Kiriha Style, Exquisite Horimono
With a cutting edge of only 6 7/10 inches long the second Sadakatsu blade is an absolute little gem. It is made in rare kiriha style and features exquisite horimono by Sadakatsu himself. One side features a dragon carved in deep relief and the other a perfect ken sword. The horimono appears to be flat spotted around the dragons head and feet from polish but was actually carved that way probably to allow for the small size of the tanto. The work is flawless. The inscription on the tang says that the horimono was by Sadakatsu and the blade was a special order piece. Interestingly the name of the person that the blade was made for is partially obscured by a meticulously filled almost invisible second mekugiana (peg hole). Wouldn't you love to know the story behind that bit of intrigue? The blade is dated May of 1943 which is the year that Sadakatsu died at the age of 74. This is one of the last pieces he made. I have not seen a piece of his dated later than this. It may in fact be his last. If anybody has knowledge of a Sadakatsu dated later than this please let me know. This blade also has NBTHK Tokubetsu Kicho papers dated 1976. Tokubetsu Kicho papers were one step below Juyo. This is very high praise indeed for a twentieth century blade.
I will be featuring another very special Sadakatsu soon. It is in the hands of master polisher Jimmy Hayashi and we expect to get it back sometime this summer. If you want a little advance tease on what's coming break out your copy of "Modern Japanese Swordsmiths 1868-1945" by John Scott Slough and turn to page 140. Yep! That's the one! It's gonna knock your socks off!!