This is a small tantô with the blade measuring 4.875 inches. The overall length of the tantô in its koshirae is 8.875 inches. The hada is a fine itame and the hamon is gunome. The blade is signed Sôshû Jû Masahiro, but the signature is questionable at best.
The validity of the mei is neither here nor there as the real value and charm of this little tantô is the koshirae. The kojiri and the kashira are solid silver. The center pieces of the saya (fuchi and koijiri) are old ivory. The habaki is solid silver. The charm of this tantô the quality of the lacquer work which is dark black and done in the form of a tree trunk. This tree trunk is teeming with little solid silver ants climbing on it and appearing and disappearing into the trunk. There are twelve of them in whole or part (the ones entering or exiting the trunk) are depicted as either the front half or the rear half of the ant. Very clever.
The overall condition of this tantô is excellent and it will make a wonderful addition to any collection as it is a splendid piece of art as well as being a functional tantô.