BIZEN KANEMITSU TANTÔ 備前兼光

BIZEN KANEMITSU TANTÔ 備前兼光
8.30.17 admin@nihonto

I am pleased to offer this beautiful tantô by the famous Bizen Osafune smith, Okanemitsu. It passed Jûyô Tôken in the September of 2015. The Jûyô zufu has the following description:

Bizen Kanemitsu (備前兼光) was the son of Bizen Kagemitsu (備前景光) who was the son of Bizen Nagamitsu (備前長光).  He was also the great-grandson of the founder of the Bizen Osafune School, Mitsutada (光忠).  Because of the long working period of this smith, there are two schools of thought about whether there were one or two generations of smiths who used the name Kanemitsu (兼光).  Those who subscribe to the two-generation theory refer to the first generation as O-Kanemitsu (大兼光)and the second generation as Enbun Kanemitsu (延文兼光).  A blade dated 1331 is the oldest dated example of the work of Kanemitsu (兼光).  His works from this period until the Koei era (1342-1344) resembled those of his father, Kagemitsu (景光), whose sugata shows features typical of the late Kamakura period with hamon that are uniformly kataochi gunome consisting of nioi with a mixing in of square-shaped gunome, and there are such activities as minute ashi and yo.

Beginning around the Koei era (1342-1344), the workmanship of Kanemitsu (兼光) changed markedly.  After this period, tachi with prolonged kissaki, tanto, and wakizashi with markedly stretched width and length came into existence.  The notare hamon that was first introduced about this time came to gain popularity by the Bunwa and Enbun days (1352-1360).  The works produced in and after the Kano (1350-1351) days began to show elements of Soshu influence mixed with the native Bizen style. Since the mid 1980’s the thinking of many sword experts, including Tanobe sensei has reverted back to believing in a single generation of Kanemitsu (兼光).  After all, if there were two generations of smiths by this name, they worked in a very close time frame with no clear chronological line established to distinguish two generations.  For this reason, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that there was only one generation and he changed his sword making characteristics to comply with the changing times as the Nanbokucho Era came into being.

Tomomitsu (倫光), Yoshimitsu(義光, Yoshikage (義景), Hidemitsu (秀光), Motomitsu (基光), Masamitsu (政光), Toshimitsu (利光), and Shigemitsu (重光) belonged to the school headed by Kanemitsu (兼光).

This tantô comes in an old shirasaya with a sayagaki by the famous sword expert Kanzan Sato.  It also comes with a beautiful and tasteful koshirae of the Edo Era.  The Jûyô zufu has the following description:

Designated Juyo Token at the 61st shinsa held on the 20th of October 2015.

 Tanto: Bishu Osafune Kanemitsu; Enbun yonen juni-gatsu hi (a day in the 12th month, the 4th year of Enbun, 1359).

 Dimensions: Length: 29.1 centimeters; Sori: 0.1 centimeters; Width at the Base: 2.4 centimeters; Nakago Length: 9.6; Nakago Curvature: 0.1 centimeters.

 The construction is hira-zukuri with an iori-mune. The blade is somewhat wide, and in comparison, to the width, the blade is long. The blade is thin, and the curvature is shallow. The kitae is itame-hada mixed with mokume that is covered in minute ji-nie. The jigane contains abundant chikei and faint utsuri. The hamon is shallow notare based with ko-notare and a mixing in of ko-gunome. There is ko-ashi activity, and the nioiguchi is somewhat thick. The habuchi is well covered in ko-nie, and there is kinsuji activity with streaks of sunagashi. The boshi is notare-komi with a ko-maru and somewhat long kaeri. From the base of the koshi on the omote, there is a gomabashi carving that extents onto the nakago, and on the ura there is a carving of a koshi-bi with a soe-bi that similarly taper off onto the nakago. The nakago is ubu, and the tip is an extremely shallow ha-agari-kurijiri. The yasuri are sujikai, and there are three mekugi-ana, of which two are filled. Running down the center of the sashi-omote is a long signature that is interrupted here and there by the second and third mekugi-ana. There is a date similarly placed on the ura.

 Description: Kanemitsu succeeded Kagemitsu as the direct descendant in the Osafune School. His extant dated works begin from the late Kamakura period during the first year of Genkô (1321) to Joji (1362-1368) during the Nanbokucho period, amounting to an extended length of about 45 years. Regarding the works made up to Koei (1342-1345) during the early part of Nanbokucho, both the tachi and tanto have average shapes, and the hamon are sugu in style with a mixing in of gunome, or, he tempered in a kataochi style gunome, which gives them a feeling of entirely following in the footsteps of his father, Kagemtsu’s style of workmanship. However, from around Jowa and Kanô (1345-1352), the shapes become large patterned, and hamon that had not been seen up until now become essentially notare. During circa Bunwa and Enbun (1352-1361), such hamon are often seen.

As for this tanto, the kitae is itame mixed with mokume that is covered in minute ji-nie. The jigane contains an abundance of chikei, and there is faint utsuri. The hamon is essentially shallow notare with ko-notare and a mixing in of ko-gunome. There is ko-ashi activity, and the nioiguchi is rather thick. The habuchi is well covered in ko-nie, and there is kinsuji activity with streaks of sunagashi. The appearance of this style of workmanship clearly displays the entire style of workmanship in Kanemitsu’s late period works. The excellence of the very well worked kitae with its thick covering in minute ji-nie is in addition to the excellent state of preservation, making this a masterpiece among similar works.

PRICE: $49,500.00

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