This is a true daisho of mountings from the late Edo period. The dai is a mumei katana with a nagasa of 26 .187 inches or 66.5 cm, a moto-haba of 1.18 inches or 3.0 cm, a saki-haba of 0.89 inches or 2.3 cm, and a torii sori of 0.54 inches or 1.4 cm. This is a wide and strong blade. The hada is a flowing itame with some areas of mokume. There are dark areas in the ji which would tend to indicate that this blade is from the Hokoku or Northern area Honshu, i.e. the Etchu/Echizen region. The jihada is covered in clusters of nie like clouds floating above the hamon. The hamon is a combination of billowing gunome mixed with notare-midare filled with activities such as sunagashi, ashi, and even some small areas of kinsuji. The boshi is almost ichimai and has hakikake like brush strokes. This sword comes with NBTHK papers attributing it to Echizen Yamato Kunitsugu which is an early signature of Echizen Daijo Masanori. Masanori worked in Echizen around the Kanbun era (1661). This sword is a very beautiful and quality item with no flaws or problems of any kind. It is in good polish as can be seen in the photos.
The wakizashi is also mumei. It has a cutting edge (nagasa) of 15.25 inches or 38.8 cm, a moto-haba of 1.19 inches or 3.02 cm, a saki-haba of 0.95 inches or 3.02 cm, a sori of 0.29 inches or 0.7 cm. It is also torii sori. This wakizashi appears to be the upper part of a very fine katana. It is of the Satsuma school and dates to the latter part of the Shinto period (circa 1720). The jihada is a very dense itame hada mixed with some o-hada and some mokume-hada. Typical Satsuma gane. The jihada is absolutely covered in ji-nie in small spots and larger areas. Very beautiful. The hamon is a shallow notare midare. There are numerous hataraki such as sunagashi, nijuba, imozuru, etc. The boshi is large and the hamon has a small turn-back. It is hakikake. This blade would have been extremely strong and impressive when it was ubu. As it is now, it still exhudes strength and quality. This sword has NBTHK papers attributing it to Satsuma Masachika, the son of Mondo no sho Masakiyo. Masachika worked around 1716. The papers give it directly to Masachika which is unusual for the NBTHK, they usually will just give a blade such as this to the "Satsuma school". That shows the quality of this blade in that it was directly attributed to this high quality smith.
What really sets this daisho apart are the matching koshirae. They are exquisitely done and in wonderful condition. The photos above show their quality far beyond my abilities to describe them. The gold floral tendrils and blossoms are all superbly done and in perfect condition. Both fuchi are signed Ooka Masataka and judging by the consistancy of the fuchi and the rest of the metalwork, I would venture that with the exception of the tsuba and kozuka, and menuki, the balance of the metal fittings were all done by him. Masataka worked in Edo in the first half of the 19th century. He was a student of Hamano Masanobu. He was considered to be the fourth master of the Ooka family school. He was a retainer of the Owari Tokugawa Daimyo.
The matching pair of tsuba appear to be of the Goto school or Kaga Goto school. The shakudo nanako work is fabulous and the mimi are covered with high relief gold and shakudo flowers in keeping with the theme of the balance of the koshirae. They are not signed. The menuki appear to be of solid gold and depict flowers in keeping with the overall theme of the koshirae.
The kozuka is also very interesting. It is signed Goto Hokkyo Ichijo. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this kozuka was the actual piece that is listed in Robert Haynes auction #9 in 1984 on page 160-161. Bob Haynes said that is it genuine. While I cannot guarantee that it is genuine, Robert Haynes' opinion certainly carries a lot of weight. That being said, however, I have priced this daisho without consideration of the increased value it would be given should this kozuka be a genuine Goto Ichijo.
Goto Ichijo was born in 1791 and was the grandson of Goto Shunjo, the third master of the Shichirouemon Goto line. He was the teacher of such famous artists as Artaki Tomei and Nakagawa Issho. He died at the age of 86 in 1876. He is considered to have been one of the top masters of the later Goto school. The theme of the kozuka is that of a shō with a golden base on a shakudo nanako background. The shō is one of the three primary woodwind instruments used in gagaku, Japan's imperial court music. The back of the kozuka is signed Goto Hokkyo Ichijo.
This is a wonderful daisho of koshirae that contains two very nice blades. If you are looking for a real daisho and not something that has been put together recently, here is your chance.
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