NBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon papered Katana by Kunisuke Shinto Early Edo period (Kanbun era/circa 1661-)

Kunisuke KatanaKoshiraeFittingsTokubetsu Hozon

Kunisuke Katana

Katana signed Iwami-no-kami Fujiwara KUNISUKE
with) Black lacquered notches scabbard Uchikatana KoshiraeShinto Early Edo period (Kanbun era/circa 1661-) Settsu


Length of cutting edge 73.4cm, Curvature 1.6cm, Width of base 30.8mm, Width of Yokote 20.5mm, Thickness of base 6.6mm

Blade construction: Shinogi-zukuri, Iori-mune, katana. Mihaba is a bit on wider side standing firmly on base. There is a lesser degree of tapering from base to point holding a well-balanced curvature leading to an extended middle Kissaki. This magnificent katana shows the fashion of the time which was flourishing during the Kanei to Kanbun era.


Forging (Hada): Forging mark is fine Itame wooden marks mixing with some indication of partial Mokume burl ware. Steel gives off the impression of Nie sparkling hard metal granules "Ji-nie" and darkish precise lines of Nie so called "CHIKEI" activity wells out from steel.


Temper (Hamon): Hamon is fine Nie hard metal granules base, wide Suguha with shallow wave of "Notare" indication. Sparkling Nie granules accumulate on boundary line thickly to show "Niju-ha" double temper indication. The ura side appears with Tadpole shape, clove or Gunome outline with some splashed "Tobiyaki". The interior of temper is filled with mist-like crystallize area deeply with floating "YOU" in ranges and long lines of Nie so called "Kinsuji".


Temper of tip (Boshi): Temper of boshi forms irregular pattern of "Midarekomi" and the Ura side shows energetic indication of splashed temper "Ichimai".


Tang (Nakago): The heel of Nakago is UBU original with one retaining peg hole. Shallow double bevelled "Kurijiri" heel. O-sujikai (greatly slanting right) on Shinogi-ji and the Hiraji bears Kiri (horizontal) filemarks, the back ridge of Nakago is flat with O-sujikai (greatly slanting right) filemarks. The inscription on Shinogi-ji starts from the tile Iwami-no-kami 石見守, name of clan Fujiwara 藤原 and smith name KUNISUKE 国助.

The KUNISUKE 国助 with a title of Iwami-no-kami 石見守 is supposed to have been born around Keicho era 1600's. His place of birth was Kameyama town in the prefecture of Ise. His real name was Kobayashi Gen-no-suke 小林源之丞 who was a younger brother of Kawachi-no-kami KUNISUKE 河内守国助 who is famed as the founder of the Osaka-shinto school.
KUNISUKE 国助 brothers became students of Horikawa KUNIHIRO 堀川国広 in their later age and were supposed to have actually learned from KUNITOMO 国儔 who was one of KUNIHIRO's leading students.
After spending several years of apprenticeship under Horikawa KUNIHIRO 堀川国広 in Kyoto, KUNISUKE 国助 brothers became independent on about Kanei 7 (1630) and moved to Ryogae-cho, Fushimi, Osaka - (a newly developing town) to establish as the famed founders of Osaka-shinto school.
This is a representative katana by Iwami-no-kami KUNISUKE 石見守国助. He initially obtained the Iwami-daijo 石見大掾 title and then was promoted to Iwami-no-kami 石見守. He moved to Kanbe-town, Ise prefecture in his later age, said to have passed away in Kanbun 12 (1672), at an age of 67 years old.

From close study of Nakago filemarks, his initial stroke method was [horizontal "Kiri" both for "Hira-ji" and "Shinogi-ji"] while he beared Iwami-daijo 石見大掾 title then changed it to quite unique filemark on after he enjoyed Iwami-no-kami 石見守 to be - [horizontal "Kiri" on Hiraji and greatly slanting left "O-sujikai" on Shinogi-ji surface] like this example. This unique combined filemark is strong character of his work and never seen from the other makers.
Looking at the brave shape of this katana, it is the transition style from Kanei to Kanbun (1624 - 61), rather on longer side in length, heavy built, well-balanced curved leading to an extended medium Kissaki. Jigane is a bit on conspicuous Itame hada, sparkling quench granules of "Ji-nie" appears. The hamon expresses a strong feature of mixture Yamato and Soushu technique. Extremely thick Nie-granules accumulate on boundary line and the almost whole area of tip quenched as "Ichimai" indication that would be very much influenced by the famed ancient work of Go Yoshihiro 郷義弘.

Black lacquered notches scabbard Koshirae :
White rayskin yellowish green fumigated leather wrapped hilt
Fuchi/Kashira : KIKU flower design, Shakudo, Nanako-ji surface, gold Iroe, unsigned
Menuki : Peony design, Yobori carving, gold Iroe
Tsuba : Takanoha of falcon feather and arabesque design, Heianjo style, Iron ground, brass inlay, unsigned.


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