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A Bushu Katana
A Bushu Katana

EDO PERIOD (17TH CENTURY), SIGNED BUSHU HACHIOJI TANISHIGUN YUI YOKOYAMA NO JUNIN OITE SEISHU KUWANA SHITAHARA HIROSHIGE SAKU KORE AND DATED KAN'EI JUNROKUNEN SHIGATSU KISHIJITSU (1639.4)

Details
A Bushu Katana
Edo period (17th century), signed Bushu Hachioji tanishigun yui Yokoyama no junin oite Seishu kuwana Shitahara Hiroshige saku kore and dated Kan'ei junrokunen shigatsu kishijitsu (1639.4)
Sugata [configuration]: shinogi-zukuri, iori-mune, torii-zori, extended kissaki
Kitae [forging pattern]: itame mixed with mokume of ji-nie with flowing itame along the shinogi
Hamon [tempering pattern]: notare with gunome-midare of niei and nioi with tobi-yaki and sunagashi throughout
Boshi [tip]: haki-kakae
Nakago [tang]: ubu, tanago-bara shape with kiri file marks and one hole
Nagasa [length from tip to beginning of tang]: 26¾in. (67.9cm.)
Motohaba [width at start of tempered edge]:1¼in. (3cm.)
Sakihaba [width before tip]: ¾in. (2cm.)
Habaki [collar]: double, silver
In shirasaya [wood storage scabbard]

Lot Essay

Hiroshige was a member of the Shitahara school of smiths in Musashi province, but he produced this sword in Ise province, the home of the notorious smith Muramasa. Muramasa was known for the distinctive shape he used for the tangs on his swords, the so-called tanago-bara ("bitterling fish belly"). The tang on this Hiroshige sword is also a tanago-bara shape.
For another Hiroshige katana bearing a nearly identical signature and date in the collection of the Kuwana shrine in Mie prefecture, see Murakami Kosuke, ed., Toko Shitahara kaji (Tokyo: Tokyo to Kyoiku Iinkai, 1969), p. 182.

For a ken with the same signature and similar date in the collection of the Kasuga shrine in Nara prefecture, see Matsumoto Masatoshi, ed., vol. 61 of Token Bijutsu, p. 12.
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