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