The circle indicate the time we are discussing in this section
During the Nanboku-Cho period, Samurais demanded large, elaborate, and impressive, yet practical sword. The Soshu-Den style sword in Nanbochi-Cho time was just that. This is the most popular style then. The Nanboku-Cho period was the height of the Soshu Den. Many swordsmiths moved from other provinces to Kamakura area and forged the Soshu-Den style swords. Other schools and provinces outside Kamakura area also made the Soshu–Den style swords in their own places.
Sugata ( 姿: Shape)———-The original length of a swords was 3, 4, or 5, feet long, but shortened to approximately two and a half feet long at a later time. A greatly shortened sword is called O-Suriage.
The Nanboku-Cho style sword has a shallow Kyo-zori (also called Torii-zori). Refer Chapter 6 Heian period. The highest curvature comes around the middle of the body. A wide body, high Shinogi, narrow Shinogi-Ji. Refer Chapter 4 Names of parts. The thin body called Kasane is a distinctive feature for the Nanboku-cho style. High Gyo-no-mune or Shin-no-mune, sometimes Maru-Mune (round back).
Hi (樋: groove) and Horimono (彫刻: engraving)—– On Shinogi-Ji area (refer to Chapter 4 Names of parts), often a single hi (Bo-hi), double hi, Suken (dagger), Bonji (Sanscrit), Dragon are engraved.
Hamon (刃: Tempered line) —- The lower part of the body shows a narrow tempered line, with the higher part shows a wider showy tempered line. Course Nie. O-midare (large irregular hamon), Notare-midare (wavy irregular hamon), Gunome-midare (a mix of repeated half circular and irregular hamon). Inazuma, Kinsuji (refer to Chapter 15 Late Kamakura Period sword) also sometimes appears
*From Sano Museum Catalogue ( Permission granted).
Jihada (地肌: Area between shinogi and tempered line) Refer to Chapter 4 Names of parts——Wood grain pattern (Itame 板目). Sometimes Tobiyaki, a patchy tempered spot(s) appears on jihada.
Kissaki (切っ先) and Boshi (Tempered line at Kissaki area) —– O-Kissaki (long and large kissaki). Fukura kareru (less arc). Midare-komi (body and boshi have a similar tempered line), with kaeri fukashi (hamon deeply turns back), sometimes Hitatsura (entirely tempered). See the above illustration.
Sword-smiths during Nanboku-Cho Period Soshu Den (school)
From Soshu———————————————————Hiromitsu (広光) Akihiro (秋広) From Yamashiro ————————————————–Hasebe Kunishige (長谷部国重) From Bizen (called So-den Bizen)————-Chogi (長儀 )group Kanemitsu (兼光 ) group From Chikuzen —————————————————————-Samoji (左文字 ) group
The distinctive characteristics of the Nanboku-Cho period sword on the photo above
- The trace of an engraving of Suken on the nakago indicates that this area was once a part of the main body.
- Long kissak