This is an unusual sun-nobi tantô from the Muromachi era. It is a signed by Nio Kiyosada and it is also dated. The signature reads Niô Kiyosada saku (ニ王清定作) and is dated Taiei Ninen Hachigatsu Hi (大永二年八月日) which means, made on a day in August of the second year of Taiei (August 1523). It is rare to find a tantô by a Niô smith and the fact that it is dated makes it especially precious.
Kiyosada worked in Suo Province in the first half of the 16th century. He worked in classic Niô school style This is a wide o-tantô measuring 12 7/8 inches or 32.7 cm. It has a moto-haba of 1.25 inches or 3.2 cm and a saki-haba of 1.06 inches or 2.7 cm. The kasane is thin making it seem like a tantô of the Nanbokuchô era until you notice the slight saki-sori that is indicative of the Muromachi era. This fact is also confirmed by the date on the tang. The condition of the tantô is good, but it could use a touch-up polish to remove a few dings from the cutting edge and to bring out the hada. The hamon is a narrow suguha as is typical of this school. The jihada is a mokume hada mixed with masame. Also there is that unique type of Niô utsuri present that is called hera-kage. There is b-hi and soe-hi on both sides.
This blade comes in a nice koshirae that dates to the Shinshintô era of the 19th century. It is in excellent condition with all of the parts original and intact. All of the metal fittings including the kozuka and kogai are made of solid silver that has been stippled and treated to create a very pleasing pattern. The menuki are of vajra-ken swords and are done in silver, shakudo, and gold. The habaki is solid copper as was typical of those made in the19th century. This sword just came to me from an American collector and it has not as yet been submitted for papers, but I will absolutely guarantee this signature as being genuine.
If you would like to own a genuine Samurai sword from the early 1500’s that is signed and dated and has beautiful and complete fittings that is being offered at an excellent price, do not miss this opportunity.