Katana O'suriage Mumei
blade length 69.2cm, curvature 1.2cm, thickness at the base 7mm, width 3.0cm
This is a robust and noble blade. It is so much shortened that the original tang disappeared.
The steel is wood grain layer pattern. The appearance of steel particles is not simple.
The hamon is ko-nie (small particles) making choji, gunome, and ko-midare patterns, and some nie (large particles) run along the hamon line. The denseness of particles is not simply in the lower part of the blade. Some part is dense and some part is thin. Then, it becomes almost bright in the upper part of the blade. Utsuri appears, but it doesn't make simple pattern. The appearance of steel and hamon is fantastic.
The polishing is very honest classical style made by Mr. Rinzo NEGISHI who has polished several blades in Metropolitan Museum and Boston museum. The shape is good and neat. And the activities are brought up without any trick.
This blade has no tricky appearances that intend art sword. The intention to add art on the blade seems to start in 13th century. At first, it began on hamon patterns, then spread to layer patterns. Therefore, the blades in 12th century is full of natural activities. The real art of blade is come from good quality steel and proper hardening work as good weapon. That is very important point to appreciate old koto blade. This blade has some feeling like that.
On this blade, it is difficult to distinguish the core steel from the outer steel, though it is so worn as the hamon becomes week on the lower part. Such a steel construction also is found on old koto blade before art sword. The inner steel is not so much different to outer steel, comparing to art sword that has beautiful outer steel and poor looking inner steel.
Some parts of this blade show amassing activities that come from the relation between hamon and utsuri. That proves that the steel quality is very high even if the layer pattern looks rough.
Anyhow, we can't tell clearly what age or what smith about this blade. But this simple weapon can bring us to the entrance of sword lovers nirvana.
Sketch of hamon
The tang is shaped by proper shortening work. But there is a trace of hammering on the obverse side that a fake signature was crushed recently.
As pitiful thing, there is one patched steel on this sword. The small rectangle may be different steel that patched into the blade. It is not recent work, probably in 19the century. Sometimes we find such a simple rectangular patch work in old blades. Today, the work is more tricky that the steel is patched in accord with the layer pattern.
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