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Old school Kantei exercise with board prize


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18 minutes ago, lonely panet said:

im guesssing shin shinto sumitoshi because its so insanely healthy 


Is it though ?. Its in great condition, great polish and with great pics, but sure i see small Shintetsu.


The Nakago holes look punched, is this something we see on a lot of Naotone and the like?


Also looks to be too much character in the steel for that line and weak activity in the hamon like you see in older blades.


Funnily enough though, copied Morimitsu, i do hope not:laughing:


Anyways, all good fun



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I think if you’re trying to game this you need to think about whether Darcy is likely to spend/ waste time on anything that isn’t top class. I think probably not so I’d bid accordingly. Could easily be wrong, but...

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The answer comes tomorrow. 


Last clue: Soshu Nambokucho it is. Vast majority have gotten this right, so kudos! 


But where would the attribution point to? There are certainly competing hypothesis there. 

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Alex Kunimitsu and Kunishige are in the right direction. It would also fit with Kunihiro. So i gave my guess to the hasebe line. It is a stunning koto blade. But as often I'm a total noob in sword knowledge. I could not say which smith it is, only the line of nearly similar working smiths. :laughing:

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Can be Nobukuni, though very many accept his Soshu peak as somewhat later.

I am not sure about Sa school, I thought their mokume is very distinctively smaller in size and isolated, you have like a pack of mokume between really fine itame. Maybe others can correct me on this one.

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Time for the reveal! Many good and close answers. The majority nailed the period and tradition. A few of you nailed the school. Sue-Sa or Sa Ichimon would count as Atari here, so I think the board was very close to succeeding here (and Brian can PM me his Ether public key) :clap:


The sword is attributed to the Sa Ichimon. By tradition, Sa school blades with a relatively calm suguha or cho-notare are attributed to Sa Sadayoshi. Due of the wild monouchi and ichimai boshi, the attribution is prefaced by "Den". So we have here a piece attributed to Den Sa Sadayoshi. The smith has 21 Juyo pieces, and half of them are accompanied by Den. His signed works are extraordinarily rare, and the attribution within the ichimon follows tradition. There is significant overlap between Sadayoshi and his father, Yoshisada, in style. To sum up, there is significant uncertainty when attributing within the Sa Ichimon due to the lack of daito with a preserved signature and the majority of works attributed to his students and the master are prefaced by Den. The thick and bright habuchi with sparkling ko-nie is a strong kantei point for Sa school. 


The boshi of Sa school is often quite distinctive, with a sharp and long kaeri. Here we have a sharp kaeri, but more intriguing is its ichimai characteristics, which is unique amongst Sa School published work. What I find particularly appealing is the wild but symmetrically tempered boshi and monouchi. In combination with the early end of the bohi, we have here a deliberate design choice on behalf of the smith and essentially would give the blade a second life in the event of a broken boshi. A point of particular interest is that there is a single prominent kinsuji on both sides, at the same place. These features are unusual for the Sa ichimon, and point to the influence of Go. An attribution to a student of Go is also plausible here, but that is not within the practice of the NBTHK due to lack of an extent historical corpus. 

The blade was once part of the a museum collection and came with an old inventory tag on its sayagaki (further research required here, I was told Tokyo national museum had the same tags). It further had an early torokusho number of 4038. Not much else is known about its provenance. It is possible that it was passed as Go during the Edo period due to its prominent fully hardened boshi, or the work of O-Sa as is often the case with Sa Ichimon, and has been carefully preserved as a result. For an old blade, the state of preservation is close to Kenzen, with a few weak areas on one side. Often for Sue-Sa or Sa ichimon attributions, the hada can be relatively weak, and this particular work stands out here. 


It passed Juyo with the following setsumei: 


The Chikuzen-smith Samonji (左文字) was active in the early Nanbokuchō period and left
behind the traditional, classical Kyūshu style by establishing a new style which was comprised
of a bright and clear jiba and a prominent amount of chikei and kinsuji. Samonji had many highly
skilled students, e.g., Yasuyoshi (安吉), Yukihiro (行弘), Yoshisada (吉貞), Kunihiro (国弘).
Hiroyuki (弘行), Hiroyasu (弘安), and Sadayoshi (貞吉), who faithfully continued the style of
their master and who flourished throughout the Nanbokuchō period.
It is said that Sadayoshi (貞吉) was the son of Yasuyoshi (安吉) and that he was active around
Bunna (文和, 1352-1356). Signed works by this smith are extremely rare but there are unsigned

blades with period attributions to Sadayoshi which often show a ha that bases on a Sa School-
typical suguha.


This blade is ō-suriage but reflects with its wide mihaba, little taper, shallow sori, and elongated
kissaki the typical shape of the Nanbokuchō period. The kitae is a standing-out itame that is mixed
with mokume and nagare and that features much chikei. The hamon is a nie-laden chū-suguha with a
wide nioiguchi that tends a little bit towards notare, that widens along the monouchi, and that is
mixed with gunome and angular elements, and the bōshi is a largely undulating midare-komi with
a pointed kaeri. We recognize thus the workmanship of the Sa School and as Sadayoshi is
traditionally known for hardening most often a suguha-based hamon within this school, the blade
can be attributed to him. The jiba is rich in hataraki and has many highlights, and particularly
impressive are the powerful nie and the sharply pointed kaeri of the bōshi, features which both
match the dynamic shape of the blade. Therefore, we have here an ambitious masterwork among
all blades attributed to this smith.


Tanobe sensei's sayagaki

Jūyō-tōken at the 63rd jūyō shinsa
Sa Sadayoshi from Chikuzen province
This blade is ō-suriage mumei. It is of an Enbun-Jōji shape, shows an itame-nagare that features
plenty of ji-nie and much chikei, and is hardened in a nie-laden suug-chō with a wide nioiguchi that
shows kinsuji and yubashieri and that is mixed along the upper half of the blade with a gently
undulating notare. The bōshi is a widely hardened midare-bōshi that is bold and powerful and as
its kaeri is somewhat pointed, we recognize along the jiba all characteristics of the Samonji group,

with the rather calm course of the ha of this masterwork attributing it within this group to Sada-
yoshi. Blade length ~ 71.5 cm




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If I were in the juyo shinsa ( don't take this too seriously)  I wouldn't rule out Naoe Shizu Kaneuji,  being my 2nd guess.  Believe it or not I had a Sa Sadayoshi,  one (SA) character in gold, suguha hamon, with a dip (small cave in)  on one side. 

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Because I'm basically not knowledgable or experienced enough with all sorts of swords to do kantei, i didn't participate. However I did do a fair bit of reading because of this thread which was great. I could've thrown in some guesses but they would be short minded, and based on a few connected dots based on the hada and the connoisseur book. Ending up fairly quickly with Tametsugu or Sanekage. Wondering on Uda or whether it was a trick pony kantei (which lead me to reading about Mito Rekkô (烈公)). I enjoyed the exercise though and rarely feel like learning from home gives palpable results. Now I have an idea of where the approach failed, what worked etc. Cool thread!


But what really leaves me wondering is that I was under the impression that the 'blander' circular/pool area's in the hada were a trait of Aoe (I could be mistakenly remembering this). But I wasn't really sure whether that was shingane or a trait. Plus reading the topic already gave me many "influences" on the way of thinking.


Maybe its an idea to do kantei posts with spoiler tags (although for really knowledgeable people i suppose this is not an issue). Its like seeing many trailers from different sources for the same movie.

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Interesting exercise, main reason for me is thought id have a go as you should do without reaching for books and the internet.


Wont bore folk with images of swords from my original choice but there are similarities, all went to pot in the end though, main reason being you doubt you would find any sword made by that smith with those dimensions:laughing:


I suppose unless you look at these swords in hand on a regular basis then it makes it rather difficult.


Which most of us dont.


Thanks though, lovely sword in great condition.



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Those were some pretty good answers. But then some kind of degenerated into the classic overthinking that can happen with kantei. Sucks when you were right or close then convince yourself that it's something else. Sometimes the gut feeling is the best one because it's being processed at a lower part of your brain, you feel that it looks like something and then you start going over too many checklists in your head and as mentioned, overthink.

I never sold this sword, just worked on the photos. I had a chance to see it when Chris bought it from someone else.

The Sadamune answers are very interesting to me because to me the hamon looks a lot like Takagi Sadamune.

Also the Go and Tametsugu answers are interesting, because of the boshi...

Go generally will not have an o-kissaki. So going to Tametsugu from there is not too bad. Less known is Tachibana Yoshizane ... another son/student of Go but nothing survived and so is a "really bad answer" for kantei. But when I look at a blade like this makes me think about a smith like that with lost work. Hata Nagayoshi, on the hada and nie is an interesting call but there are no mumei assigned to him, just 3 Norishige-like tanto with signatures. Esshu Kuniyuki makes this kind of standing out hada too.



The Sa Sadayoshi call though if you look at the other Sadayoshi, is very good and relevant. There are a lot of O-kissaki blades with bright nie and vivid hada in the group of Samonji students and they are all very highly ranked. Here is another and you can see the similarities in hamon structure and blade shape.



And if you have seen something like the following you can go right into the Sa group.



I would have said Takagi Sadamune as my answer if I didn't know what it was already. But when you look at the other examples the rationale is very clear as to the attribution.


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