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Configuration (sugata): with longitudinal ridge line (shinogi-zukuri), shallow peaked back (iori-mune) and medium point (chu-kissaki); length (nagasa): 2 shaku, 2 sun, 9 bu (69.3cm.); curvature (sori): koshi-zori of 2.0cm.; increase in width of blade (fumbari): 9.0mm.
Forging pattern (jihada): wood grain (itame).
Tempering pattern (hamon): very wide Ichimonji midare with juka-choji and widely scattered utsuri all extending close to and into the shinogi.
Point (boshi): tsugi-age on the outside and flame-brushed tip (hakikake) on the inside.
Tang (nakago). Shape (keitai): regular with the shinogi extending the full length, slightly shortened (suriage); file marks (yasurime): slanted (katte-sagari); end (nakagojiri): rounded (kurijiri); holes (mekugi-ana): two; signature (tachimei): Ichi.

Shirasaya with attestation signed Kunzan (Homma Junji).

Jindachi koshirae, the tsuba Genroku era (1688-1704), the remainder first half of the 19th century, comprising: a black lacquer saya with a combed design of waves (nami mon) covering the lower inside curve, mounted with a gold kurikata and kaerigane decorated with gosan no kiri mon on an overlapping wave pattern; a tsuka of fine same with white string wrap mounted with gold menuki modelled as a triple kiri mon and a fuchi-kashira decorated en suite to the other fittings, the fuchi signed Masayuki with kao; the the tsuba of rounded shape of heavy gold foil-covered copper plate in a pattern of overlapping waves with wave heads with one or two points, four gosan no kiri mon on the face and three on the back, some partly beneath waves, and the rim with a heavy gold rope-pattern cover, unsigned; the kozuka-hitsu with a shakudo sekigane--length of koshirae 94.1cm.; saya length 73cm.; tsuka length 20.3cm.; tsuba height 6.9cm., width 6.3cm., thickness 5.25mm.

Wood storage box. Brocade and silk storage bags.

Accompanied by a juyo token certificate issued by the N.B.T.H.K., dated Showa 43 (1968); and a tokubetsu kicho koshirae certificate issued by the N.B.T.H.K., no. 0011, dated Oct. 4, l972.
Aoyama family
Juyo token to zufu, vol. 17.
Zaigai Nihon no shiho, vol. 10, plates 94, 95, 96.
One Hundred Masterpieces (1992), no. 6.

Lot Essay

Like the preceding blade, this example of Ichimonji workmanship displays the exuberance typical of the school. The hamon here is not only more vigorous, but also it is wider than the naginata-naoshi, suggesting a probable date in the second half of the 13th century.

This koshirae, although mounted in its present form in the late Edo period, shows a style of mounting of the Genroku era (1688-1704). This tsuba has a mate in the Moslé Collection catalogue, see Moslé (1932), plate XVIII for illustration and vol. 1, page 96, no. 154, for the text. In fact one could say that they were made by the same hand. They might have been a daisho in the style of that period. The Moslé example is attributed to Goto Tokujo (1550-1631), the fifth main line master, but this seems far too early and not in keeping with such a display of gold. If one is to attribute this tsuba to a mainline master, then Goto Renjo (1627-1708) of Tsujo (1662-1721) would be much better choices if one attributes this tsuba to the Goto School. What makes this speculation even more interesting is the fact that the fuchi is signed Masayuki with kao.

There are at least fifteen artists recorded with these kanji, but none is the artist of this piece. It is probably an early Mito school work in Goto style since the koshirae and sword were in the possession of the Aoyama daimyo, a branch of whom was resident in Mito as a family of Confucian scholars. This Mito connection points to the possible authorship of Mito Enko (1805-1870), who was director of the Kodokan. The Masayuki fittings were made to go with the earlier tsuba. He was probably a tachikanagushi who made this full mounting on commission from the Aoyama family.

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