A Satsuma Katana
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A Satsuma Katana


A Satsuma Katana
Signed Satsuma kuni ju Kunihira 72-sai kore wo tsukuru and dated Enkyo 3-nen 2-gatsu hi (1746), Edo Period (18th Century)
Sugata [configuration]: Honzukuri, mitsumune, wide, shallow curvature, o-kissaki,
Kitae [forging pattern]: Itame with jinie and aranie
Hamon [tempering pattern]: deep notare mixed with gunome of nie, aranie and slight yubashiri
Boshi [tip]: shallow notare and rounded return with slight hakikake
Nakago [tang]: Ubu, iriyamagata end, file marks sujikai with kesho, one hole
Habaki [collar]: double gilt copper
Shirasaya [plain wood scabbard]: in shirasaya inscribed by Dr. Sato Kanzan
Overall length of blade:
Nagasa [length from tip to beginning of tang]: 69.5cm
Sori [curvature]: 1.3cm
Motohaba [width at start of tempered edge]: 3.15cm
Sakihaba [width before tip]: 2.45cm
Sano Museum, Sano Bijutsukan zuroku, Nihonto 1, cat.no.92, p.184
Towakai, Kanzan Token Koza, vol.4 Shokoku kaji hen (2), (Otsuka Kogeisha, Tokyo, 1981), cat.no.27
Shinto Oshigata shu, Ge-kan, p.601
Special notice
VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price plus buyer's premium.

Lot Essay

Accompanied by a certificate of registration as Juyo Token [important sword] no. 6947 issued by the Nihon Bijutsu Token Hozon Kyokai [Society for the Preservation of the Japanese Art Sword] at 27th juyo shinsa on 8th September 1980.

Kunihira was the nephew of Oku Jirobei Tadakiyo under whom he studied in his early years, later to enter the school of Sozaemon Masafusa. Swordmaking had been long-established in Satsuma and the technology of the Kamakura period Naminohira school is reflected in much of the Edo period work. Kunihira's teacher Masafusa was one of a number who had migrated in the early Edo period from Mino to Satsuma, bringing with them their own early traditions. Kunihira is one of the number of Satsuma smiths who continued to make robust and dignified blades in the martial tradition at a time when the craft was somewhat in decline in Edo and Osaka. Like Miyahara Masakiyo and Tamaoki Yasuyo his work owes much to the early Soshu and Shizu styles. He is believed to have accompanied Masakiyo and Yasuyo as guardian when they were summoned to Edo for a sword-making demonstration in 1721 by the eighth Tokugawa shogun Yoshimune. Following that event the two smiths were granted the prestigious titles Mondo no Sho and Shume no Kami in recognition of their skill. This sword was made when Kunihira was seventy two years old, long after the deaths of both Masakiyo and Yasuyo. He went on to live to an advanced age, evidenced by a sword made when he was eighty six in the tenth year of the Horeki era (1760).

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