50|Part 2 of —– 15|Late Kamakura Period Sword

This chapter is the detailed part of chapter 15| Late Kamakura Period Sword.  Please read chapter 15 before this section.

14 Ikubi kissaki Damadge

As I explained in chapter 14 Late Kamakura Period History (鎌倉後期), Ikubi Kissaki sword shows a flaw (above illustration) when the damaged area was repaired.  To compensate for this flaw, in Late Kamakura Period, swords smiths started to forge swords with longer Kissaki and a tip of Hi ends lower than Yokote-line.  So that in case the Yokote-line was lowered after the repair, Hi does not go higher than Yokote-line

15 Masamune (Sano)15 Masamune hamon (Sano)

Above photo is Goro Nyudo Masamune( 五郎入道正宗 ).  Please look at the size and shape of Kissaki.  This is definitely different than previous Ikubi Kissaki, or Ko-Gissaki.  This is a typical late Kamakura period Kissaki style.  This is O-Suriage (largely shortened).  Under Kamakura Bakufu, many swordsmiths moved to Kamakura.  They were Toroku Sakon Kunituna (藤六左近国綱 ) of Yamashiro Awataguchi  group(山城粟田口),  Fukuoka Ichimonji Sukezane (福岡一文字助真) and Kunimune (国宗 )of Bizen area.  They are the origin of Soshu-Den (相州伝).  Eventually, Tosaburo Yukimitsu (藤三郎行光)  appeared and his son is the famous Masamune (正宗)On the illustration above, Kinsuji, Inazuma is shown inside the Hamon.  The clear line inside the Hamon is Inazuma and Kinsuji.  Kinsuji, Inazuma are the collection of Nie looks like a line.  Masamune is famous for Inazuma, Kinsuji.  Masamune lived in Kamakura, his Hamon looks like an ocean wave when it is viewed sideways.

50 part 2 of 15 吉岡.photo50 part 2 of 15 吉岡

The above picture is Yoshioka Ichimonji (吉岡一文字).  Kissaki is also like the one of Masamune.  It is longer than previous Ikubi Kissaki or Ko-Gissaki.  This is Chu-Gissaki.  Kissaki like this is the important point to determine what period the sword was made.  Hamon has Choji, Gunome, Togariba (pointed tip), very tight Nie.

 

50 part 2 of 15 運生 photo50 part 2 of 15 運生 

Above photo is Ukai Unsho (鵜飼雲生).  This is also the sword from the late Kamakura period.  But it has Ko-Gissaki.  This sword does not have the late Kamakura period Chu-Gissaki style.  Narrow Hoso-Suguha is somewhat like earlier time than the late Kamakura period.  I chose this sword here to show that the sword does not always have the style of that period.  To Kantei*, first, look at the style and shape and give yourself some idea of the period of the time you think it was made.  But in this case, Kissaki does not indicate late Kamakura periodNext thing to do is to look at the different characteristic of the sword one by one like Hamon, Nie or Nioi, Jihada, etc,  and determine what period, which Den, which province and finally come up with a swordsmith’s name.  This process is called Kantei.

*Kantei – – – – – – to determine the name of the swordsmith by looking at the characteristic of the sword without looking at the Mei (inscription).  Mei is not always there either because it is shortened or some other reasons.

All the photos above are from Sano Museum Catalogue.  Permission to use is granted.

40|Part 2 of —– 6|Heian Period Sword (792-1192)

This chapter is the continued part of chapter 6.  Please read Chapter 6 before reading this section.  I will be using more technical terms which were explained between chapter 1 to 33.  For those who are not familiar with sword terms, any of part 2 should be read after chapter 1 to 33.

There are several schools (called Den 伝 ) of swordsmith during the Heian period.    I will start using the word Den instead of school.  They are Yamashiro Den (山城伝  ), Yamato Den (大和伝), Bizen Den ( 備前伝 )、Hoki-no-Kuni (伯耆 )、Buzen group (豊前 ), and Satsuma-no-Kuni (薩摩).

Yamashiro Den (山城伝 )

Among Yamashiro Den, the name of the sword, Mikazuki Munechika (三日月宗近  ) by Sanjo Munechika (三条宗近 ) is the most famous.  Mikaduki means crescent.  Because Mikaduki shape Uchinoke (collection of Nie) pattern appears on Hamon, it is named Mikazuki Munechika.  It has graceful shape, narrow body, Koshizori, Funbari, and small Kissaki.  It shows wood grain surface, Suguha with Nie mixed with small irregular, sometimes nijyu-ha (double libe二重刃 ) appears.  Sanjo Munechika lived Sanjo area in Kyoto.  His sword style was followed by his sons and grandsons, Sanjo Yoshiie (三条吉家   ), Gojo Kanenaga (五条兼永), Gojo Kuninaga (五条国永 ). Gojo is the area in Kyoto. 

6 photos Sanjo Munechika

三日月宗近         東京国立博物館蔵      “刀剣のみかた” 広井雄一      Mikaduki Munechika Tokyo National Museum  “Token no mikata” by Yuichi Hiroi

 

Houki -no-Kuni (伯耆の国 )

Houki-no-Kuni is today’s Tottori prefecture.  This place is known for the place producing good steel.  The sword name, Doujigiri Yasutsuna  (童子切安綱 ) by Houki-no-Yasutsuna is the most famous one.

The characteristics of Yasutsuna’s sword———-It has a graceful shape with small Kissaki, narrow Hamon (often sugu-ha with ko-choji), course Nie on Hamon area, large wood grain mixed with masame on Ji-hada.   Hamon area often shows Inazuma and KinsujiBoshi area is Yakizume, Kaen with small turn back.

6 Sano Hoki Yasutuna

伯耆の安綱 (Hoki no Yasutsuna) 佐野美術館図録 (Sano Musem Catalogue)

Bizen Den (備前伝 )

Bizen is Okayama prefecture today.  Bizen is known for producing good steel.  Since Heian period until now, Bizen has been famous for the sword making tradition.  The sword making group in this area during the Heian period were called Ko-Bizen group.  The most famous sword smith in Ko-Bizen group is Bizen Tomonari (備前友成 ) and Bizen Masatsune (備前正恒) and Bizen Kanehira (備前包平)                                                                      

The characteristics of Ko-Bizen group———-graceful narrow-body, small Kissaki, narrow tempered line with ko-choji (small irregular) with Inazuma and Kin-suji.  Ji-Hada is small wood grain pattern.

6 Sano Kanehira

Bizen Kanehira (備前包平) Sano Museum Catalogue (佐野美術館図録)

 

I saw Ko-Bizen Sanetsune (真恒 ) at Mori Sensei’s house.  That was the one of the Kantei-To of the day.  I received Douzen*ᴵ.  The book written by Honami Koson was used as our textbook.  Each time I saw a sword at Mori Sensei’s house, I put down the date on the swordsmith’s name in this book where the author explains about the smiths.  It was Nov. 22, 1970.  The deciding point was a narrow-body line, small Kissaki (that is Ko-Bizen Komaru), Kamasu and Suguha.  Kamasu is the condition where the fukura of Boshi is much less, less rounded.  When I think back, it is amazing we could see the sword like those for our study materials.  Today, I forget things happened a week ago, but I can remember each sword I saw in those days.

Kantei-Kai

Kantei-Kai is the study meeting.  Usually, several swords were displayed hiding the Nakago.  The attendees guess the name of the sword maker and hand in the answer sheet to the judge.  The below is the grade.

Atari—–If the answer is the right on the exact name, you get Atari, that is the best answer.

Douzen*ᴵ—-The second one is Dozen, that is the subject sword made by the family, clan or within the group.  It means almost right.  Dozen is considered very good.

Kaido-Yoshi—–  This means the same line, but not within the family.

Hazure—– Wrong

Jidai Yoshi—-Each Kanntei-Kai has different grading systems.  Some have Jidai Yoshi, that means the time or period is correct.

After all the answer is handed in and answer sheet is returned to the attendee, the judge reveals the right answer and explains about each sword.