KATANA

SUKESADA

BIZEN

KOTO

EIROKU c. 1567

NBTHK HOZON-TO

 

SUGATA: SHINOGI ZUKURI

MEI: BISHU OSAFUNE SUKESADA SAKU

DATE: EIROKU JU NEN NI GATSU

NAGASA: 69.85cm (27.5")

OVERALL: 90.81cm (35.75")

MIHABA: 3.18cm (1.25")

KASANE: 0.635cm (0.25")

SORI: 2.22cm (0.875")

NAKAGO: UBU

MEKUGI ANA: TWO

YASURIME: KATTE SAGARI

MUNE: IORI

HADA: ITAME / MOKUME

HAMON: MIDARE

BOSHI: KOMARU

HORIMONO OMOTE: NONE

HORIMONO URA: NONE

HABAKI: TWO PIECE GOLD FOIL

SHIRASAYA

 

KATANA

BIZEN OSAFUNE SUKESADA

NBTHK PAPERS

Bizen Province has the distinction of being the only province which continuously produced swords from the Heian period through the Shinshinto period.  

Natural resources found in the region were abundant. The sea was nearby and provided an abundant supply of high quality iron ore sand. Both the Ashii and Yoshii rivers flow through the region and provided an unlimited source of pure fresh water.  Bizen Province is still said to produce the highest grade charcoal, due to the nutrient rich soils found there.

During the mid 15th century began the Sengoku warring period which lasted until the beginning of the 17th century, some 150 years. Japans history was plagued with turmoil and civil unrest which lasted until the successful takeover by Tokagawa Iyeyasu. This century and a half power struggle resulted in an overwhelming demand for swords.

Another significant factor was the major supply route, the Sanyodo Hwy passed directly through Bizen province.

These factors both environmental and social combined perfectly, stimulating the prosperity of the region and making Bizen Province the epicenter of sword production.

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This sword is dated 1567, placing it in the Sue-Koto Period (1469-1596).  Works forged during this time were known as Sue-Bizen.  It is of note that this period was wrought with war and it is known that many lower class Sue-Bizen swordsmith's produced Kazu-uchi mono or mass produced swords.  A necessary requirement in order to meet the overwhelming demand for battlefield swords. Much like the Dotanuki schools, Kazu-uchi mono were solely utilitarian and lacked the artistic beauty this region was famous for.  We must remember that these Kazu-uchi mono were forged for the low ranking foot soldier. Most if not all Kazu-uchi mono were mumei and quite dull in appearance.

It is also well documented that there were indeed very high quality works produced during this time.  Many higher quality swords of varying degrees were also needed to provide the upper ranks with swords befitting their status.  The leading smiths producing the highest quality works was Sukesada along with a few others such as Kasumitsu, Munemitsu, Kiyomitsu mons. 

This sword was produced by an Osafune school smith, Sukesada.  Though there were many sword schools located in Bizen Province, for many years the Osafune was the most prosperous of these schools.

Sukesada was the most prominent name of the Sue-Bizen school. 

This Katana is 37.5" overall length and a 27.5" nagasa, combined with a width of 1.25" and 0.25" thickness, it is a monster.  The naked blade weighs in at 917 grams or 2.02 lbs..  The sugata is shinogi zukuri with koshi-zori. The nakago is ubu with two mekugi ana, yasurime katte-sagari,  and the nakago jiri ha-agari.  It was quite common in this period to extend the nakago by moving up the ha and mune machi in order to place a longer tuska for two hand use.  This extension was done with this katana and is evident upon viewing the photos or in hand.  The hada is itame and mokume with chikei and areas of utsuri.  The hamon is midare in nioi deki and there are ashi, kinsuji, nijuba etc.. Kissaki is chu or medium size with lots of hakekake. There is an anomaly in the hamon in the monouchi area of the ura side, where the hamon looks distorted. In discussing this area with others the possibility of shintetsu has come up, as well it was thought to have been where the clay came off during yakiire. It could be either or neither, looks like shintetsu to me, but I can only add more speculation, all of which is debatable.  What I do know is that overall the sword is very nice and there was nothing deemed detrimental enough by the NBTHK to prevent it from obtaining papers. My concern is that potential buyers are aware of it and aware the the price has been adjusted accordingly.

When viewed in the photos and more so in hand it is undeniable that the sword offered here is not kazu-uchi mono work.

The sword comes with NBTHK Hozon To papers which attest to the authenticity of the mei, as well as indicate the swords overall quality.

Sword comes in shirasaya which has an exotic wood hatome. The habaki is a excellent two piece gold foil.


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