This tachi was originally found in high quality saya with higo fittings. It was completely out of polish. My original thought was that it is Yamashiro. Now that it is recently back from polish, many sword aficionados are calling it Bizen Yoshii Den, which I concur with. But, it could also be the work of another Bizen School.
The jigane is classic Bizen Den, with fine, bright nie. The quality of the steel points us to the Nambokucho Period, or earlier. The Hada is mainly itame, with streaks of masame in the ha. There is strong utsure throughout. The hamon is kogumome, with subdued, yet fine hataraki. Many Bizen smiths worked in this style, including Bizen Nagamitsu, Kagemitsu and his son, the famous Kanemitsu. We expect the kogumome of Kagemitsu to be slightly slanted, but this is not always the case with his extant works. In Kanemitsu, this would resemble his early works, or first generation, depending on which theory you subscribe to; one, or two generation. But, in the case of a Yoshii work, the utsuri would follow closely the course of the connected ko-gunome. -65.664 Tachi, Koto Kantei; Sesko.
This is sword for those who truly appreciate Koto Period works. Koto Collectors are able to overlook minor flaws, to see the big picture. Koto Swords, especially from the Kamakura and Nambokucho Periods, are considered to be the pinnacle of excellence in quality and workmanship. Minor flaws are to be overlooked in their appreciation as fine works and value as artifacts. This sword has no fatal flaws, but many small ware and areas of rough hada, that are over emphasized by the flash on my camera.
This sword has seen many polishes, exposing some darker steel. It is most likely from the Nambokucho Period (14th Century). The boshi is intact, just difficult to photograph. The boshi has a sharp turn back and looks almost yakitsume. There is wide bo utsuri mixed with midare utsuri, throughout. The yakidashi near the hamachi is an effect of kesho polish. The hamon actually continues deep into the nakago. The blade is osuriage, or cut down from a much longer tachi.
I have no doubt that this sword will paper to some respectable Bizen smith. Bob Benson said this would be an interesting sword to send for Shinsa. I guarantee it will paper if sent to the NBTHK.
Shirasaya was done by John Tirado.
Nagasa: 64.5 cm
Motohaba: 2.7 cm
Sakihaba: 1.7 cm
Sori: 2 cm