Nihonto.com is pleased to present this fine daisho of katana and wakizashi from the Edo period around the Kanbun era (1661). This set of swords are encased in a very nice set of genuine daisho koshirae (fittings) bearing the family crest of their last Samurai owner. It is becoming very difficult these days to find true daisho such as this set.
The katana is signed Settsu (no) Kami Minamoto Masatomo Saku (摂津守源正友作). This was a sword smith who worked in the Yamashiro style of sword making. He lived in northern Honshû province of Rikuoku and worked around the Kanbun era which started in 1661. This is a very nice katana with a cutting edge measuring 28.125 inches or 71.4 cm. It has a sori (curvature) of about 0.5 inches or 1.2 cm. The moto-haba (width at the base of the sword) is 1.25 inches or 3.2 cm and kissaki-haba (the width at the point) is 0.875 inches or 2.2 cm.
This shinogi-zukuri katana has a beautiful jigane (wood grain pattern) of itame mixed with some mokume. The pattern in the shinogi-ji is masame. The hamon (temper line) is a robust notare gunome that reminds us of the fist shaped patterns of gunome produced by the famous smith of the same time period Kawachi no Kami Kunisuke. The sword is in excellent polish with no problems or flaws. It is truly beautiful to behold. The nakago (tang) of the sword is ubu (unshortened) with only one mekugi-ana hole. This is a sword that any Samurai would have been proud to carry.
It comes in an excellent shirasaya and has a one-piece silver habaki. It is accompanied by NBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon papers attesting to the validity of the signature and the quality and condition of the sword.
The accompanying wakizashi is also a very pleasing blade. Its sugata (shape) suggests that it is a naginata-naoshi blade from the same time period or, perhaps, about 50-75 years earlier. Unlike the katana wheihc bears the name of the smith who made it, this wakizashi has what is known as a kiritsuke-mei (shortening signature) where the smith who shortened this blade to its current length noted this fact. This wakizashi has a cutting edge measuring 16.625 inches or 42.2 cm. It has a sori (curvature) of about 0.44 inches or 1.1 cm. The moto-haba (width at the base of the sword) is 1.125 inches or 2.8 cm and kissaki-haba (the width at the point) is 1.0 inches or 2.5 cm.
The NBTHK who awarded this blade Hozon papers noted that its characteristics indicate that it is from the Echizen Seki school which would support the fact that it is from the early 1600’s. The shape is very dramatic with a very large kissaki (point) together with the remains of some very well carved naginata hi (grooves) on both sides of the blade. The jigane is a good example of what we call Echizen-hada with dark areas and a more pronounced grain pattern. The hamon is a typical gunome-midare (irregular wavy) pattern that carries into the extended point. Very nice. Just as with the katana, this wakizashi is in very good polish with no problems or flaws of any kind.
This wakizashi also comes in an excellent and recent shirasaya and has a one-piece solid silver habaki matching that of the katana. It is accompanied by NBTHK Hozon papers attesting to the attribution and quality and condition of the sword.
What makes this set of swords a true daisho, is not that they were created by the same smith but the fact that they are encased in an original (not put-together using similar parts as we often find) set of koshirae that are just as they were worn by their last Samurai owner in the 19th century.
As you can see in the photos, all of the individual parts of the sword mountings, tsuba, menuki, fuchi, kashira, etc. are identical on both swords. The fuchi and kashira are made of shakudo and are carved to represent the large stones used in the construction of castles. Each one of these four items has the family mon (crest) of the last Samurai owner of this daisho. The menuki are made of shakudo with gold highlights and are depicting opium pods and flowers. The tsuba are iron plates that are incised with a delicately carved karakusa (tendril) pattern. The kozuka on the wakizashi is iron that is decorated with cherry blossoms done in brass and silver. All in all, this is the type of koshirae that was word by a serious Samurai.