A Bungo Tachi
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A Bungo Tachi


A Bungo Tachi
Signed Bungo no kuni Yukihira saku, Heian - Kamakura Period (12th - 13th Century)
Sugata [configuration]: honzukuri, iori-mune, koshizori with ko-kissaki

Kitae [forging pattern]: running itame with jinie

Hamon [tempering pattern]: ko-midare in suguha, moist nioiguchi, tobiyaki whitish utsuri

Boshi [tip]: ko-maru

Horimono [carvings]: remains of kurikara

Nakago [tang]: ubu, three holes

Habaki [collar]: double, gold pierced with kiri crest

In shirasaya [plain wood scabbard]: with inscription Matsudaira Hokinokami, Genpuku in Kanbun 1st (1661)

Nagasa [length from tip to beginning of tang]: 79.4cm.

Sori [curvature]: 1.7cm.

Motohaba [width at start of tempered edge]: 2.7cm.

Sakihaba [width before tip]: 1.6cm.
By repute the Matsudaira Family
Nihon Bijutsu Token Hozon Kyokai, ed., Token Bijutsu, English edition, vol.34, (Autumn 1987), cat. no. 2, p. 11

The Museum of Japanese Sword Fittings, ed., Tokubetsu ten, Kamakura Jidai no Meito Ten (Tokyo, 2001), cat.no.14, p.19
Tokubetsu ten, Kamakura Jidai no Meito Ten [Special Exhibition, Masterpieces of Swords in Kamakura Period], The Museum of Japanese Sword Fittings, Tokyo, from April 2001
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Lot Essay

Yukihira of Bungo Province (present-day Oita Prefecture), is said to have been taught by the sword-smith monk named Sadahide. Yukihira is said to have been born in 1141 and died in 1222, although the only known dated work by him is that listed in the 14th century Kanchiin-bon record of the Toji temple as having been made in 1205. Like this sword, Yukihira's blades are slender and elegantly curved in classic Heian Period style. The steel has a gentle white sheen, and the hamon has a characteristic moist appeareance with copius activity in the crystalline steel formations. Yukihira frequently sculpted small Buddhist figures on the lower part of his blades. The sword illustrated here has such a carving on each side of the blade, albeit somewhat depleted through successive polishings over the centuries. It depicts a kurikara [s. kulika], a dragon entwined around a double-edged sword. The kurikara is emblematic of the fearsome-looking esoteric Buddhist deity Fudo Myo-o ['The Unmoving'], whose attributes are a rope and a sword. The dragon represents the rope and the vajra-hilted sword is that held in the deity's right hand. Fudo's rope is to bind the enemies of Buddhism (the world of delusion) and the sword to cut through delusion to ultimate reality, the spiritual quest of the swordsman. An ink inscription on the shirasaya of the blade identifies it as once having been in the collection of the fourth Tokugawa shogun, Ietsuna (governed 1651-1680). It was dedicated to the shogun in 1661 by the lord of Tottori domain, Matsudaira Sagami no kami Mitsunaka in gratitude for his having been granted the use of the character Tsuna from the shogun's name, and the title and appellation Matsudaira Hoki no kami, on the occassion of his Coming-of-Age Ceremony (Genpuku). It is not known how such an important sword reached the collection, but it possibly came into circulation after the Meiji Restoration, when many daimyo were disestablished of their lands and fortunes.


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