East Asia, Japan, World War II era, Type 98, ca. 1938 to 1945 CE. A forged-carbon-steel Gunto type 98 katana, a sword typology developed for use by soldiers in the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II. The lengthy handle (tsuka) is wrapped with stingray skin (same) and a cherry blossom ornament (menuki) inside cotton straps (tsuka-ito) with a suspension loop piercing the pommel end. An openwork hand guard with four points (aoi gata tsuba) forms a barrier between the handle and the painted iron sheath (saya). The shobu-zukuri blade has a lower ridge line than typical shinogi-zukuri blades, a diamond-shaped (iori-mune) profile, and a lightly curved (chu-kissaki) tip. A gentle wave (notare-hamon) formed by the tight-grained hammer-folding process (itame-hada) runs the length of the blade. Size: 2.875" W x 38.6" H (7.3 cm x 98 cm); (blade): 27.2" L (69.1 cm).
Provenance: private J.H. collection, Beaverton, Oregon, USA
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