The red circle indicates the area we discuss in this chapter
It is very rare to see a Tanto (短刀dagger) made during the Heian period. During the middle Kamakura period, a large number of high-quality Tanto were made. They were called Takenoko-zori shaped Tanto. Takenoko means bamboo shoot. The back of the Tanto curves inward slightly.
Sugata (shape)———- Hirazukuri. It means there is no Shinogi, Yokote line. See the illustration above. The standard Tanto size is about 10 inches. The width is not too wide, not too narrow, very well-balanced size. The body is slightly thick. High Gyo-no-mune (行の棟) and Shin-no-mune (真の棟)
Hamon (刃文) —————-The tempered area is narrow. Nie base. Suguha-midare (straight line pattern with an irregular wavy pattern) or Suguha-choji (straight line pattern with small Choji). The tempered edge line may show a frayed look.
Boshi(tempered line at Kissaki area) ———Yakizume, Kaen, Nie-kuzure.
Engravings (彫刻 ) ———- Often, different kinds of engravings are done at the lower part of the body. These may be a groove or two grooves, Sanskrit, Suken (spear), dragon, etc. For Sanskrit and spear, look at the illustration inside Chapter 8.
Tanto Swordsmiths in the Middle Kamakura Period
Awataguchi group(粟田口)———————————Awataguchi Yoshimitu (粟田口吉光) Rai group (来) ——————————————————————-Rai Kunitoshi(来国俊) Soushu Group (相州) ——————————————Shintougo Kunimitu (新藤五国光) Bizen group (備前) —————————————————— Bizen Kagemitu (備前景光) Bungo no Kuni Group (豊後の国) ——————–Bungo-no-kuni Yukihira (豊後の国行平)
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2 thoughts on “12| The Middle Kamakura Period: Tanto (Dagger 鎌倉中期短刀）”
congratulations! You started a very good work which will be helpful for many collectors! Did you ever think of publishing this in book form? Then a review of a native English speaker might be helpful. Also, some terms should be looked upon more closely. An example:
13|Tanto (dagger 短刀) Middle Kamakura Period
Dagger always have two cutting edges, so ‘fighting knife’ might be more appropriate as translation for TANTO.
Kind regards, from Germany,
P.S. I am a longtime collector of TSUBA and a fewJapanese blades. My profession is classic blade smith and experimental archaeologist.
Thank you very much for your comment. I really appreciate it. Sorry to be late to answer to your comment.
In the beginning, I was hoping someday I can publish in book form, but I am losing the confidence. When I read back my old chapter, I am not sure if it is worth continue writing. But I came this far, I will continue to the end. I am looking into somebody who does edit in good English. Thank you very much for your comment.