Recently a letter arrived from the local sword society asking for members' cooperation in offering swords for two approaching displays. One is the 70th anniversary next year of the founding of the Okayama branch, and will be held in the Osafune Token Museum. The other exhibition will run there from the beginning of September this year, the title being 華麗なる備前刀展 Karei naru Bizen-to Ten. The only stated condition was that such blades should be accompanied with Kantei paperwork.
Well, being a cheerful and generous sort of fellow, even though I do not have anything really first-class, I contacted Mr K and told him what I could offer. With a Bizen theme, I offered two spears and one wakizashi.
One spear is a relatively short gin-nan-po suyari properly mounted on pole, signed Sukesada and dated Kaei 6 (1853) of the Bakumatsu. Fairly recent Kantei-sho paperwork. The other has gorgeous mounts, and the beautifully-shaped sasa-no-ho blade is attributed to Munemitsu of Sue Bizen by Mr Hosokawa of the NBTHK back in the 1960s, given Tokubetsu Kicho on blue-green paper.
The Wakizashi blade is Mumei, but the Hozon paperwork attributes it to Sue Bizen Sukesada, and my sword teacher thinks from the beauty of the hamon that it is highly likely Yosozaemon no Jo Sukesada. The koshirae is also of high status and quality.
What do you think he said?
"No Mumei blades can be accepted, unless older than Namboku Cho." So that ruled out the Wakizashi and the Munemitsu yari.
Of the three he was most intrigued by the Bakumatsu Sukesada, despite its fairly common shape of blade. Why? Because there are few examples of this smith's work and almost nothing is known about him. This family tree is an area he has studied in some depth. It left him deep in thought. I doubt it will be chosen for either exhibition, however.
So, there you have it. Zip, zilch! Do any of the honourable members have similar tales to offer?