This is a nicely mounted tantô signed by one of the later Uda smiths named Kunimune. It dates to the Muromachi era during the early 1500’s. The Uda school of sword making flourished in the Northern province of Etchû during the koto era. Etchû was located on Japan’s Northern coast and the smiths from this area are famous for producing swords with a darkish steel. This blade is a perfect example of that style of workmanship. The sugata is hira-zukuri with a shallow saki-zori that is indicative of the Muromachi era. The hada is a tight ko-mokume and masame pattern. The hamon is suguha with a bright nie-guchi. The blade has a nagasa of 11.875 inches or 30.25 cm. The moto-haba is 0.93 inches or 2.37 cm. The saki-haba is 0.69 inches or 1.74 cm.
There were several generations of smiths who worked under the name Uda Kunimune from 1381 to around 1532. The papers of this sword attribute it to one of the kodai, or later generation, Kunemune smith’s. The condition of the sword is very good with only a very few very minor lamination separations as one would expect with a blade of this age. It is in good polish also and needs no work.
This tantô comes with a nice Higo style koshirae the fittings of which are made of iron with a gold floral and geometric pattern. The sword is accompanied by old NBTHK Kitcho Tôken papers that date to 1979. I guarantee it will get Hozon papers if re-submitted to the NBTHK by its new owner. This sword is a great piece of history and would make a nice addition to anyone’s collection.