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Alex A

Mumei Uda attribution to a specific name

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More often than not, when i come across o-suriage/mumei Uda, all that is written is Ko-Uda/Uda school.

 

Was wondering and i know this is not an easy question to answer, but how rare are mumei Uda with attributions to a specific smith name ?

 

Just a thought, sometimes answers can be enlightening.

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Funny you should ask, this sword I own returned from Japan today. It is the second Kunifusa I have owned alongside a number of other Ko-Uda / Uda works I have owned attributed to specific smiths within the school.

 

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Perhaps not rare but now that I think about it Uda Kunimune is the only name I can recall coming up more than once, otherwise it's the eternal "Uda-Den".

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Thanks gents for your replies.

 

Congrats Ray, great result!. 

 

Kunifusa and Kunimune, big names from the start, understandable that if any would come with an attribution, would be those.

 

I have a blade here from a somewhat more obscure smith further down the line, attributed to Hirakuni, its actually what started me thinking about this subject.

 

In hand, its obvious why the NBTHK came to the attribution, there was only four by that name and there is enough info about their work.

 

I guess there are specific traits, as more info gets compiled then maybe there may be more specific attributions in the future, hopefully.

 

Perhaps if any one else has a Uda with a name attribution, maybe add it here too

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I have been only keeping an eye out for early Uda stuff but here are some references. I do have some more saved up but I can link these as the links are working (some of my links are dead).

 

Kunimitsu: https://www.aoijapan.net/tanto-mumei-attributed-as-ko-nyudo-kunimitsu/(Kunimitsu has few mumei Jūyō too)

Kunifusa: https://www.touken-matsumoto.jp/eng/product_details_e.php?prod_no=KA-0259

Kunimune: https://www.samuraishokai.jp/sword/15132.html

Hirakuni: https://web.archive.org/web/20140717015823/http:/www.nipponto.co.jp:80/swords/KT125609.htm

Kunihisa: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Tanto-Wakizashi-Unsigned-Uda-Kunihisa-First-Muromachi-1394-NBTHK/303492988473?hash=item46a9977e39:g:PVMAAOSwsmdeTTad

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I had a sword papered Hozon to Uda Tomotsugu recently.  I thought that an unusually direct attribution for a mumei osuriage katana. 

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I had one papered to Uda Kunimune.

Barry,

 

Was it a tanto, by any chance?

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It was a slim katana that was my favourite sword for years. A friend loved it even more than me. It has a good home. I do miss it from time to time. A 9th dan swordsman from Japan needed a blade for a demo. I knew that the Kunimune was the perfect size for him. He made the blade sing. You would have thought that it had hi. I wouldn't let him keep it.

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The old thread didn't show a pic of the papers for that Kunifusa that I got from Ray, so here it is.

 

post-3478-0-72766900-1589762019_thumb.jpgpost-3478-0-29668000-1589762036_thumb.jpg

 

 

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I remember that sale, because it was such a great deal, loved that Uda and those fittings.

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I had a sword papered Hozon to Uda Tomotsugu recently.  I thought that an unusually direct attribution for a mumei osuriage katana. 

 

Tomotsugu is a name that has cropped up now and again whilst looking into Uda, just been looking at examples that are described as having a blackish jigane and ko-itame. Would take much much more than that though, I guess the NBTHK has many references of signed examples that gives them a giant head start when working out who made what. 

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For my own curiosity (and for anyone interested), spent some time this morning looking at Ko-Uda/Uda smiths, looking for details online and in books as to why some mumei Uda will receive an attribution to a particular smith name. Ive not come with anything new, in the back of my mind I was kind of thinking this has already been done and im treading old ground.

 

We know Ko-Uda have a better reputation than the latter Uda, so you wouldn't expect such blades thrown into the Uda grab bag. (as well known)

 

I went through most of the Uda school looking at blades online and in references, Kunikiyo, Kunihisa, Kunitsugu, Sanekuni,Kunizane, and so on.

 

I suppose it comes down to basic Kantei, would first look to see if I could work out the age looking at sugata, nakago etc etc.

 

Then there is the northern black steel which is often talked about, but not always the case. Kunimune made swords from dull black to brightly forged, I also have the attributed Hirakuni where only one out of the line of four smiths is said to have a "black" steel. 

 

Itame and Ko-itame mentioned a lot with masame and northern characteristics thrown in for good measure.

 

You can pick out traits that will lead you to a particular smith, the age/characteristics/hamon for my sword.

 

At the end of it all, i found a paragraph by Markus, that summed it all up with regards Uda, starting with "its safe to say", its katana, ko-uda (I dunno how you cut and paste from theses online write-ups)

 

 

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=YvqNcpSz8nQC&pg=PA5&lpg=PA5&dq=uda+kunihira&source=bl&ots=TlWyOVVvDE&sig=ACfU3U0ONSNaSAqq-iEXjkQdRs0MUQu92w&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi3vL36xr_pAhV-QEEAHUTBBMAQ6AEwEXoECAYQAQ#v=onepage&q=uda%20kunihira&f=false

 

Excuse my ramblings, but at least in ones head now.

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Although we know it's the same with quite a few schools, especially in eras where a multitude of smiths were working, but it seems to me it would be easier to point out such on such as Ko-Uda? Well, not easier in the sense, but better to narrow down. Surely quite a few smiths.

 

Maybe it is due to to such with the older Uda smiths that jigane carried quickly from the "ancestor" Norishige, so it's better or "safer" to attribute to a "more common"if it's a fine line and not get someone's hopes up. Even then, I would think some would get a smith attribution. Even though uncommon, still quite a few attributable works to certain smiths and most known to the school, it would appear.

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Tomotsugu is a name that has cropped up now and again whilst looking into Uda, just been looking at examples that are described as having a blackish jigane and ko-itame. 

 

That describes pretty much the gamut of Uda and many Hokurikudo swords.   :)

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That describes pretty much the gamut of Uda and many Hokurikudo swords.   :)

 

If only the NBTHK would write a short note as to why they gave a named attribution, until then, il keep on guessing  :laughing:

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