Title: Ichijo-style, Shatou Sakura Zu
This Kozuka is made from the Shakudou (赤銅). It has often been used for sword mountings due to its material properties. And it gives an elegant black color for the works as you see in this Kozuka. The surface of this Kozuka is decorated with the Nanako-Ji (魚子地) technique. It is made by hitting the Nanako-Ji Tagane (魚子地鏨, chisel used for this technique). As you see in this work, it makes delicate fish egg-shaped protrusions on the surface.
The theme of this Kozuka’s design is the Shatou Sakura Zu (社頭桜図). Shatou (社頭) means in front of the main building of a Shinto shrine. And Sakura (桜) is the representative flower in Japan: the cherry blossom. This Kozuka depicts the scenery at the Shatou. There is a Torii (鳥居, a gateway at the entrance to a shrine), and cherry blossoms are growing around it. Golden and silvery colorings make this Kozuka looks gorgeous. Details such as each petal are carefully engraved, and it shows its maker’s excellent skill.
This Kozuka is recognized by The Society for the Preservation of Japanese Art Swords, which is known as NBTHK. According to the certificate, this Kozuka’s maker was judged Ichijo (一乗). Speaking of Ichijo, there was a famous metalworker who did well in the late Edo period. He was born in Kyoto, and was the second son of Gotou Shichirouuemon Jujo (後藤七郎右衛門重乗). He made sword mountings even for the then emperor; we imagine his works were highly evaluated.
*As this item is an antique, please check each photo and ensure its condition.
What is Kozuka?
Kozuka is the small knife stored in Kozuka Hitsu (groove of the sheath of the Japanese sword). Many Tsubas (handguard) have two holes to put Kozuka and Kougai (equipment for appearance) next to Nakagoana (a hole of the Tsuba to put sword), so that Samurai didn’t need to draw his sword out of the scabbard when he wanted to use Kozuka or Kougai. Initially, Samurai used it for cutting wood or attacking enemies in an emergency. It is said that Kozuka was used as a craft knife rather than a weapon.
The decorative designs of Kozuka were more emphasized than its practical use in the Edo period when Samurai society enjoyed one of the most peaceful times. And there were many ornamental Kozuka and Kougai created by Japanese metalworkers.
Why is it that the sword mounting was important for Samurai?
The sword mountings of the Japanese sword have many kinds of decorations such as handguards (Tsuba), sword hilt (Menuki), pommel (Fuchi Kashira). The Japanese sword worked as a weapon and as an object to show who he was. For example, it shows their personalities and beliefs. You could say that it is like decorations for smartphones today. We recommend you zoom in on the pictures of the sword fittings. When you do so, you can see the skill of Japanese metal engraving techniques. They are mainly made of iron and copper with inlays of gold, silver, and bronze. When it comes to handguard (Tsuba), each one has a different outline and weight. These sword fittings that have lived with Japanese swords of the same age might be worth as much as the Japanese swords. They are inconspicuous parts of the Japanese sword. Nevertheless, if you are knowledgeable or particular about it, you will become a connoisseur of the Samurai.
Authentication Paper: NBTHK Tokubetsu Kichou Certificate
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 Kozuka on Oct 9th in the 36th year of Showa (1961). They appraised it as Tokubetsu Kichou Kodougu, the Kozuka 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.
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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*Please keep in mind that due to the spread of COVID-19, there might be possible delays in delivery. If you like to make sure if EMS shipping is available to your country, please contact 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 Kozuka and we are prepared to use the best of our ability to serve you.
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