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    Sale 7582

    Japanese Art and Design

    14 May 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 228

    A FINE Awataguchi tanto

    SIGNED GOGATSU TSUITACHI KUNIMITSU (KO) (AN) JUICHI NEN [KUNIMITSU ON THE FIRST OF MAY 1288]

    Price Realised  

    A FINE Awataguchi tanto
    SIGNED GOGATSU TSUITACHI KUNIMITSU (KO) (AN) JUICHI NEN [KUNIMITSU ON THE FIRST OF MAY 1288]
    Sugata [configuration]: slender and thin hirazukuri, iori-mune, uchizori curve
    Kitae [forging pattern]: bright steel with ko-itame, nagare and masame hada, much ji-nie and fine chikei
    Hamon [tempering pattern]: suguha with shallow notare, ko-gunome mixed on the ura, deep nioi with ko-nie
    Boshi [tip]: ko-maru with somewhat long kaeri
    Nakago [tang]: ubu, kiri file marks, two mekugi-ana, ha-agari kurijiri tip
    Habaki [collar]: double gold
    Nagasa [length]: 21.7cm
    Horimono [carving]: faint traces of a suken on the omote, and gomabashi on the ura
    Koshirae: in shirasaya [plain wood scabbard]


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    Registered as a Juyo Token [Important Sword] no. 2576, issued by the Nihon Bijutsu Token Hozon Kyokai [Society for the Preservation of the Japanese Art Sword] at the 49th Juyo Shinsa in 2003.

    The tanto is by Awataguchi Kunimitsu, dated to 1288, although the two characters 'Ko' and 'An' are not clear. Kunimitsu is believed to have been the son or pupil of Norikuni, who was the son of Kunitomo, one of the six great smiths of the Awataguchi school of Kyoto in the 13th century and brother of Awataguchi Kuniyasu (see lot 235). There are few extant blades by this smith, but among them are two Juyo Bunkazai tachi and a ken signed Sahei no jo, a name he shared with his brother Kuniyoshi, the father of Awataguchi Yoshimitsu. This tanto, being signed and dated is a most valuable historic reference piece. The two-character signature Kunimitsu on this blade matches the signatures on the two tachi, making the Koan era inscription an important reference for dating those swords

    Although considerably depleted by polishing the blade is perfectly healthy and of the finest quality. It may be compared with the slightly later work of the two great makers of tanto in the mid Kamakura period, Awataguchi Yoshimitsu (see lot 222) and Shintogo Kunimitsu. The text in the Juyo Token record states that this blade is 'without precedent'.

    Special Notice

    From time to time, Christie's may offer a lot which it owns in whole or in part. This is such a lot.
    VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 15% on the buyer's premium


    Pre-Lot Text

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