Seppuku. Masaki Kobayashi (1962)
This 1000 year old Katana looks as good as it did the day it was made. [3746×3024]
Oh man… This is no longer my lane but I can’t leave this at “1000 year old sword”.
This is Mikazuki. The Crescent Moon blade.
This sword was crafted by Sanj(y)o Munechika and is older than 1000 years. (The Smith’s oldest signed work is from 987).
There are only 5 of the smith’s pieces remaining and this one exhibits one of the first times in history that the Japanese sword takes on it’s utilitarian curved shape.
This sword was owned by a laundry list of important historical figures including Oda Nobunaga’s general Toyotomi Hideyoshi who unified Japan.
You are essentially looking at a Japanese Excalibur.
I am humbled to even be able to see a picture of this sword.
If I could ever see this blade in person I might just die there on the spot.
This blade is one of the finest examples of the blacksmith’s art ever created. Ever. Anywhere. Period.
Muromachi Period （1392 C.E. – 1573 C.E）
This blade is a Koto (古刀-old sword period) piece that remains completely unaltered which is rare for Koto era works. It remains the one Mekugi-ana (目貫-peg hole) from the time it was created, since blades this old usually have several Mekugi-ana. The blade has a curvature at a very intense 2.4 cm or 0.94 inches, which is well above the average, a cutting edge of 67.9 cm or 26.73 inches, and a width of 3.15 cm, or 1.24 inches. The polish is a little old, but the Hamon (刃文-blade pattern) is still very interesting with a mixture of Togari (尖-pointed) and Choji Midare (丁子乱れ- clove disorder).
The Koshirae（侟-mounting）is one of a kind. It is lacquered, and fitted with gold-inlayed Fuchi, Kojiri, and Kashira. Clearly it was commissioned for a higher ranked samurai who had the money to display his social status. The matching Tsuba (鍔-sword guard) is also very special with the copper work. The koshirae is made later, but not sure about the specific age. Please let me know if there is any thoughts!
As I mentioned before, 金銀象嵌 (gold-silver inlay) is an old and exquisite technique. It is said that it was brought to Japan in the Heinan Period (飛鳥時代- 582 C.E.-710 C.E.) from the ancient Syria, and others say it was from ancient China, but there is no certain answer to it. What is sure is this technique is much valued in Japanese art through out its entire history. We can find an inlayed Tsuba from the Kamakura period, an inlayed iron teapot from the Edo period, or even an inlayed cigarette case from the Meiji period, all very stunning. I will update some more of this in the future.
Click here to see a good video on the traditional way to forge a Nihonto.
Special Thanks to Nick of Nihonto Art for his generous and passionate sharing of his knowledge.
Click HERE to see more Japanese Art
Vintage Photos of Japanese women with their Katana.
William Borroughs by Sylvia Plachy
[Woman in Traditional Japanese Garment Photographed from Behind] by Suzuki Shin’ichi, The Met’s Photos
Gilman Collection, Museum Purchase, 2005
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Medium: Albumen silver print from glass negative
Tachi or court sword, with curved pointed tempered single-edged steel blade, a ray skin hilt bound with silk cords, two gilt menuki, and a tsuba of dark alloy, and a scabbard of wood decorated with a dragon on nashiji lacquer with dark alloy mounts and flat silk suspension cords: Japan, 17th century.
from The National Museum of Scotland
An interesting illustration showing the use of the Japanese kyu-gunto, a two-handed military sabre, vs a pole weapon.