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Long a premier source for Samurai swords and all the associated fittings, Flying Cranes Antiques have a special collection on sale at their showrooms at the Manhattan Art & Antiques Center, 1050 Second Avenue at 56th Street, until the end of April.

On offer in gallery 55 and 56 are up to 50 swords of all types, blades and tsuba. Included are some rare blades by noted swordsmiths as well as elaborately mounted examples.

The wide choice of tsuba (iron guards) includes examples crafted by members of the important schools such as the Myochin, Namban and Shoami.

Clifford and Jean Schaefer, owners of Flying Cranes, feel that the potential buyer must actually handle the sword to get a feel of the whole thing, and they will gladly offer this “hands on” experience.

Right: Three elaborately mounted Japanese tantos, the shortest form of Samurai sword which was used for close combat and for piercing armour in hand-to-hand fighting, all on offer at Flying Cranes Antiques. At the top is a papered Koto period blade in gold lacquer saya, the scabbard signed Kanemoto; the central 19th century alkuchi-mounted tanto is in lacquered saya
simulating wood bark, and at the bottom is an alkuchi-mounted tanto with a silver dragon in high relief. Fine examples, but not for the novice since the cheapest of these three is $10,000.