|designation||NBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon|
|nakago||ubu, one mekugiana|
The work of the modern Gassan smiths is held in the highest regard. Gassan Sadakazu and Gassan Sadakatsu were both Imperial Court Artisans, and Gassan Sadakatsu trained two Living National Treasures, one of whom re-established the Sadakazu (Sadaichi) name. Even today, Gassan Sadatoshi is producing breathtaking work in his forge.
These smiths hail from a line that goes back as far as the Kamakura period. Gassan is the name of a mountain in Unshu, and this gives the line their name. From the Kamakura up until today, the distinctive kantei point in the Gassan school is Ayasugi hada. It is uncommon and beautiful in its undulating curves that create uchinoke as they cross into and out of the hamon.
In the koto times, most Gassan smiths signed with the school name only and so the names of individual smiths are mostly lost to time. This katana matches the features of the late 1400s and early 1500s, and bears the hallmarks of ayasugi hada and narrow sugu samishii hamon well. It is signed with the school name only, Gassan, though the signature resembles in style and placement (in the shinogiji, and above the mekugiana) of Gassan Toshiyoshi.
Fujishiro gives the koto school a blanket rating of Chu-jo saku for above average quality of workmanship.
This katana was given high papers of Tokubetsu Hozon by the NBTHK, and its ubu condition with one mekugiana makes it a nice representative piece of the Gassan school for a collector to own. It is also accompanied by very nice koshirae of late Edo period manufacture.
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