Picture 9 of 31 from Oriental Arms and Armour

WAKIZASHI, Short Sword
17th century

Japan (Edo Period: 1603-1867)

Steel, gold, copper and gold alloy, ray skin, silk, lacquered wood, polished horn.

Full Length: 45 cm

The Wakizashi used on close quarters combat and also to commit ritual suicide (hara-kiri or seppuku), was the shortest sword used by the samurai warrior class.

Its one edged blade measures usually between 30 and 60 cm with a long and complex manufacturing process.

In this piece the blade is not signed, Mumei.

The blade’s curve is of the type u-no-kubi zukuri with a straight line (suguha) made by tempering (hamon) in the small and distinct crystalline effect particles (niey-deki), with sporadic thin lines which run across the tempering line (hamon), in the direction of the cutting edge (yo) in the surface pattern similar to a cut pear’s pulp (nashiji), combining it with a straight surface pattern (masame hadda). The kind of temper line at the swords tip ko-maru boshi is faded in the tempered line, muneyaki, which can be seen in the non-edged side mune of the blade. There are slight signs of rust outside the polished area. The blade’s fitting (nakago) has a hole (megukii ana) and a pattern made up of diagonal threads (gyaku or sujikai), a golden collar protective of the blade (habaki) with nekogaki.

The guard that protects the hand (tsuba) is made of an alloy of copper and gold (sakudo) with an admirable surface work imitating fish eggs (nanako) and is decorated with ivy, clematis and flowers. There is a set of metallic rings in the area where the blade connects to it (fuchi) and in the superior area (kashira) of the hilt (tsuka); the fucci ferrule with a ring and curvature; at the top of the kashira there is the legendary hero Shoki with a sword, depicted with notable artistic quality.

There is black silk around the ray’s skin with two menuki ornaments, two saddled horses, made of gold and in the shakudo copper and gold alloy.

The scabbard (saya) has a recent restoration in gold, made in Japan, with a surface with a textured pattern resembling the pulp of a cut pear (nashi ji), with fitting accessories in polished horn. The utility knife kotsuka shirimono is rough nakago tachi.

Bibl.: Hermann Historica, Selected Collector’s pieces (Auction’s Catalogue), Munich, 19 October, 2005, pp. 198-199, est. XXV; Cameron Stone, 1999, pp. 601-602, fig. 770/5

Picture Added
06-26-2013, 12:34 PM
Oriental Arms and Armour
Added by
Jorge Caravana