Masataka (正隆) was born in 1802 in the Settsu area (Osaka). He was the son of Takashige of Settsu (隆繁) and the grandson of Suketaka (助隆). He worked in Settsu around the Tenpô era (1830) and later moved to Kyotô. This wakizashi is dated as having been made in August of the 2nd year of Kaei (1849) and the full signature reads Rakuyô Jû Tenryushi Masataka (kao) (洛陽天龍子正隆). This translates as “made in Kyotô by Tenryushi Masataka in August of 1849”.
This signature gives us important historical information about this smith. It confirms that as of August of 1849, he had moved from the Osaka area to Kyotô. Since we know he was born in 1802, we can deduce from the date on the sword that he made this sword when he was 47 years old. This would mean that when he made this sword, he was at the prime of his sword making abilities and the workmanship of this piece is certainly evidence of this fact. In fact, this sword may be an example of his best work.
This sword has a nagasa (cutting edge length) of 16 15/16 inches or 43 cm. The moto-haba (width at the base of the sword) is 1.19 inches or 3.0 cm and the saki-haba (width at the point) is 0.90 inches or 2.3 cm. The kasane (thickness) of the blade is 0.28 inches or 0.7 cm and the sori (curvature) is slightly koshi-zori measuring 0.37 inches or 0.9 cm. The jigane (grain of the steel) is a very tight flowing itame hada as one would expect from a sword of this period. The hamon (temper line) is really beautiful with a beautiful o-notare pattern forming billowing waves in various forms showing great movement. There is also tobiyaki above the hamon looking as if they are a continuation of the wave pattern mimicking rough seas. The bôshi (tip) has a wide temper that has a ko-maru (small turn back) with a short kaeri. The nakago (tang) is ubu (unshortened) with one mekugi ana and the inscriptions of the sword smiths name on one side and the date on the other as delineated above. The habaki (metal collar) is of solid silver and it is deeply carved with cherry blossoms. It, in itself, is a piece of art as can be seen in the photos below.
Not only is this a very attractive sword, but it is still housed in what is, in all probability, its original koshirae. You can tell from the photos below that this sword is very tastefully mounted in all matching koshirae with the main theme being chidori birds. The tsuba is iron in the form of a woven rope with tiny gold chidori birds on both sides. The fuchi and kashira are shakudo with gold chidori birds winging their way over the waves. The menuki are silver geese on shakudo waves. The saya (scabbard) is alternating stripes of black and brown lacquer. There are no cracks or dings to the lacquer and the overall condition of the entire koshirae is excellent.
At this point, this sword does not have any certifications, but I absolutely guarantee the validity of this signature and papers can be obtained if the new owner wishes to do so. With a sword like this, in my opinion authentication papers are not really necessary.