MINO / KOTO
SUGATA: SHINOGI ZUKURI
MEI: KANE NAGA SAKU
NAGASA: 66.35cm (26.125")
OVERALL: 84.45cm (33.25")
MIHABA: 3.17cm (1.25")
KASANE: 0.63cm (0.25")
SORI: 1.27cm (0.5")
NAKAGO: UBU / KIRI
MEKUGI ANA: ONE
HADA: ITAME / KO-MOKUME
BOSHI: MIDARE KOMI
HORIMONO OMOTE: NONE
HORIMONO URA: NONE
HABAKI: ONE PIECE SOLID SILVER
This is a Koto period, Mino
Province Katana signed and attributed per the NTHK to the Mino
Swordsmith Kanenaga. Kanenaga was the son of Mino Kanemitsu.
Mino Kanenaga's works were rated "Chusaku" by Fujishiro for their
quality. The polish is a little subdued, but the blade is in
overall satisfactory condition, and most everything can still be seen. The polish in the boshi is
dull, though in hand the hamon is clearly present, and if not papers
would not have been issued,
however it was near impossible for
me to capture it in the photos. There are numerous small areas
of light scuffs, hike kizu or surface scratches, kitte
ware, stains, etc., but nothing at all serious or much less
fatal. This Katana has a nagasa of
26.125" and an overall length of 33.25". The nakago is ubu
with one mekugi ana and has a nice dark patina as one would expect
on a 500 year old Koto period sword. The Ji-hada is Itame with
Ko-mokume with chikei. The Hamon is ko-gunome in nioi.
Mino no kuni 美濃国 or Mino Provence, was located in what is modern day
Gifu Prefecture, in the Tosando region of Honshu. Mino Provence
bordered Echizen, Hida, Ise, Mikawa, Ōmi, Owari, and Shinano
Mino along with Bizen, Yamato, Soshu and Yamashiro made up the
“Gokaden” or five main schools of sword production. Documents
confirm sword smith’s in Mino Provence as far back as the Hoen era
(1156-1159), yet few if any works from this period are extant today.
The oldest confirmed swords from Mino are the works of Kaneuji and
Kinju, which date to the end of the Kamakura period (1185-1333).
Their works show a strong Soshu influence which reflects their
beginnings. During this time, Mino den was in the developmental
stages and only the works of swordsmith’s who followed Kaneuji and
Kinju are generally referred to as Mino Den. The Mino Den reached
it’s pinnacle of production late in the Muromachi period
(1392-1573), making Mino Den the last of the Gokaden established.
Mino swords produced in the late Muromachi period or “Sue-Seki”
blades, were well known due to the sheer numbers produced.
Production of such large numbers of swords was directly related to
this being the time of the Sengoku or warring Period. It is
estimated to have been 800 - 1000 swordsmith’s working in Mino
during the 1500’s.
Being a time of war, new forging methods were developed with an
emphasis on functional ability opposed to aesthetics. From their
beginning Mino swords were famous for their sharpness.
The sugata of swords produced in Mino changed over time, but by late
Muromachi the Mino tradition was established.
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