This is a beautiful katana from the well-known Gassan school, whose lineage traces back to the Kamakura period. It embodies the style and workmanship that have made their work so well respected and appreciated by collectors.
The Gassan name carries great prestige. Gassan Sadakazu was an esteemed craftsman with the rank of Imperial Court Artisans. Gassan Sadakatsu, his son, himself trained two Living National Treasures. Today, Gassan Sadatoshi continues this proud tradition, mesmerizing the world with his breathtaking creations from the forge.
The earliest part of the Gassan school is known as Ko-Gassan. This particular katana showcases the distinguishing features of the Gassan school, dating back to koto times. The ayasugi hada creates undulating curves that gracefully flow through the blade, intersecting with the hamon, showing the essence of the Gassan style.
In the koto times, individual smiths within the Gassan lineage often signed with the school name only, leading to the loss of many individual names over time. This katana does not bear a mei but is fully intact in length.
The sword expert Fujishiro bestowed upon the koto school a blanket rating of Chu-jo saku, signifying above-average workmanship. This katana has been given Hozon papers by the NBTHK, confirming its authenticity and quality. Maintaining its original state (ubu with two mekugi-ana), this sword serves as a representative piece of the Gassan school, and is a very desirable sword for any collection.
Gassan Sadakazu katana
Teishitsu Gigeiin (Imperial Court Artisan)
Gassan Sadakazu at the Age of 79 (Kao).
Dated Taisho 3, 8th month.
Forged for use and protection of Kojima Hakutaro.
Hamon : choji-midare
Mounting: shirasaya and gold foiled habaki.
Description: An exceptional sword by the Imperial Court Artisan (similar to Living National Treasure) smith in Bizen Tradition. Sadakazu was born in 1836 in Omi province and was adopted when he was 7 by Gassan Sadayoshi after his father passed away. In 1906 he was appointed Imperial Court Artisan. He passed away in 1918 at the age of 84. This sword made in 1913 was perhaps one of the last of his work and the elegance and grace of this blade speaks to his illustrious career.
Gassan Sadakazu is one of the highest ranked sword smiths of the 19th/20th centuries. Born in 1836, Sadakazu began sword- making lessons at age 11 and produced swords of superior quality until his death in 1918 at 84 years of age. He gained the title of Imperial Arts and Crafts Expert and was sword maker to the emperor. This sword is an exquisite example of his expertise. Very few of Sadakazu’s works hit the open market, and we are very proud to offer this one. Produced in the style of a Bizen tachi, this blade is flawless, showing extremely tight mokume hada almost to the point of muji. The hamon is a wonderfully active and flowing choji. The blade has been well cared for since being made and is very healthy. The current polish is over 40 years old but is still clear, crisp and bright. No stains, chips, bends or cracks; flawless workmanship. We believe that this sword was made to be mounted in western style koshirae because of its elegant, slender nature. It comes in a high quality shirasaya with sayagaki. The nakago is masterfully engraved with the date of manufacture (1914) and states that Sadakazu was an Imperial Court Artisan and was 79 years old when he made this sword. The information on the tang also states that this sword was a custom order and made for Kojima Hakutaro. He obviously was a man of means and importance to custom order a sword from the maker to the Imperial household. Accompanying the sword is a Kicho certificate from the N.B.T.H.K. verifying the authenticity of the signature. The papers are dated 1959. Back then a sword made in the 20th century had to be top quality to get papers of any kind.