A superb kozuka (handle for the knife that fits into the katana scabbard), dating from the Edo period (1615-1868).
It is magnificently decorated with the image of Bodhidharma (Daruma, in Japanese), considered the father of Zen Buddhism. The kozuka is made of silver and shakudo, with gold inlaid to highlight the robe and eyes of the patriarch. Bamboo leaves are also incised into the metal, above his head. The superbly designed kozuka is a work of superior craftsmanship.
The handle is signed Naoyoshi, in the lower back. Sano Naoyoshi was a metalworker active during the middle to last part of the Edo period. He studied under Nakamura Naonori and worked for the Akimoto clan of the Yamagata domain. At one point, he lived in the Shirogane area of Edo.
The blade is signed “Tsuda Echizen-no-kami Sukehiro”, a recognized second generation swordsmith active during the first part of the Edo period. The nakago was wrapped in paper for a better fit in the kozuka. I left it as it was.
Please let me know if you have some questions.
The kozuka is in good condition with some traces of corrosion, and the gold has worn off on some parts of the handle (see pictures). The blade shows obvious signs of its age, but still cuts very well.
Dimensions: kozuka 9.8 x 1.5 x 0.3 cm (3.9 x 0.6 x 0.12 in), weight 24 g (0.84 oz); blade: full length 20.2 cm (8.1 in), weight 8 g (0.3 oz)
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