A Mounted Yamato Wakizashi
Muromachi period (16th century), signed Kanabo Hyoe [no] jo Masatsugu
A hira-zukuri wakizashi, with iorimune, forging pattern mokume, tempering pattern gunome-choji with midare boshi, tang ubu with two holes and kuri-jiri end, the blade pierced with a dragon coiling a Buddhist ken (kurikara), the ken carved with cross-blades, 12in. (30.3cm.) long; in shirasaya. With a wakizashi koshirae comprising a green lacquer saya decorated with unsun karuta (cards from a game resembling hanafuda) with an inlaid one shilling coin, gilt shakudo nanakoji kogai decorated with musicians on a stage, gilt shakudo nanakoji kozuka with the moon over autumnal plants, shakudo menuki formed as wild boar, shakudo fuchi-kashira with flowers, and a small tsuba with gilt dragon, 22in. (56cm.) long
With certificate, issued by Nakamiya Keido, Osaka, dated 1956.9
The Kanabo group worked during the fifteenth century near the Kanabo crossroads in Nara. Probably the earliest known signature is that of Masashige, followed by smiths such as Masatsugu, Masazane, Masakiyo, Masashige, all using the character Masa. It is believed that the group initially made weapons for the Sohei (warrior monks) of the Kofukuji temple, and that Masatsugu himself made jumonji yari for the Hozoin school of sojutsu (spear combat) there. Carvings of the school are usually of a Buddhist nature, like that of this blade pierced with the kurikara, attribute of the deity Fudo Myo-o. Pierced carvings are quite rare on koto blades, but perhaps significantly, the sword in the kurikara of this horimono has unusual lateral blades similar in form to the jumonji yari which Masatsugu is said to have made for the Hozoin spearmen.