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Configuration (sugata): with longitudinal ridge line (shinogi-zukuri), shallow peaked back (iori-mune) and medium point (chu-kissaki); length (nagasa): 2 shaku, 2 sun, 7 bu (69.0cm.); curvature (sori): koshi-zori of 2.0cm.; increase in width of blade (fumbari): 1.0cm.; carving (horimono): bo-hi on both sides.
Forging pattern (jihada): mokume with masame on the inside.
Tempering pattern (hamon): irregular clove-like patterns (choji-midare), some undulations (gonome) in nioi and ko-nie, and some 'legs' (ashi).
Point (boshi): small and rounded (ko-maru).
Tang (nakago). Shape (keitai): o-suriage and with the shinogi extending the full length; the smooth surface has a moist, soft appearance; file marks (yasurime): new (kiri-yasuri); end (nakagojiri): squared (kirijiri); holes (mekugi-ana): two; signature (mei): unsigned (mumei).

Shirasaya with attestation by Sato Kanzan.

Higo uchigatana koshirae, Edo period (circa 1750), comprising: a saya made from rayskin (same) ground flat and with the crevices filled with black lacquer (same-nuri) and the surface subsequently polished smooth, the retaining hook (kurikata) and kaeshizuno are of black lacquer, kojiri is boat-shaped and made of iron; a tsuka with fine same with fusubekawa binding in a sobishimaki style mounted with a pair of menuki in shakudo and formed as a man holding a book and a man holding a bag, and a kashira of shakudo with stone surface collar (ishime) and with an inner sleeve, the rim of which has shakudo nanako and scrolling grasses (karakusa) in gold under the nanako; the fuchi has classic Hirata gold wired cloisonné (kin shippo) inlay of transluscent glass in five colors and with gold Hirata style swirls on the reverse; a tsuba in iron of rounded trapezoid (aori) shape and the web decorated with heavy silver wire of a chrysanthemum pattern in relief; a kozuka in iron with stone (ishime) ground with a relief design of a man grinding tea leaves, with gold accents, the butt end bears an inlaid seal, ama-in, which is the monogram (kao) of Yasuchika I; a kogai in an umabari with a short blade as part of the shaft, the back in a silver damascene-patterned carapace near the head--length of koshirae 95.7cm.; scabbard length 73.0cm.; hilt length 21.4cm.; tsuba height 8.0cm., width 7.3cm., thickness 0.45cm.; kozuka length 9.6cm., blade 11.4cm., umabari length 14.7cm.

Accompanied by a juyo token certificate issued by the N.B.T.H.K., dated Showa 50 (1975).
Christie's, London, March 3, 1969, lot 123, illus. p. 28
Juyo token to zufu, vol. 23.
One Hundred Masterpieces (1992), no. 9.
See Sato and Homma, Higo kinko taikan (1964), no. 397, p. 391, for an umabari of this type, and nos. 461 to 465 for koshirae of this type.

Lot Essay

It is rare to have a complete Higo koshirae of the classic style that has not had its various parts changed after it left Japan. This example has passed through both American and European collections during the last forty years. Each piece was chosen obviously by its original owner for its individual merits and aesthetics, not for any common theme or design.

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