The circle indicates the time we discuss in this section
During the Nanboku-Cho period, Samurai demanded a large, elaborate, and impressive yet practical sword. The Soshu Den style sword in Nanboku-cho time was just that. This type was the most popular style then. The Nanboku-cho period was the height of the Soshu Den. Many swordsmiths moved from other provinces to the Kamakura area and forged the Soshu Den style swords. Other schools and regions outside the Kamakura area also made the Soshu Den style swords in their own places.
Sugata (姿: Shape)———-The original length of 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 blade is called O-suriage.
The Nanboku-cho style sword has a shallow Kyo-zori (also called Torii-zori). Refer to Chapter 5 |Heian Period: Swords. The highest curvature comes around the middle of the body. A wide-body, high Shinogi, narrow Shinogi-Ji (Refer to Chapter 3 Names of Parts). The thin Kasane (thickness of the body) is the 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) ——– Often, a single Hi (Bo-hi), double Hi, Suken (dagger), Bonji (Sanscrit), and/or Dragon are engraved on the Shinogi-Ji area. Refer to Chapter 3 Names of Parts.
Hamon (刃: Tempered line) —- The lower part of the body shows a narrow-tempered line; gradually, the tempered line becomes wider and showy. Course Nie. O-midare (large irregular wavy Hamon), Notare-midare (wavy, irregular Hamon), Gunome-midare (a mix of repeated half-circular and irregular Hamon). Inazuma, Kinsuji (refer to Chapter 14 Late Kamakura Period: Sword (鎌倉末太刀)) sometimes appears.
*From Sano Museum Catalogue ( Permission granted).
Ji-hada (地肌: Area between Shino-gi and tempered line) ———————-Wood-grain pattern (Itame 板目). Sometimes Tobiyaki (patchy tempered spots) appears on Ji-hada. For Ji-hada, refer to Chapter 3 Names of parts.
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 pattern), 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 engraving trace of Suken on the Nakago indicates this area was once a part of the main body.
- Large and Long kissaki