this time I want to do it a little bit different. Because sometimes we have to remember, why we are here, It is because we want to learn.
And sometimes our education is a circle and we have to go back to the basics.
Shape, steel, hada, hamon.
Three things are obvious. But "steel" is not. And it is the hardest part to see and recognize a good steel.
"If the steel is good, the rest of the sword is good." That's what I have learned. So, let's take a look at the steel:
The kitae is a beautiful dense koitame-hada rich with ji-nie and chikei. You can find a fine nie-utsuri. (all three points are an indicator for high quality steel). The kitae is kenzen.
The hamon is suguha with konie.
It has a slender and elegant appearence with a high shinogi.
With a description like that it is clear that is must be something very, very good.
And then you have to think like me. Okay, at first you would loose 30 IQ-points. But that's not what I mean. I always choose a blade that is a typical example for time,
province and school. I would never pick a Kamakura Bizen Nagamitsu in Soshu-style or a signed and dated Go Yoshihiro. Next point: when I write: "The blade is not
in the blue book." then I mean "The BLADE is not in the blue book." But the maker is.
An elegant sugata, koitame, suguha and high-class-steel brings us to: Yamashiro, end of Kamakura. And whatever you pick, Rai, Enju or Ryokai is not important.
Important is, that you pick the right time and province.
"We don't have a time machine so we will never be sure." = Darcy Brockbank. Nothing else to say.
By the way, it is a Rai Kunitoshi - Juyo Token.
I don't want to write here much about Rai Kunitoshi. Markus Sesko did that and who is better?
But let´s come to the results. And in the end I can understand most of the answers. Rai Kunitsugu and Soshu Yukimitsu, Miike, Reizen Sadamori. Unji has at least
mokume in the hada and for the rest is the difference the quality of the steel.
I made photos of another Rai Kunitoshi (the katana in the blue book) This one is even closer to Miike.
Just one more point, because Stefan brought it up: Color in a nihonto photo. Just forget that in the future. I could write 3 pages about color managment, calibration,
sRGB, AdobeRGB, whatever.. In the future I will do it like aoiart. The tang in color and the blade b&w. Or I invest in a EIZO ColorEdge. Maybe then i can present
a color that is close to reality.
Now I have a Talisker waiting for me. Cheers!