Japanese Wakizashi – Late Momoyama to Early Edo Period
Magnificent Japanese late Momoyama (1573–1603) to early Edo (1603–1867) period Wakizashi. Nakago is partially signed and reads “Fujiwara“. End of nagako is in Kiri style – which is indicative of a shortened blade. At one time, this piece was likely a full-length katana, but was cut-down to wakizashi – explaining why we see the Japanese characters only reading as “Fujiwara” on the nakago. The blade was likely made at the Takada School by the Fujiwara family (using the “Fujiwara” signature). The tsuba and kashira are very ornate and indicative of a family of high status. As the tsuba and kashira are both from the mid Edo period, they were likely added when the blade was shortened. The tsuba is beautifully decorated with a raised floral arrangements above three tigers – one large tiger and two opposing smaller tigers at play. The spacing between the floral arrangements and tigers is filled with small raised dimples of a fish roe pattern. The spine of the tsuba has a diagonal line pattern. Kashira shows a Samurai in a seiza position (standard formal and traditional way of sitting in Japan) under a blooming cherry blossom. Samegawa (traditional ray skin) shows wear consistent with age and presents with a small area of splitting, but remains intact. Ito is in solid shape with no major issues and remains tight with normal wear. Nagasa is in fair condition given the age of the piece and shows signs of blackening due to old oils and past handling, but presents wonderfully nonetheless. Hamon is present and can be seen running the length of the nagasa. Ha of the nagasa towards the boshi has some extremely fine chipping, with the boshi itself showing a more pronounced chip. Kissaki is slightly broken off – missing approximately 1.5 to 2mm from the tip. Saya is covered with a traditional military leather wrap and maintains the remnants of an old label affixed to the outside – showing Japanese characters (likely containing information regarding the original owner of this piece). This label reads “Fujiwara” in two instances – however, any other information is unreadable.
- 23 & 1/4″ from tip of kissaki to end of nakago
- 18 & 1/8″ from tip of kissaki to top of habaki
- 19 & 1/8″ from tip of kissaki to bottom of habaki
- width of nagasa at top of habaki is 1 & 1/8″
This is a truly masterful blade and a piece of unsung artwork that has withstood the test of time. This artifact most certainly speaks to the skill and attention of the Japanese smiths and artisans who labored to create it all those centuries ago. A undeniable work of beauty – and deserving of a place of honor in any collection.