Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1302: NBTHK "Especially Precious” Ranked Japanese Daisho Set

Auction Date: September 11, 2021

Outstanding “Sakanazukushi” Themed Pair of Japanese Swords, NBTHK Documented as an “Especially Precious” Ranked Daisho Set

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $80,000 - $150,000

Outstanding “Sakanazukushi” Themed Pair of Japanese Swords, NBTHK Documented as an “Especially Precious” Ranked Daisho Set

Manufacturer: None
Model: None
Type: Other
Item Views: 4707
Item Interest: Very Active
Catalog Page: 242
Class: Other

Included with this attractive two-blade set are two NBTHK "origami" certificates, one for the wakizashi in the pair, and the other for the pair as a group. Both were prepared in 1980 with both the "green paper" certificate and a typewritten translated/summary, and rank the items as "especially precious" per the system in use until 1982. The wakizashi paper identifies it as an authentic but unsigned blade, with no comment as to possible origin or production date. The paper for the pair calls it out as paired "sakanazukushi" (sea life) themed set, and identifies multiple components as the work of Omori Teruhide. A craftsman by that name is known to have been active in the Edo period (1730-1798), and examples of their work are currently in the inventory of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, as well as other prominent historical and artistic institutions. The furniture on both blades is a solid pairing, with elaborately sculpted silver fittings, lacquered cord wrapping over rayskin on the grips, and speckled black sayas, each featuring an elaborate copper sculpted/inlaid shrimp at the tip. The katana-length sword measures 36 1/4 inches overall, with the 26 1/4 inch blade showing a fine wavy hamon and set into a serrated copper habaki. The tsuba, fuchi and kashira are all crafted from excellent sculpted silver, the tsuba and kashira showing golden fish motifs, shakudo infill on the tsuba, and the fuchi showing an elaborate three-dimensional octopus that extends beyond the conventional lines of the fuchi and onto the grip itself. Asymmetrical menuki are installed, with a fine shakudo squid with golden bead eyes on the right and a copper octopus on the left. The octopus motif of the fuchi continues on the saya, with a sculpted copper octopus wraps around the body, its extended tentacle acting as the kurikata. The shrimp measures 8 1/2 inches, its tail wrapping around and enclosing the tip. The wakizashi is 22 1/2 inches overall, with a 15 3/4 inch blade with a fine temper line, set into a sculpted silver habaki. The hilt fittings follow the same pattern as the katana, including the elaborately sculpted squid on the fuchi, with a shakudo fish menuki on the right and a copper crustacean on the left. The saya follows a similar pattern to the katana, with a sculpted octopus adorning a more conventional kurikata, 8 1/4 inch shrimp on the tip, and an 8 inch kozuka with handle sculpted to match the tsuba. Provenance: The Robert M. Lee Collection

Rating Definition:

Excellent overall. Both blades show radiant temper lines and mild handling, with the wakizashi showing a bit of subtle nicking on the edge. A few breaks are present in the cord wrap, and the sayas show mild scuffs and handling. The furniture is in superb condition. An absolutely top notch set of Japanese swords, featuring an extraordinary set of blades and a paired set of fittings that stand out as high art in their own right. Finding single swords furnished better than these would be a struggle, finding a documented daisho set that could beat them on the open market nearly impossible.

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