Ryujin Swords

Koto Wakizashi by Mihara Masatsugu


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Blade:

Period: Muromachi period (Eisho era).

Mei: Mihara ju Masatsugu saku

Sugata: Shinogi-zukuri, tori-zori, iori-mune. Gomabashi-hi on omote, bo-hi on ura. A very graceful-looking sword

Overall length: 25.39 inches (645.00 mm)

Nagasa: 20.59 inches (523.00 mm) long.

Nakago: Ubu, 4.83 inches (122.00 mm), ha-agari kuri-jiri, one mekugi-ana. The yasurime are almost obliterated by centuries of patination but were probably kiri.

Kissaki: Chu-kissaki, 0.99 inches (25.34 mm). The boshi is ko-maru with kaeri.

Moto-haba: 1.02 inches (25.82 mm). Moto-gasane: 0.25 inches (6.25 mm). Saki-haba: 0.64 inches (16.25 mm). Saki-gasane: 0.22 inches (5.50 mm).

Sori: 0.72 inches (18.25 mm)

Hamon: Midare/small gunome.

Hada: Ko-mokume

Blade condition:

Good old polish with minor surface scratches. No flaws, chips, hagirae or bends. One minor ware, about the width of a hair. However, this is excusable in a Koto blade.

Mounts:

Buke-zukuri koshirae with tsuka-gawa bindings and kuro-ishime lacquering on the saya. The fuchi-kashira and menuki depict bamboo. The Owari tsuba that seems to incorporate some Buddhist characters in the design at top and bottom. Owari tsuba were developed in the Muromachi period and are considered by many, especially in Japan, to be the finest of the iron ji sukashi tsuba.

Comments:

Masatsugu (MAS 1101), a well regarded sue-Mihara smith.

The Mihara school, in Bingo province, was founded by Masaie and was active from the Kamakura to the Muromachi periods. The names of all its smiths begin with kanji ‘masa’. The output of the school was initially mostly katana, but later wakizashis and tantos came to dominate. The school is known for its relatively hard jigane.

The Mihara school has somehow garnered a reputation in the West for lesser quality work. This is completely undeserved and extremely inaccurate. Mihara school works are actually highly regarded, and the school has many Juyo Token to their credit. Their swords are skilfully made, and quite beautiful with subtle dignity.

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