Katana "Yoshu Mune...." with Shirasaya
blade length 67.0cm, curvature 1.0cm, thickness
at the base 7mm, width at the base 3.2cm
"Yoshu oite Matsuyama Fujiwara Mune ..." (At Matsuyama
city, Iyo province, Fujiwara Mune ...)
This is a good quality katana from the early Edo period,
The tang is shortened, so the last letter of the signature
is cut off. The smith is "Mune(?)" in Iyo province. "Yo-shu" means Iyo
province. We can find several smiths in the province, Munetsuna, Munehisa,
We don't understand the signature of "Masahiro" on the reverse
side. We wonder if he is the smith who shortened this blade.
This blade was taken as military sword by one lieutenant general in WWII.
The character of this blade is steady and calm as old soldier liked. The
Army sword mount has disappeared, and the blade has survived within shirasaya.
But the blade had some rust on it. Then we have had a polisher to remove
the rust and clean the inside of shirasaya. So the condition is not fully
polished. Some part is old polish with small scratches, and some part is
newly polished with koma-nagura stone.
The steel is very fine with dens jinie (steel particles). The layer pattern
is a small wood grain pattern. It is compact and visible. Chikei works
well. The chikei and layer pattern work with complicated combination. So
it is difficult to distinguish between chikei and layer pattern. It is
an appearances of good steel.
The hamon is fine konie particles making a straight pattern. In the hamon area, it is clear and
bright. Sharp kinsuji appears along the temper line.
A utsuri rises up from the tang and runs along the shinogi line as shirake pattern. The area between hamon and utsuri is clear. It is a proof
of sensitive steel and proper hardening work. It is rare to find such a
fine utsuri in Shinto blades.
I am afraid if the utsuri is hard to be seen in the pictures.
This blade is good quality that is rare to find in Shinto period. But the smith is not famous. Probably, because he lived in local place in the meaning of sword market, and the blade is not aesthetic as an art.
This should be a really good blade for soldiers. We can call this blade
a masterpiece in Shinto blades.
The shirasaya and the silk bag. The handle makes habaki
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