• Arts of the Samurai  auction at Christies

    Sale 2378

    Arts of the Samurai

    23 October 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 28

    A BIZEN TACHI IN KATANA MOUNTING

    KAMAKURA PERIOD (13TH CENTURY), UNSIGNED, ATTRIBUTED TO KATAYAMA ICHIMONJI NOBUFUSA

    Price Realised  

    A BIZEN TACHI IN KATANA MOUNTING
    Kamakura period (13th century), Unsigned, Attributed to Katayama Ichimonji Nobufusa
    Sugata [configuration]: Shinogi-zukuri, iori-mune, deep koshizori, chu-kissaki
    Kitae [forging pattern]: Itame with flowing areas, midare-utsuri
    Hamon [tempering pattern]: Saka choji-midare with gunome of deep nioi with ko-nie
    Boshi [tip]: Midare-komi with ko-maru return
    Nakago [tang]: Ubu, one mekugi-ana, file marks indistinct, kuri-jiri
    Habaki [collar]: Double gold with paulownia mon pierced in yo-sukashi
    Nagasa [length of blade]: 79.7cm

    Koshirae [mounting]: The katana mounting with a black-lacquered scabbard having gold-lacquered tachibana mon, gold menuki of triple tachibana mon, fuchi-kashira of linked fret pattern in gold inlay, the round tsuba of shakudo nanako with fukiyose (blown together by the wind) motif in iroe takazogan attributed to the Goto school; the tsuba later attributed to Goto Tsujo, the kogai to Goto Koju, and the fuchi-kashira to Ikkodo
    Shirasaya with sayagaki by Honma Kunzan [Junji]

    The blade accompanied by a certificate of registration as a Tokubetsu juyo token (Especially important sword) no. 321 issued by the Nihon Bijutsu Token Hozon Kyokai (Society for the Preservation of the Japanese Art Sword), dated 1983.2.9

    The hilt assemblage accompanied by a certificate of registration as a Hozon tosogu (Sword fittings worthy of preservation) no. 431245 issued by the Nihon Bijutsu Token Hozon Kyokai (Society for the Preservation of the Japanese Art Sword), dated 1996.4.23

    The tsuba accompanied by a certificate of registration as a Hozon tosogu (Sword fitting worthy of preservation) no. 431243 issued by the Nihon Bijutsu Token Hozon Kyokai (Society for the Preservation of the Japanese Art Sword), dated 1996.4.23


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    The smith Norifusa is said to have been the son of Nobufusa of the Fukuoka Ichimonji group, and the characteristics of this blade are close to those of the Fukuoka group. The smith moved either to Katayama close to Fukuoka, or to Katayama in neighboring Bitchu province (Okayama Prefecture) as one of the first generation of the Katayama group, which continued into the Nanbokucho period. Together with the work of Sukezane and Yoshifusa, the hamon of Norifusa are the most exuberant among middle Kamakura-period work, and similarities with those smiths suggest that Katayama was the place near Fukuoka. This sword is very similar to the National Treasure blade by Norifusa that was handed down in the house of the Tokugawa shoguns.

    The blade was formerly in the collection of the painter and avid sword collector Hashimoto Dokuzan (1869-1938), and the Tokubetsu juyo certificate records a gold-lacquer inscription Tenka daiichi (Foremost under the heavens) said to have been written by Dokuzan, but which is no longer discernable.

    Provenance

    Hashimoto Dokuzan collection


    Saleroom Notice

    The attribution for the blade in this lot should read "attributed to Katayama Ichimonji Norifusa."


    Pre-Lot Text

    THE PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE COLLECTOR


    Literature

    Honma Junji, Kanto hibisho (Memoranda on appraised swords), vol. 3 (Tokyo: Nihon Bijutsu Token Hozon Kyokai, 1974), 435--36.


    Exhibited

    Japanese Sword Museum, Tokyo, 1983.3.1--4.3; 1984.2.14--4.15
    Gotoh Museum of Art, Tokyo, 1991.2.16--3.31
    Chido Museum, Tsuruoka, 1997.5.16--29
    Ibaraki Prefectural Museum of History, Mito, 2000.2.12