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Well-Honed Results for a Group of Japanese Swords

Result EUR64,000
Published on , by Anne Doridou-Heim
Auction on 18 May 2021 - 15:00 (CEST) - Salle 7 - Hôtel Drouot - 75009

Assembled between 1930 and 1940, a private collection of Japanese swords caused a stir.

Japan, Momoyama period (1573-1603). Koto wakizashi, unsigned blade, mahogany lacquer... Well-Honed Results for a Group of Japanese Swords

Japan, Momoyama period (1573-1603). Koto wakizashi, unsigned blade, mahogany lacquer scabbard with silver lacquer hiramaki-e decoration, l. 43 cm/16.9 in.
Result: €64,000

Drouot resounded to the war cry of the Samurai, whose courage was rewarded with €335,920. The collection of fine Japanese blades brought together by a collector nearly a hundred years ago, which has stayed in his family ever since, saw its estimates soar by multiples of three, four and even five. The exquisite work devoted to single-edged swords, including the oldest—a koto wakizashi (see photo) from the Momoyama period (1573-1603), and one from the Muromachi period (1333-1573)— aroused keen battles, with the former fetching €64,000 and the latter €57,600. The swordsmiths' ingenuity and dexterity were combined here in the steel and lacquer work, making fine use of their precise skills—abundant in the archipelago.

In Eastern civilizations, weapons are said to be men's jewelry. In Japan, the katana was the symbol of the Samurai caste. It represented the warrior's soul and honor, and its mastery required long and patient training with total commitment in terms of body and mind. While the katana was a long two-handed sword used on the battlefield, the wakizashi was short: this was what was used to commit suicide, or seppuku. Extreme refinement went into its crafting, as its use was highly codified from the 12th century onwards. It was a cut-and-thrust weapon, i.e. both its cutting edge and point were used, and was worn in the obi (belt), with the cutting edge upwards. Nine of the other models up for sale also received five-figure results, including €35,840 for an Edo period (1603-1868) shinto-o-tanto in a brown and black lacquer scabbard with peony decoration signed by Murakiyo, and €28,800 for a koto katana signed by Jumyo, from the Muromachi period.

Tuesday 18 May 2021 - 15:00 (CEST) - Live
Salle 7 - Hôtel Drouot - 75009
Tessier & Sarrou et Associés
Gazette Drouot
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