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 Powder, Peg remover, Oil Applicator). By watching the video instruction above , you can enjoy learning how to maintain your Japanese sword while appreciating it.