Made in Canton, China, for the Japanese market.
Iron, steel, silver, wood, lacquer, gold, silk, stingray skin, horn, shakudō
Blades 15th-16th century
Koshirae 18th-19th century
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Daishō (太小) literally means "big-small". It describes a matching set of swords consisting of a large katana and a smaller wakizashi. Wearing was a privilege only reserved for the samurai class of the Edo period.
Both blades are in an old period polish and signed.
The dai (太) is a slightly shortened katana blade with an early-looking koshizori sugata. It is signed Muneyoshi (宗吉).1
The shō (小) is signed Bishū Osafune Sukesada (備州長船祐定) and shows the typical workmanship of this group, with "crab claw" elements within its hamon. This signature was used by several smiths of the group in the 15th and 16th centuries. It has some tiny nicks in the edge.
The koshirae consists of two beautifully lacquered saya with flowers and grass in autumn colors, executed in fine maki-e with sprinkled gold and silver dust.
The hilts or tsuka are wood, covered with ray-skin and wrapped with black silk cord. They are fitted with finely made fuchi kashira of shakudō, a prized copper-gold alloy that was patinated a "raven black". The mounts are finely dotted, called nanako, and decorated with flowers. The work is unsigned but is in Mino Gotō style.
Some damage to the silk wrap of the wakizashi, with a small part missing.
The tsuba is a matching set, made of iron with finely chiseled flowers with gilt details.
They are both signed:
Bushū-jū Harutoshi saku
"Made by Harutoshi, resident of Bushū"
Harutoshi was a member of the Ito school, active in the 18th and 19th centuries.
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Considered one of the best makers of naginata, he worked for the household of Fukushima Masanori.
Made in the 16th century, for the warrior monks of the Hozo-in temple in Nara.
A masterpiece of the genre. The Yagami school were excellent carvers of iron.
Fine work and one of the very few enamelled tsuba by this maker.
Japanese sword guard depicting three wise monkeys conveying the message see no evil, hear no evil, speak no…