出羽大掾藤原国路
Dewa Daijo Kunimichi
Jo Jo Saku Shinto Wakizashi
SCHOOL Horikawa
PERIOD Edo Jidai: circa, Kanei 1624-1644
PAPER/CLASSIFICATION NBTHK Hozon, NBTHK Tokubetsu Kicho  
MEI "Dewa Daijo Fujiwara Kunimichi" 
TOKO TAIKAN RANKING 8.5 million yen
FUJISHIRO RANKING Jo Jo Saku
FORM Wakizashi
NAGASA 39.59 cm
SUGATA  Namazuo-zukuri
SORI Saki-sori
MUNE Iori mune
KASANE 6 mm
MOTOHABA 2.9 cm
NAKAGO CONDITION Ubu
NAKAGO SHAPE Standard with kuri-jiri  
MEKUGIANA 0ne
YASURIME  O-sujikai


Hamon :  The omote is ko-nie deki gunome midare becoming wide in the monouchi. There are thick bands of sunagashi and powerful kinsuji. The ashi are thick and interrupted by sunagashi. The ura is a wide gunome choji midare. Both kawazuko choji and yahazu midare can be seen. There are long ashi. The nioi-guchi is thick and bright on both sides.

Kitae :  The omote is masame with ji-nie. Bands of larger nie in linear formations are present. The ura is ko-mokume with ji-nie and tobiyaki. A hint of nagareru and zanguri style can be seen overall.

Boshi :  The omote is togari with a long kaeri. The ura is jizo with a long kaeri.

About this sword :   Dewa Daijo Kunimichi was a smith of the Horikawa school and active in the early Edo period. Initially, he studied under Iga no Kami Kinmichi and later became a pupil of Horikawa Kunihiro. There is a blade by Kunimichi, made in 1653, that records his age as 77. Thus, his year of birth occurred in 1576. In his early mei, he used 道 for "michi". He began to use 路 for "michi" in 1609. Blades with his title of Dewa Daijo start around 1615. His year of passing is unknown but there is a work produced in 1657 that states his age of 82 at that time. As we can see, he had a long active period. This was a time in which the imminent threat of war was strongly lingering from the previous era. There was "martial urgency" but without the need to mass produce weapons for large ongoing battles. Such an environment was ideal for the production of carefully made swords and the honing of one's craft as we see in this work by Kunimichi.

This wakizashi is healthy and of excellent workmanship. It conveys a powerful feeling in one's hands. The nioi-guchi is consistent and bright throughout the length of the blade. The nioi-guchi in the turn-back of the boshi is bright and clear. The jigane is well made. Highly controlled nie hataraki appear on the surface conveying the quality of Jo Jo Saku workmanship in an ideal manner. This sword is in good old polish. There are some slight blemishes on the surface as shown in photos.

This blade is quite remarkable in that the hamon and jigane are entirely different on each side. The omote has conspicuous masame hada with powerful linear nei hataraki which conveys a feeling of Yamato Shizu. The ura is Soden style with ko-mokume and nie deki choji gunome with ashi. We can observe that because the jiagne is fully divergent, the hataraki of each side is also. The control of the steel shown in this blade is highly admirable. This attests clearly to Dewa Daijo Kunimichi's high reputation and position as one of the leading sword makers of his time.

This Kunimichi has two papers from the NBTHK. One is a Hozon paper from 2014 and the other is NBTHK Tokubetsu Kicho paper from 1961. A copy of this blades Torokusho is also present. This was for the registration of swords based on the Culture Property Protection Law. This Torokusho is dated Showa 26 (1951). This was the first full year of Torokusho. (it began in December of 1950) Early Torokusho is interesting. In one light, it shows that the blade has been in a collection since the 1950s and that the owner was concerned that it be immediately protected at that time. There are many fine items with early Torokusho. However, all Nihonto were allowed to be registered. It was not limited to Daimyo families and such in the beginning. We can say that people with important collections and avid sword lovers were quick to abide by the new law and there were many large and important collectors registered in Showa 26 - 27. Statistically speaking, the chance of a fine blade being from an important collection is higher among these.

This wakizashi is accompanied by an old shira-saya with horn koiguchi and fuchi. The habaki is a tall ishime example done in gold foil. There is also a cotton storage bag. An excellent sword and exciting example of Kunimichi's work.

HOLD




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