The red circle above indicates the time we discuss in this section
The discussion of this chapter is about the famous Muramasa (村正). Usually, many well-known swordsmiths were from one of the Goka Den (五家伝: The primary five schools: Yamashiro Den, Bizen Den, Soshu Den, Yamato Den, and Mino Den). However, Muramasa was not from the Goka Den but Ise Province. The first generation Muramasa was known as a student of He’ian-jo Nagayoshi (平安城長吉) of Yamashiro Den. The Muramasa family lived through the mid-Muromachi period. They had three generations from the mid-Muromachi period to the Sengoku period.
Here is one of Muramasa’s Tanto that was made during the Sengoku period. Since this is the Sengoku period Tanto, the blade shows the Sengoku period sword style. It shows Mino Den characteristics, with the Soshu Den Characteristics added.
Muramasa (村正) from Sano Museum Catalogue (permission granted)
Characteristics on this Tanto
Muramasa’s Tantos are often 10 inches ± half inches or so. Hirazukuri (平作り). Thin blade with a sharp look. Nioi base with small Nie and Sunagashi (brushed sand-like patterns, the illustration below) appears. Boshi (the top part of Hamon) is Jizo (a side view of a human’s head). The tempered line has wide areas and narrow areas. Some areas are so narrow, close to the edge of the blade, while others are broad. Hako midare (box-like shape) and Gunome (lined-up beads pattern) appear. O-notare (large gentle waviness) is a Muramasa’s signature characteristic. The pointed tempered line is a typical Mino Den characteristic (Sanbon-sugi). Refer to 23| Sengoku Period Sword(戦国時代刀）and 24| Sengoku Period Tanto (戦国時代短刀).
Sunagashi (Brushed sand-like trace. My drawing is exaggerated)