A Tanto of the Mino Tradition:
Although this Tanto of the Mino Tradition has not seen Shinsa, it appears to be from the Sue Seki School of the later Koto, Muromachi Period.
With the Mino tradition finally established, it’s productivity began to increase rapidly, as swordsmiths of the Mino province worked late into the Muromachi Period. To meet the demand for the large quantity of swords needed for ongoing warfare, new methods of swordmaking were developed, and these seem to have attached greater importance to tactical use and functionality, rather than aesthetic concerns. Mino province swords were, from the start, famous for their sharpness. In fact, many Samurai of the day, took Mino swords into battle and held them in high regard.
Smiths centered in the town of Seki are representative of the Mino Tradition during the later half of the Muromachi Period. Swords produced by these smiths are known as Sue Seki, [probably] because of the prosperity of the town of Seki. (Kokan Nagayama)
Many excellent smiths came out of the Sue Seki school. One of the most notable Sue Seki schools is that of the Kanefusa line of smiths. Several generations of smiths used the Kanefusa name and produced many fine swords.
Kanefusa swords are characterized by a distinctive hamon called Kenbo Midare, a type of chogi gunome. Other smiths, including the famous Nosada (Kanesada), also used this type of hamon, but it was Kanefusa that became noted for it. As in other Sue Seki swords, the hada is coarse mokume mixed with masame.
Interestingly, there appears to be a relationship between the Ujifusa line of smiths to this school, as evidenced by the fact that many later generation Kanefusa smiths changed their name to Ujifusa. Hida no kami Ujifusa became a famous Samurai/Swordsmith and is counted as one of the Owari San Saku, The Three Great Smiths of Owari.
As one can see from this sword, an attribution to Kanefusa is valid, because of the Kenbo Midare type hamon. This tanto is indeed worthy of the more pedagogical opinion of the NBTHK, and is a great candidate for shinsa.
This is a beautifully forged hirazukure tanto, the condition of which, is as shown. It has a slight chip on the point that will polish out without concern. A polish by a professional togishi is recommended. However, this sword can be greatly enjoyed, as is.
The koshirae is all original. Finding swords like this in original koshirae is becoming quite rare. The kodogu are all matching shibuichi (silver). The menuki are of Shishi, carved in fine detail. The saya is cracked with chipped lacquer.
Together this is an attractive set, with aesthetic, as well as historical value.
Nagasa: 26.3 cm
Motohaba: 2.4 cm
Kasane: .4 cm
Nakago: Ubu, Mumei.
All in excellent condition.