Katana O'suriage Mumei, (Kozori)
blade length 69.2cm, curvature 1.2cm, thickness at the base 7mm, width 3.0cm
This blade is so much shortened that the original tang disappeared.
We consider the smith Kozori or so. Kozori is a group of smiths in Bizen province in Nambokucho period, 14th century. In that period, there are some famous smiths in Bizen province those are lined after Osafune Kanemitsu. On the other hand, there are many other smiths around that famous smiths. We call such byplay smiths "Kozori". The word "kozori" means "gathering". So the Kozori is not a name of school, it is put by later people to suggest them in one group.
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. The denseness of particles is not simply even 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.
As the matter of fact, there was a fake signature on the tang when we found this sword. A counterfeiter put a fake signature on the O'suriage tang. He tried to confuse this blade to Tadamitsu in 16th century. It is funny that this blade is far better and older than that Tadamitsu. Then we crush the fake signature and recall the blade as O'suriage Mumei.
The fake signature is just crushed. It is the manner to remove fake signature. Do not grind off the signature by filing. Such a way removes the steel of tang. Crushing the signature carefully with chisel and hammer is the proper way. It needs some skill, but it never removes the steel. The crushed surface doesn't have good rust, but it occurs natural rust by aging. You don't have to put fake rust there. Honesty is one of the most important thing on samurai sword.
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 19th 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.
Anyhow, this is a good sample to study what is good koto, and what is good blade in Nambokucho period. We recommend this sword to person who want to study koto blades.
Habaki, double copper.
Shirasaya and bag
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