NBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon papered Katana attributed to Osafune Shigezane

Koto End Kamakura to Middle Nanbokucho period (Shochu - Enbun era /1324 - 60)

Shigezan

Tokubetsu Hozon



Shigezane Katana


NBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon papered Katana attributed to Osafune Shigezane Koto End Kamakura to Middle Nanbokucho period (Shochu - Enbun era /1324 - 60)

Length of cutting edge 72.2cm, Curvature 1.5cm, Width of base 29.7mm, Width of Yokote 19.7mm, Thickness of base 6.5mm

Blade construction: Shinogi-zukuri, Iori-mune. Substantially shortened "Ōsuriage". Mihaba on base is a bit on wide side and less degree of tapering from base to point holding a bit on waist pointed curvature leading to the lrage point of Kissaki.

Forging (Hada): Steel gives off darkish blue impression. Forging is Itame-hada with flowing indication mixing with Mokume hada ware which is conspicuously perceived. Ji-nie granule attaches on surface that emits speckled sparkling reflection of Nie and gives off diffused reflection with mottled effect so called "Midare-Utsuri". Precise darkish lines of Nie so called "CHIKEI" activity appears from fine steel.

Temper (Hamon): Hamon is Nioi, less hard metal granules based, wide Suguha with sedate wave boundary line, small Gunome of square heads appear in ranges, where some slanting upward feet are perceived. The quenching activities of frequent floating "YOU" appears and Sunagashi long lines of Nie runs crossing the feet. The interior of temper is filled with mist-like crystallize area deeply. The entire quenching effect is full of variety that comes from "Nioi" less hard metal granule activities that are typical of Osafune works from End of Kamakura to Nanbokucho period.

Temper of tip (Boshi): Temper of boshi forms straight with slight irregular indication of "Notare" with one Gunome with a Ashi foot, then large circle turns back.

Tang (Nakago): The tang is substantially shortened "Ōsuriage" to be unsigned with horizontal (Kiri) filemarks. Horizontal "Kiri" heel shape. Two peg holes.

Osafune in Bizen province (now Osafune town, Oku-gun, Okayama pref.) had flourished from the middle of Kamakura down to end of Muromachi period as the center of sword manufacturing under the rich supply of fine iron sand from mountains, forest wood and river water.
Most of Osafune works from medieval times are perceived with hamon of Nioi based "less quenching" and Utsuri of "diffused reflection". Generally changes of Hamon by Osafune works is that The middle Kamakura - Choji "clove outline", end Kamakura - straight/square head Gunome, Nanbokucho - Notare wave and one of Muromachi had changed to flamboyant composite of several pattern.

SHIGEZANE 重真 who belonged to MOTOSHIGE school is said to be a younger brother of MOTOSHIGE 元重. These brothers were active from Shochu to Enbun (1324 - 60) and produced traditional Bizen Osafune swords in two generations.

The subject katana has been fresh polished by the skilled Togishi and received Tokubetsu Hozon judgement recently. This katana holds the typical brave shape - less degree of tapering from base top leading to the large Kissaki which comes from end Kamakura to middle Nanbokucho period. Graceful Uturi reflection is clearly perceived from bluish skin of fine steel and Suguha temper with slanting upward feet - there are similarities between MOTOSHIGE and AOE works, however continuous quench boundary line which is composed of "ranging square-heard gunomes" has been said as the essential characteristic of SHIGEZANE 重真. The attribution of SHIGEZANE of MOTOSHIGE school is well agreed to hold such high quality of steel and just has been awarded with the designation of Tokubetsu Hozon grade certificate.
Gold foiled single layer Tachi-style Habaki collar, Preserved in a Shira-Saya plain wood mounting.
Superb polish/Condition scale: excellent (using a scale of mint-excellent-very good-good-fair-poor).


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