We have all the different types of samurai swords for sale, including katana swords, wakizashi swords, tanto swords, nodachi swords, zatoichi swords, iaito swords and shirasaya swords. Some of our samurai swords are sold as sets - these samurai sword sets typically contain a katana, wakizashi and tanto that share a common theme or design.
The samurai swords for sale, such as the tanto, wakizashi, katana sword and tachi, are classified using the Japanese measurement unit, the shaku. Further delineations can be made by identifying the mountings used, such as shira-saya, buke-zuchuri or ken, the oldest and most rare of mounting styles.
When considering the length of samurai swords, one must be familiar with the Japanese measuring system. When measuring items, the Japanese often use a unit of measurement called a shaku. One shaku is 11.93 inches, or approximately 1 foot. The longest samurai sword for sale is called a daito, and is over two shaku in length. These samurai weapons are difficult for the swordsmith to temper because of their great length. However, a well-made daito is a samurai warrior's main weapon and is a deadly force on the battlefield. This variety of samurai sword is the longer of the two swords commonly worn by a samurai warrior.
Samurai sword for sale that are between one and two shaku is length are called wakazashi swords. While this variety is sometimes worn by a warrior as an auxiliary weapon, they were far more commonly used by the non-samurai classes, who were only allowed to carry one sword, and it had to be below two shaku in length.
The last length classification is any samurai sword that is below one shaku in length. This weapon is called a tanto. A tanto is the shorter of the two swords carried by a japanese samurai, and would serve as a secondary weapon, in case of the seizure of failure of their daito.
In addition to lengths, our samurai swords for sale can also be classified into six further classifications, based on their mountings. A mounting is considered all the furniture of a sword, excluding the blade. These classifications are Ken mountings, Jindachi-Zukuri mountings, Buke-Zukuri mountings, Shira-Saya mountings, Gunto, Kyu-gunto mountings, Kaigunto mountings, and Shikomi-Zue mountings.
Ken mountings are the oldest known samurai sword mountings and were found on swords produced before 900 A.D., also known as the Ancient Sword period. Examples of these mountings are extremely rare.
Jindachi-Zukuri mountings are found on the samurai sword of the Old Sword era, which was between 900 and 1530 a.d. During the time, it was quite common for the warrior to wear his blade in his sash, and to accommodate this, the scabbards on these swords had two rings to accommodate the cords of the sash to pass through, so that they could be suspended from the hip.
Buke-Zukuri mountings are found on the handmade samurai sword of the New Sword period, which is from 1531 to 1867. These swords were also worn in the sash, but were not suspended from the hip like the samurai sword of the Old Sword era. The blade was simply slipped through the sash on the left hip, therefore making rings on the scabbard useless. So as such, the rings were removed from the scabbards of weapons from this era. Also, the handles were covered in strips of leather or some variety of tape to allow the wielder to have a strong, solid grip, as to have as steady a hand as possible while engaging his enemy in combat.
Of all the varieties of the samurai sword mountings, this is the most common. The scabbard was quite utilitarian, often crafted with pockets to hold chopsticks, a utility knife and a skewer, called a kogai. The kogai is the item holding the samurai’s hair bun in place when he is in formal dress. Many illustrations and paintings of a samurai warrior depict him with a kogai in his hair. Another utilitarian feature found on the japanese katana sword of this era is a small projecting section at the end of the handle that was used as both a letter opener and an ear cleaner. Even though the warrior could sometimes accommodate all three items in his scabbard, it was far more common to only carry two of the items.
Shira-Saya mountings are made out of plain wood, and generally lack any ornate artistry or engraving. These mountings are intended to replace damaged mountings, and a samurai sword with this type of mounting generally didn’t have a guard. Shira-Saya mountings were produced after the Meiji restoration, and it is considered that the artisans and swordsmiths of this era didn’t possess the skill to create the elaborate mountings of their ancestors. While convenient for protecting a blade from the elements, these mountings were undesirable because they were so plain.
A Gunto sword is a samurai sword only in its broadest sense. After the Meiji restoration, the samurai class evolved into Japan’s army and navy. These modern warriors did indeed carry swords, but they were of the western saber variety, and instead of being a handmade samurai sword, they were mass-produced at factories. These weapons had regular military mountings and were vastly inferior to their handcrafted ancestors.
Kyu-Gunto mountings are found on proto-army swords. The scabbard was chrome-plated. Much like the samurai sword of yore, these samurai weapons had handles that were wrapped in animal hide, and then wrapped with wire. However, these modern weapons were wrapped in shark or ray skin and in turn wrapped with a gold-color wire. Officers who engaged in combat between 1895 and 1906 would use a samurai sword that featured either traditional military mountings, or Kyu-Gunto mountings.
Kaigunto mountings were featured on the Japanese sword used by the navy. These swords were also mass-produced and featured almost no ornament and are considered absolutely valueless to the collector.
The last mounting is called Shikomi-Zue, and these were all produced after the Meiji Restoration. These were swords crafted to look like a cane when they were in their scabbard. They were almost all of poor quality and are also considered nearly valueless.
There are several different varieties of samurai swords, all unique and interesting, but the most valuable weapons are those crafted before the Meiji restoration, when the samurai sword was a truly remarkable and priceless weapon.