• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7622

    Japanese Art and Design

    11 November 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 263

    A Gassan Katana

    SIGNED NANIWA (NI) OITE GASSAN UNRYUSHI SADAKAZU SAKU AND MEIJI GO NEN HACHI GATSU KICHI JITSU [AN AUSPICIOUS DAY IN THE EIGHTH MONTH 1872], MEIJI PERIOD, (LATE 19TH CENTURY)

    Price Realised  

    A Gassan Katana
    Signed Naniwa (ni) oite Gassan Unryushi Sadakazu saku and Meiji go nen hachi gatsu kichi jitsu [An auspicious day in the eighth month 1872], Meiji Period, (late 19th century)
    Sugata [configuration]: Honzukuri, iorimune, shallow curve, Kanbun style, chu-kissaki
    Kitae [forging pattern]: Nashiji hada
    Hamon [tempering pattern]: Gunome ba with ashi
    Boshi [tip]: O-maru
    Nakago [tang]: Ubu, one mekugiana, osujigai and kessho filemarks, ha-agari kurijiri tip
    Habaki [collar]: Single silvered copper
    Nagasa [length]: 72.5cm.
    Horimono [carvings]: Omote deeply carved kurikara, ura kuwagata and koshibi with soehi and a bonji
    Koshirae [mounting]: Black lacquered saya, fuchi-kashira of iron, the kashira sculpted in stylised demi-chrysanthemum blossoms opposed, the fuchi with lilies, shibuichi with silver and gold with boats, round iron tsuba pierced with an uchiwa


    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    The Gassan tradition is said to have originated in the mountain religion associated with the Dewa Sanzan (Three Mountains of Dewa Province), of which Gassan was one, sometime during the Heian period. However there are no known dateable swords with the characteristic sinosoidal undulating ayasugi hada [cryptomeria twill] of the school until the Nanbokucho and Muromachi periods, and the school had ceased to exist by the end of the Muromachi period.
    A descendant of the Gassan smiths in Dewa Province named Sadayoshi moved to Osaka in the middle 19th century and revived the old tradition there. Sadakazu, born in 1836, was adopted into the Gassan family in Omi Province as the son of Sadayoshi. After the Haito Kinshi Rei (law prohibiting the wearing of swords in public) of 1876 he continued with the family tradition despite there being little demand for swords. In 1906 he made a sword for the Emperor Meiji, and was appointed as a Teishitsu Gigei-In [Imperial Craftsman]. In 1916 Sadakazu made a further sword for the Taisho Emperor. He died in 1918 age 83. In addition to the ancient Gassan style with Ayasugi hada he made swords in the Soshu style, and like this blade in the Bizen styles. He was a competent sculptor and often made intricate carvings of Fudo Myo-o and his attributes in the form of the kurikara as on this blade. The Gassan tradition continues with the current master Sadatoshi and his son.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.