|period:||Muromachi Koto (1581)|
|designation:||NBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon|
|nakago:||ubu, one mekugiana|
|mei:||Bizen no Kuni ju Osafune Sukesada|
This katana dates from the very end of the koto Bizen tradition. The sword is dated 1581, and it was only 9 years later that the Yoshii river catastrophically flooded, wiping out the forges in Osafune and sounding the death knell for the greatest of the koto traditions.
The Sukesada line would re-establish itself and continue on through the Shinto period, but the tradition was finished and only in modern times can we find smiths working in the old style again.
This blade carries the long form of signature indicating that it is a quality above the mass-produced blades signed Bishu Osafune Sukesada. It is 70cm in length, unusually long for Muromachi period work, and probably saw service in the last battles before the unification of Japan under the Tokugawa Shoguns.
The kitae is a very tight ko-itame, and the gunome midare hamon is one of the hallmarks of the Sue Bizen Sukesada smiths. It is accompanied by Tokubetsu Hozon papers from the NBTHK testifying to its quality. There are a couple of scratches, and kitae ware (pictured in the slide show). It shows signs of several polishes and so likely frequent use, and though it is in an old state of polish it is enjoyable in its current state. With the nakago ubu and bearing one mekugiana, it is a nice old katana without modifications for someone wishing a warrior's blade from the end of the koto period.
Clive Sinclaire generously performed an oshigata of this blade as a favor to me. Click on the image for a high res version.