J001881 (IJN) NAVY OFFICERíS KATANA.

BACKGROUND: The sword is said to symbolize the spirit of the Japanese warrior from time immemorial. It came to be regarded as a representation of the samuraiís "Bushido," or code of honour. In the late nineteenth century, the samurai class were all but disbanded, and with them their traditional "Tachi," or slung sword, passed out of common usage. The swords adopted by the Japanese military after this period reflected the design influence of their European advisors. The pre-war military incursions into Manchuria and China inspired a Japanese nationalism that led, in 1933 or 1934, to the return to the Tachi design, then referred to as the "Shin-gunto" (neo-army sword). It was to become the most commonly encountered Japanese military sword and was produced and used until the end of the second world war.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: An officerís "Kai-gunto" (Naval sword), whose wooden scabbard has a rayskin protective wrap. The wooden hilt (Tsuka) of the sword is bound with a brown-colored cloth tape (Tsuka-ito), in a pattern which forms diamond-shaped openings through which may be seen the underlying, atypical, textured black "skin" (Same). Golden-colored metal ornaments (Menuki) in the form of three encircled cherry blossoms (Sakura) are positioned above the skin and under the tape to each side. Visible through one of the diamond-shaped openings is a single wooden peg (Mekugi) which retains the hilt by passing through it and the tang (Nakago) to its interior. The alloy pommel (Kabuto-gane), has six decorative cherry blossoms embossed along its edges against small punch-holes resembling fish roe (Nanako). The alloy ferrule (Fuchi) features the same small decorative punch-holes and cherry blossoms as the pommel. The ovoid-shaped, black painted, solid cast brass cross guard (Tsuba), which exhibits edge wear, has two, free-floating washers (Seppa) to each side of it; the black "Shakudo seppa," with radiating lines to them, followed by very thin seppa to the outside. The blade is 65 cm long. The back (Mune) of the blade has the pointed "Iori" shape. Blade is fairly clean and exhibits the typical age related surface spotting. The wooden scabbard (Saya) has an alloy throat (Kuchi-gane) which is identical to the ferrule. Two suspension mounts (Ashi), each with hanging rings (Obi-tori), and a decorative band (Shibabiki) descend the scabbard. A chape (Isizuke), which roughly imitates the pommel, is to the end of the scabbard. Scabbard has a rayskin protective wrap. Nice untouched example.

GRADE ****                             PRICE $1,495.00

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