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Can modern smiths create a vibrant utsuri like in ko-Bizen blades?

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Utsuri disappeared from Bizen swords by the end of the Muromachi Period so I'm curious if shinto/shinshinto/modern smiths were successful in recreating it.

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well, no, utsuri still showed up in later Bizen blades, as well as in Soshu, but you've asked a good question, James, & I'm looking forward to hear what others have to say before I make any comments.

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Not well schooled in modern era blades, so defer to Barry, as Yoshindo is a great master.

 

Shinto Ishido School had a number of smiths that were able to echo utsuri (see what I did there) but to me not the same level as the earlier works. Still wildly pretty though. I have seen a few blades here and there from different eras that show utsuri, but cannot find them to list now.

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Naotane was also what I was thinking about.

 

For a detailed discussion of utsuri, check out NMB member Markus Sesko's article, https://markussesko.com/2013/08/22/some-thoughts-on-utsuri/.

 

For a little less technical, https://www.kcpinternational.com/2015/11/utsuri-shadow-of-the-hamon/

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I purchased a large late 1970s o-ko-gatana by a smith I respect.

     I previously owned one of his tantos and sold it because the former owner wanted it back. Then I ended up missing it. The o-tanto was in Soshu style.

 

The o-ko-gatana is in Bizen style. Taking off the oil, I was surprised to find that it has a very nice moderate Utsuri.

I thought modern utsuri didn't come back into common knowledge until the 1980s.

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Sunnobi tanto, signed "Hiroshi tsukuru kore" dated 1984
By modern swordsmith Keiun Naohiro
post-2051-0-06660500-1571927856_thumb.jpg

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Shinto – Ishido school – particularly Korekazu and Tatara Nagayuki

Shinshinto – Naotane, Soukan

Shinsakuto – Kawachi Kunihira, Yoshihara school - particularly Kubo Yoshihiro

 

Basically, there were relatively few smiths in these periods that were able to produce strong utsuri consistently. You can find utsuri occasionally in the works of other smiths not mentioned above, but being able to produce deliberate utsuri of consistent quality is a whole different matter!

 

Another thing to consider, many tosho of the Shinto period were striving to create new styles (Shinto Tokuden) and weren't so focused on reproducing the work of earlier schools. For example, Tsuda Echizen Sukehiro was a master of the Shinto period, and was fully capable of producing utsuri, but he's not known for it, it's not a kantei point, because you won't find it in his blades with toranba which is what he's most known for. But he also made Yamashiro-den utsushi in suguha, which often have utsuri, sometimes of phenomenal quality.

 

For modern tosho I make special mention of Kawachi Kunihira and Kubo Yoshihiro...

 

A few years back, I was able to view the sword that won Kawachi Kunihira the Masamune-sho, for me it was probably the best Bizen utsushi I’ve seen of the last 100 years, the utsuri was outstanding!

 

As for Kubo Yoshihiro, his Aoe school utsushi have very nice consistent utsuri, even on his suguha tachi, which is a real achievement as this technique doesn’t involve hadaka-yaki. Here are a couple pics (sorry for poor quality, taken on my phone) of Kubo Yoshihiro’s work and a link to a doco featuring him and his deshi:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0glduW4-EPY&fbclid=IwAR39oFJLHEcqzMzmNrHz5OTuQFZsAV70gUhsXoPidDQeWnvbPqOZrRret4s

 

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post-49-0-61820400-1572571843_thumb.jpg

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Fascinating. I'd like to see a real life comparison between koto modern utsuri. I've read in several books that pictures are a poor substitute for the real thing.

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On 10/31/2019 at 6:57 PM, Andrew Ickeringill said:

But I should add that none of these smiths can produce utsuri like that of the Ko-Bizen smiths!! Or any school from the Heian - Early Muromachi period for that matter!!

 

How do they differ?

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