A poignant and rare Japanese sword is one of the highlight lots for sale in Surrey auctioneers Ewbank’s Asian Art sale on July 11.
Hammond and the team of experts at Ewbank’s, consider then, that perhaps the most surprising story of this blade therefore, is that it came to be made at all.
“Similar blades are even known with a February 1945 date, but again this was also a month of severe military reverse, witnessing both the invasion of Iwo Jima Island by the US Marine Corps, and the crossing of the Irrawaddy River in Burma by British Forces,” said Hammond.
It is the missions of Japan’s Special Attack Units, organised by Vice-Admiral Onishi Takijiro, that are the most well known operations of 1944. From the October 27, 1944 to January 6, 1945, these Kamikaze attacks were intended to halt the progress of Allied Forces in the Pacific, in just the same way that the Kamikaze Divine Wind had stopped Kublai Khan’s attempted invasions of Japan in 1274 and 1281. The Kamikaze were unsuccessful, but were a measure of the desperation and uncertainty that characterised Japan at this moment.
With a pre-sale estimate of between £300 and £500, the blade appears in its original regulation mounts with its scabbard and fittings extant. It was probably one of many blades that were laid down during the surrender ceremonies that took place right across Asia, from Thaton in Burma to Saigon in Indo-China, and Kuala Lumpur in Malaya, during 1945.
Alongside the sword is a wide variety of art and ceramics in the sale, including both those for Chinese taste, bearing the marks of Qing Emperors, and those for European taste comprising the teapots, tea caddies and tea bowls.
One particular lot, of note includes three of the saleroom catalogues for two of the most famous and celebrated collections of the 20th century, from Mrs Alfred Clark and E.T.Chow, which have been valued at between £50 and £80.