Katana & Wakizashi Daisho Koshirae for Samurai Sword (Koshirae-08)
Oval-shaped Tsubas made from silver. The dragon is the principal motif, and clouds are trailing around it. Dragons and clouds are engraved semi-three-dimensionally. Initially, the dragon is an imaginary creature found in ancient traditions or myths. Furthermore, it is a symbolic beast 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 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 the dragon’s hand of Katana’s Tsuba, you will find that this dragon grasps a small ball. It might be Nyoi Houju (如意宝珠, Cintāmaṇi). A theory says 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.
Scabbards are painted with an elegant black lacquer.
Handles are covered with stingray skin to reinforce the handle and not slip when its owner holds it. The black thread includes the grips with the Hishi-Maki technique, a kind of Tsukamaki method.
The surface of these Fuchi Kashiras has been decorated with the Nanako-Ji (魚子地) technique. By hitting with the Nanako-Ji Tagane (魚子地鏨, chisel used for this technique), it makes delicate fish egg-shaped protrusions and shows us the maker’s expert skill. This decorative technique is also used for this Daisho Koshirae’s Tsubas. And, same as Tsubas, the dragon motif is designed for these Fuchi Kashiras. It seems these dragons’ bodies were initially painted with golden metal.
The clouds are entwined around dragons. According to a theory, dragons and god dwell in the clouds. Also in Japan, there is a belief that worships the dragon as a water god, which 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.
These Menukis are made from Shaludou (赤銅, the mixture of copper and gold). Same as Tsubas and Fuchi Kashiras, their motifs are also dragons. Dragons twist their slender bodies and take a posture as if they were crawling on the ground. Although Menuki is a kind of small part, these dragons are carved carefully even on each scale.
Kozuka is the small knife stored in Kozuka Hitsu (groove of the sheath of the Japanese sword). Initially, Samurai used it for cutting wood or attacking enemies in an emergency. This Kozuka is put into the Wakizashi’s scabbard. Many Tsubas (handguards) have two holes to put Kozuka and Kougai (equipment used as a comb or chopsticks) 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. It is said that Kozuka was used as a craft knife rather than a weapon.
Same as other Koshirae parts, this Kozuka’s design is a combination of dragon and clouds. A golden dragon is seen through the clouds that seem like a rough sea surface. By attaching the same motif (the dragon in this case), this Daisho Koshirae has the sensation of unity for their appearances.
【NTHK Kanteisho Certificate】
NTHK, also known as Nihon Touken Hozon Kai (the Society for the Preservation of the Japanese Sword), is one of the oldest Japanese sword appraising organizations in modern-day Japan. They authenticated the sword mounting (Koshirae) on March 18th in the third year of Reiwa (2021). They appraised it as the Kanteisho class. 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.
According to the certificate, this Koshirae is categorized as Toppei Koshirae (突兵拵え). Toppei Koshirae is a type of Koshirae for actual battles in accordance with the style to incorporate the Western-style training in the last days of the Tokugawa Shogunate.
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How to make sure the condition
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