25| Sengoku Period Tanto (戦国時代)

 

25 Sengoku period Time line red

The red circle indicates the time we discuss in this section

25 Chukanzori Tanto

Chukan-zori (中間反り) ————— Chukan-zori tanto has a straight mune(back), its back does not curve forward or outward unlike Takenoko-zori, Chukan-zoridoes.   

Hamon (刃文: Tempered line) ———–Sanbon-sugi (三本杉), O-notare (大湾), Yahazu-midare (矢筈乱), Hako-midare (箱乱),  Gunome-choji (互の目丁子),  Chu-suguha (中直刃)  See below.

24 Sannbon sugi,hako, yahazu, O-midare)

Horimono (彫り物: Carving) —————Often hi (grooves) is curved

Tanto Length ———————— The length of a tanto should be up to one shaku* (approx. 12 inches, 30.5cm).  Standard size tanto is called Jo-sun Tanto, which is 8.5 shaku (approx. 10 inches, 25.7cm).  Longer than Jo-sun is called Sun-nobi Tanto (寸延)Shorter than Jo-sun is called Sun-zumari Tanto (寸詰).

                             Sun-nobi Tanto  >  Jo-sun Tanto  >  Sun-zumari Tanto

*Shaku is a Japanese old measurement unit for length.

Takenoko-zori Jo-sun Tanto (筍反定寸) ———– This type of tanto was made during the Sengoku period.  This type of sword resembles the sword made by Rai Kunimitsu of Yamashiro Den.  (Below illustration)

Hamon (刃文)———–Hoso-suguha (細直刃: Narrow straight hamon).  Katai-ha (illustration below) shows somewhere on the blade.  Masamehada (Straight grain pattern) may appear on the mune side.

 

                  13 Middle Kamakura Period Tanto                 24 Suguha katai-ha

 

Ji-hada (地肌: Area between shinogi and tempered line)——— Shirake (白け) whitish surface) sometimes appears.  Uturi (the whitish faint cloud-like effect) on Ji-hada  appears.

Sun-nobi Tanto (寸延短刀)———Tanto of this type is similar to the Sakizori tanto which is the one from the late Soshu Den style.  You may see hitatsura (see below illustration).   But unlike Soshu Den, the hitatsura type hamon shows more on the lower part of the tanto, less on the upper part.

 

                                             25 Sun-Nobi Tanto      25 Hitatsura

Hirazukuri Takenokozori Sunzumari Tanto (平造筍反寸延短刀)

This is a unique tanto for the Sengoku period.   Hirazukuri means a flat surface sword without a shinogi, no yokote line, or no obvious kissaki.   Takenoko-zori means the shape of a bamboo shoot (back of the sword curves inward).   Sun-zumari means shorter than 10 inches long (shorter than 8.5 shaku, 25.7 cm).  The width of the lower part of the blade is wide and thick, the width of the tip is narrow and thin.  It has a sharp look.

  •  Horimono(彫り物: Carving) ——-Deeply carved Ken-maki-ryu (a dragon wrapped around a spear).
  • Hamon (刃文: Tempered line)———Wide tempered line, nioi base.  Irregular hamon, wide suguha (straight) and Chu-suguha (medium straight).  The hamon in the boshi area turns back deep.
  • Ji-hada (地肌)———–fine and wood burl.

Moroha-Tanto (諸刃短刀: double-edged sword)

Double-edged blade with a hamon on both edges. Often bonji (sanscrit) is curved.

  • Hamon (刃文) ——— Wide tempered line.   Nioi base.  Irregular hamon, wide suguha (straight) and Chu-suguha (medium straight).  Hamon turns back deep.
  • Ji-hada (地鉄)——- Fine and wood burl.

 

25-moroha-tanto1 Moroha Tanto

Name of swordsmith during the Sengoku Period (Tanto maker)

Swords during the Sengoku period are called the Sue-bizen sword.  Bizen Osafune Yoso Zaemon Sukesada (与三左衛門祐定) is the representative swordsmith during the Sengoku period.  He also forged tantos.  One thing to point out is that there were many swordsmiths called Sukesada.  Yoso-Zaemon Sukesada is the most representative swordsmith.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

24| Sengoku Period Sword(戦国時代)

24 Sengoku period Time Line

The circle indicate the time we are discussing in this section

After the Onin-no-Ran, Kyoto was in a devastating condition.  Distinguished swordsmiths in Kyoto area were almost all gone.  Sengoku Daimyo (warlord or feudal lord) demanded a large number of swords from nearby.  Mino and Bizen area were the active sword making places during the Sengoku time.  It was because the Mino province was located in a convenient place from the area of many feudal lords.  Also, the Shizu Group from Yamato Den (school) moved to the Mino province.  Tegai Kaneyoshi from Yamato Den moved to Mino and many swordsmiths from Yamashiro and Yamato area moved to Mino.  Thus, Mino could supply the high demand for a large number of swords.  During this wartime, Samurai demanded a practical sword that do not bend, break and cut well, a very practical sword.  Together with swordsmiths of Mino area, Bizen Osafune swordsmiths fulfilled the huge demand.

Chumon-Uchi and Kazu-Uchi-Mono.

Kazu-Uchi-Mono was a sword made just good enough for one battle. They were not made for permanent preservation.  Whereas Chumon-Uchi was an order made swords.  Sound shape, good forging, often engraved the swordsmith’s name and the name of a person who ordered it.

24 Sword shape (Sengoku period )

Mino-Den characteristics

Sugata (姿:shape) —– Shallow curvature, Low Gyo-no-mune, Chu-kissaki with Fukura. The width and the thickness are not too wide not too thick.  Engraving is rare in Mino Den.  In Bizen Den, the bottom of the Bo-hi (single groove) shows round end (see the last photo) just above the machi area (for machi, see the diagram in  4 Names of parts).

13 Mune drawing

Hamon (Tempered line 刃文)

Mino-Den ——–Mostly nioi.  Pointed gunome (Sanbon-sugi), O-notare, Yahazu-midare, Hako-midare (box shape), Chu-suguha with Katai-ha.  See the illustration below.  Also, Mino Koshi-ba.  That is Sugu-ha about 1 inch at the bottom, followed by irregular, then the top becomes Chu-suguha).

Bizen-Den ———-Mostly nioi. Wide tempered line. Koshi-hiraita-midare.  See the illustration below.

Mino-Den Hamon

24 Sannbon sugi,hako, yahazu, O-midare)24 Suguha katai-ha

 

Bizen-Den Hamon

22Hamon (Koshi Hiraita midare)
from Sano Museum Catalogue

Boshi —————————Turn back deep.  Jizo-boshi (side view of a head), Ko-maru (small round), kaeri-yoru (lean)

24 jizo-boshi Keri-yoru

Ji-hada ( 地肌: Area between shinogi and tempered area)————-Mokume (wood burl) mixed with masame (straght grain).  often shows masame on shinogi area.  Sometimes, Mokume stands out.

Swordsmiths during Sengoku Period

Mino-Den————Magoroku Kanemoto (孫六兼元) Izuminokami Knesada (和泉守兼定) Bizen-Den—-Yosozaemon Sukesada (興三左衛門祐定) Norimitu (則光) Tadamitu(忠光)

24 Sukesada
Yosozaemon Sukesada ( Sano Museum)   与三左衛門尉祐定(佐野美術館蔵)