Sale 3832
Samurai Swords and Armour: A Refined Art
Online 20 November - 4 December 2014

This sword is a fine example of the highest art of the sword smith.
The sword smith Tadayoshi of Hizen province was born in 1574 as Hashimoto Shinzaemon, the son of a swordsmith of Nagase named Michihiro . On Michihiro's death the thirteen year old Shinzaemon was recognized as a valuable young man of good family by the Nabeshima daimyo of Hizen who allowanced him the substantial yearly income of 13 koku of rice. When he was twenty five in 1596 Nabeshima Katsushige arranged for him to go to Kyoto where he lived for three years studying sword making under the great master of the shinto era, Umetada Myoju. He duly returned from Kyoto together with a household of fifteen relatives and around sixty retainers, moving from his home at Nagase to live in the castle town of Saga, where lord Nabeshima was domiciled. He adopted the name Tadayoshi, using the character Tada from the name Umetada of his teacher in Kyoto. His great skill earned him the honorific title Musashi Daijo bestowed on him in Kyoto in 1624. He then took the name Tadahiro, and changed his clan name from Minamoto to Fujiwara. He made swords as a retainer of the Nabeshima clan and became famous throughout Japan during his lifetime, His sons and pupils (lots 36 and 37) established branch schools which continued alongside the main Tadayoshi beyond the end of the feudal era and the Meiji Restoration of 1868. This sword was made just months before Tadayoshi died in 1632 aged just sixty one. For this reason alone the sword is a most valuable historical document and testament to both the Hizen sword tradition and the wisdom of the Nabeshima family in sponsoring Tadayoshi and later generations of branches of the family throughout their lives.
The fine and pure quality of the jigane of Hizen swords was maintained throughout the Edo period, and became known as konuka hada, in allusion to the white lady's facial cosmetic made from rice powder. The Nabeshima similarly sponsored other industries with the understanding that the craftsmen should never leave the province on pain of death, thereby ensuring continuity of the various craft traditions. Through this means the domain flourished and produced goods for export both within Japan and overseas, and built up unmatched civil industries. The purity of white Hizen porcelain parallels the clarity of the konuka hada of Hizen swords, and potters at kilns established in places like Hirado and Arita similarly preserved their tradition throughout the Edo period just as the sword smiths did. Among the finest Hizen porcelain is that which has become known as Nabeshima - the potters themselves adopting the name Nabeshima. Nabeshima porcelain was made predominantly for the use of the daimyo and his favored families. Such porcelain is known as kenjo (presentation ware). Since this sword does not bear the title Musashi daijo in the signature it is known to be such a kenjo piece, made specially at the behest of the daimyo, and likely intended as a gift to a daimyo of another province. Like Hizen porcelain the swords retained the beauty of fine jigane introduced by Tadayoshi throughout the Edo period.
The inscription on the tang includes a gold inlaid record of a later cutting test made by Nagahisa of the Yamano family of professional sword testers of Edo. It states that Nagahisa successfully cut through two bodies with it, probably commissioned during one of the daimyo's annual sojourns in Edo. The practice of testing the cutting efficacy of swords on either the living or dead bodies of condemned criminals was established in Japan centuries well before the date of this 17th century test. Yamano Nagahisa (1697 -1667) had been officially appointed for the office by the Tokugawa government and was able to undertake commissions to test swords for private individuals, invariably daimyo or their appointed retainers during the middle to latter part of the seventeenth century. Nagahisa and the second generation, Hisahide, tested swords made by the great Edo smiths of the time including Kotetsu, Izumi no kami Kaneshige, Yamato no kami Kanesada, and Kozuke no suke Kaneshige . These swords were inscribed with gold inlaid records of the cutting tests , including details of which part of the bodies were cut through. Hisahide was to introduce Yamada Asaemon to the terrible art, and the Yamada family continued in the practice until the Meiji period. The present sword is unique in not only being one of the last blades made by Tadayoshi (Tadahiro) before his death in 1632, but in being one of the last blades recorded to be tested by Yamano Nagahisa before his death some decades later in 1667. Such efficacy of the sword as a cutting weapon is testimony to the essence of the Japanese aesthetic in that beauty in arts and crafts results from the pursuit of technical excellence. Although no longer primarily a weapon the Japanese sword so highly regarded in the distant past is still appreciated in this modern age as a timeless and universal work of art. This sword by the first and greatest generation of the Tadayoshi school lineage embodies this Japanese aesthetic and can only be described as a masterpiece of the sword smith's art.

Click here to watch vintage 1930s film of the making of a samurai sword.

Additional Charge Details

Additional charges, including buyer’s premium, valued added, sales or compensating use tax or equivalent tax, any and all shipping expenses, including costs, packing and handling, any loss damage liability fees, and all other applicable charges will apply.

In addition to the hammer price, the buyer agrees to pay to us the buyer’s premium together with any applicable value added tax, sales, or compensating use tax or equivalent tax in the place of sale. The buyer’s premium is 25% of the hammer price of each lot up to and including $100,000, 20% of the excess of the hammer price above $100,000 and up to and including $2,000,000, and 12% of the excess of the hammer price above $2,000,000.

New York Sales tax or valued added tax, sales or compensating use tax of any applicable jurisdiction will be collected before the lot can be released. It is the buyer's responsibility to ascertain and pay all taxes due.
For international buyers, the terms of sale are Delivered Duty Unpaid (DDU) and duty and sales tax will be the sole responsibility of the buyer to be paid prior to shipment and/or delivery.

The winning bidder will also be responsible for any and all shipping expenses, including costs, packing and handling, and any loss damage liability fees. Provided that your purchased lots are paid for in full, cleared funds by the payment deadline, Christie’s will store your lots free of charge until the relevant deadline for shipment, at which time purchases will be shipped to you at your expense and pursuant to the instructions you provide at time of payment. Christie's will provide loss damage liability for purchased lots when arrangements are made for such lots to be shipped to you at a rate of 1% (one percent) of the total purchase price. This will be charged at check-out and will cover loss, theft, damage or breakage.

Payment Information

Payment:
You must pay the full amount due (comprising the hammer price, buyer’s premium, any applicable value added, sales or compensating use tax or equivalent tax, any and all shipping expenses, including costs, packing and handling, any loss damage liability fees and all other applicable charges) no later than 11:59 p.m. (EST) on Monday, December 8th, 2014. This applies even if you wish to export the lot and an export license is, or may be, required. You will not acquire title and own the lot until all amounts due to Christie’s have been received by Christie’s in full, cleared funds.

All payments must be made by credit card. We will accept credit cards with a MasterCard, Visa, Discover (including Diners Club International and JCB), American Express or China Union Pay (if the China Union Pay credit card has a Visa or MasterCard logo) logo. Other methods of payment will not be accepted. Christie’s will only accept payment from the registered bidder – individual or entity. If you registered and bid as an entity in accordance with the Conditions of Sale and Terms of Use, the entity will need to pay for any purchases via a credit card issued to the entity account.

Delivery:
Provided that your purchased lots are paid for in full, cleared funds by the payment deadline, Christie’s will store your purchased lots free of charge until the relevant deadline for shipment, at which time purchases will be shipped to you at your expense and pursuant to the instructions you provided at the time of payment. You must indicate if you wish to have your purchases shipped domestically or internationally at the time of check-out. Payment for your purchase, including any applicable charges for shipping, and a provision of your final shipping destination, must be returned to Christie’s by the payment deadline to qualify for this extended free-of-charge storage. If shipping arrangements have not been confirmed for any items sold or such items have not been paid for in full, cleared funds by the payment deadline, administration and handling fees may be charged at Christie’s full discretion. If such shipments can be facilitated, purchases will be shipped to the address you provide at check-out. Purchases cannot be delivered to P.O. boxes. Shipment of your purchases will be initiated within 5 business days upon receipt of payment. Notification of shipment will be sent to the email address entered at the time of registration.

In addition to the hammer price, buyer’s premium and any applicable value added, sales or compensating use tax or equivalent tax, you will be responsible for any and all shipping expenses, including costs, packing and handling, and any loss damage liability fees, as well as other applicable charges. Christie’s will provide loss damage liability for purchased lots when arrangements are made for such lots to be shipped or delivered to you at a rate of 1% (one percent) of the total purchase price. This will be charged at check-out and will cover loss, theft, damage or breakage.

Non-payment:
If the buyer fails to make payment in full, cleared funds by the payment deadline, Christie’s will be entitled in Christie’s absolute discretion to exercise one or more of the following rights or remedies (in addition to asserting any other rights or remedies available to us by law):
(i) To charge interest at such rate as we shall reasonably decide;
(ii) To hold the defaulting buyer liable for the total amount due and to commence legal proceedings for its recovery together with interest, legal fees and costs to the fullest extent permitted under applicable law;
(iii) To cancel the sale;
(iv) To resell the property publicly or privately on such terms as Christie’s and the seller shall think fit, and the buyer shall be liable for payment of any deficiency between the total amount originally due to us and the price obtained upon resale as well as for all costs, expenses, damages, legal fees and commissions and premiums of whatever kind associated with both sales or otherwise arising from the default;
(v) To pay to the seller an amount up to the net proceeds payable in respect of the amount bid by the defaulting buyer;
(vi) To set off against any amounts which we, or Christie’s International plc, or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries or parent companies worldwide, may owe to the buyer in any other transactions, the outstanding amount remaining unpaid by the buyer;
(vii) To reject at any future auction any bids made by or on behalf of the buyer or to obtain a deposit from the buyer before accepting any bids.
(viii) To exercise all the rights and remedies of a person holding security over any property in our possession owned by the buyer, whether by way of pledge, security interest or in any other way, to the fullest extent permitted by the law of the place where such property is located. The buyer will be deemed to have granted such security to us and we may retain such property as collateral security for such buyer's obligations to us; and/or
(ix) To take such other action as we deem necessary or appropriate.

Conditions of Sale
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