Japanese sword by 3rd generation Fuyuhiro | Mandarin Mansion

Japanese sword by 3rd generation Fuyuhiro

An old Japanese shortsword or wakizashji signed (mei) FUYUHIRO SAKU. The characters for FUYUHIRO are larger than the character for SAKU, ("made by"), a hallmark of the third generation Fuyuhiro, Kyuemon. He was active in Wakasa province the early 16th century from the 1520's. The blade is of shobu zukuri form, this means it has a gradual curve into a sharp point with no yokote. The yokote is the line usually demarcating the beginning of the tip section. Shobu zukuri is thought to have been developed during the Mongol invasion of the 12th century, possibly inspired by sabers introduced by the Mongols. The curvature of the sword is described as saki sori, meaning that the deepest curvature is concentrated in the upper portion of the blade. Such a curvature was popular in the Muromachi period of 1336–1573.

The blade has crisp lines and bevels and a clear hamon or temper line. This is the cloudy effect near the edge, that is caused by tempering the blade while it is partially covered in clay, only exposing the edge. In quenching it ensures that the edge cools down much faster than the rest, creating a crystalline structure in the steel, also known as Martensite. It is a way of producing edged weapons with a very hard edge on a softer, more resilient body. The hamon is of suguha form, meaning its contours follow the edge, as opposed to the more wavy effect seen on some swords. Such a straight "hamon" is also common on the better Chinese swords, such as a few remaining Tang dynasty swords but also those of the Ming to mid Qing dynasties.

Overall: 55.6 cm
Nagasa (blade): 40.9 cm
Sori (curvature): saki sori style, 10.5 mm deep
Moto haba (width near base): 27 mm
Nakago (tang): 9.3 cm

Koshirae or Mountings
It is mounted in late Edo period aikuchi form, unsigned. This mounting style is characterized by the feature of the tsuka (handle) and saya (scabbard) meeting directly, without a tsuba or guard in-between. It was a popular mounting style for mainly tanto, short Japanese daggers, of the higher classes. This particular sword comes in a scabbard with a bronze frame that was originally gilt, with some traces of gilding remain. The wooden core is visible on both sides, lacquered red with family crests and metallic speckles in its final finishing layer. The metalwork is chiseled with cloud motifs throughout. It has a single bronze suspension ring, also with traces of gold, indicating that it was meant to be worn with the edge down. The signature on the left side of the tang indicates the sword was originally made to be worn egde-up, through the obi or sash so it could be easily drawn. It was common for Japanese swords to be remounted various times during their lifetime to suit the needs and fashion of it's period. The wooden handle is covered with rough ray-skin and the shape of the fittings suggest it was never wrapped with silk. The blade is held in place with two interlocking brass pins, with ornate dragon caps. The wood of the handle is split on the reverse side, but this should be easy to fix.

Because Japanese swords are not my main area, and collectors in this field specifically picky, I'm having a hard time putting a price on it.
I don't mind to keep it around as a reference piece, but if one is interested, offers are welcome.


Contact: peter@mandarinmansion.com