51| Part 2 of —– 16 The Revival of Yamato Den (大和伝復活)

This chapter is the continued part of Chapter 16|The Revival of Yamato Den.   Please read chapter 16 before reading this section.

17 red-timeline late Kamakura

51 Japan map Yamato

At the end of the Kamakura period, in the Yamato area, powerful temples expanded their territories.  See the map above for the location of the Yamato area.  The big temples used have a political and military power to control the area then, especially, the one with large territories.   Those big territories were called Shoen (荘園).  The demand for the swords increased by warrior monks called Sohei (僧兵).  That started the revival of the Yamato school.  Some of the big temples had their own swordsmiths within their territory.  Todaiji-temple (東大寺) backed Tegai (手掻) sword group.  The Senjuin (千手院 ) sword group lived near Senju-Do (千手堂 ) where Senju Kannon (千手観音) was enshrined.  The name of the sword group, Taima came from Taima-Ji temple (当麻寺).  Shikkake group (尻懸) and Hosho group (保昌) were also Yamato Den sword group, as well.  Those five groups are called Yamato Goha  (Yamato five groups).

General Characteristic of Yamato Den

Yamato Den (大和伝) sword always shows Masame (柾目: straight grain-like) on somewhere on Ji-Hada, Jigane or Hamon.   Please refer to 16|The Revival of Yamato Den(大和伝復活) for its general characteristic.  Masame is sometimes mixed with Mokume (burl like) or Itame (wood grain like).  Either way, Yamato Den sword shows Masame somewhere. Some sword shows Masame entirely or some shows a lesser amount.  Because of that, Hamon tends to show Sunagashi (brush stroke-like) or a double line like Hamon called Nijyu-ha.

Taima or Taema group (当麻 )

Shape —————— Middle Kamakura period shape and Ikubi Kissaki style

Hamon ————-Mainly medium Suguha.  Double HamonSuguha mixed with choji.   Shows Inazuma, Kinsuji, especially under Yokote line Inazuma appears.

Boshi ————– Often Yakizume.  Refer Yakizume on 16|The Revival of Yamato Den

Ji-Hada ———- Small wood grain and well knead surface.  At the top part of the sword, the wood grain pattern becomes Masame.

Shikkake Group (尻懸)

Shape ———- Late Kamakura period shape. Refer 15|Late Kamakura Period Sword

Hamon —————— Mainly Nie (we say Nie-honi).  Medium suguha frayed, mixed with small irregular and Gunome (half-circle).  Double-lined, brush stroke-like pattern.  Small Inazuma, Kinsuji.

Boshi ———– Yakizume, Hakikake (trace made by broom) and Ko-maru ( small round)

Ji-Hada ——— Small burl mixed with Masame.  Shikkake group sometimes shows Shikkake Hada.  That is,  Ha side shows  Masame and Mune side shows burl.

Tegai Group ( 手掻 )

Shape ———– Early Kamakura shape and thick Kasane (body).  High ShinogiKoshizori.

Hamon ————— Narrow tempered line with medium suguha hotsure (frayed suguha).  Mainly Nie.  Double tempered line. Inazuma, Kinsuji shows.

Boshi ———————– Yakizume (no turn back ), Kaen (flame like).

Ji-Hada ———————————— Fine burl mixed with Masame.  

51 Kanenaga photo Yamato51 Kanenaga ilustration Yamato

Tegai Kanenaga of Yamato.  From Sano Museum Catalogue (permission granted).  The illustration shows Notare (wave-like Hamon) and Suguha Hotsure (frayed Suguha) and Kinsuji.

Example of Kantei process how to figure out the maker of the sword using the above photo 

  • To determine Jidai(time) by Sugata (shape) ———-  Heian (possible), Early Kamakura (possible),   Middle Kamakura (possible) Late Kamakura (possible), Nanboku-Cho (unlikely), Muromachi (possibly No), Sengoku (possibly No), Shin-To (possibly No), Shinshin-To (No)
  • To judge from Hamon(actual view shows Masame)—–  Yamashiro- Den (possible),  Yamato-Den (very possible),  Bizen- Den (unlikely but possible) Soshu-Den (unlikely but possible),  Mino- Den (No)
  • From Jihada (actual view shows a lot of Nie) —–Yamashiro Den (possible), Yamato-Den(very possible),  Soshu-Den (unlikely but possible),  Bizen-Den (unlikely ),  Mino-Den (unlikely)

By analyzing the above information, you conclude and come up with the name of the swordsmith.  In actual Kantei, the sword is right in front of you, therefore, more noticeable checkpoints are there.   Finally, guess and come up with the name.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

19| Nanboku-Cho Period Sword (North and South Dynasty Sword)

18 Nanbokucho time line

                           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 SoshuDen style swords in their own places.

19 Nanboku-cho Sword style

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).

 

19 Nanboku-cho 3 kinds Mune

Hi (: 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.

 

9 Hi, Suken, Bonji

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

19 Hamon Notare 319 Mamon choji gunome19 Hitatsura Hamon Hiromitsu

*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

 

19 Chogi photo from Sano book

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