The Yamato Tegai (大和手搔)school got its name from the fact that its workshop was built in front of the gate Tengai-mon belonging to the Todaiji Temple in Nara. The first generation Kanenaga (包永)who worked around 1288-1293 is known to be the founder of the Yamato Tegai (大和手搔) school of sword making. The smiths of this school all used the same character. “Kane” (包) in their works. Some of the other smiths were Kanekiyo (包清), Kanetsugu(包次), Kanetoshi (包俊), and Kanemitsu (包光). One of the later smiths, Kaneuji (包氏), left the Tegai tradition to study the Sôshû tradition with Masamune(正宗). He later moved to Mino and founded the new sword making tradition of Mino. Around then he changed the character “Kane” in his meifrom (包) to (兼), the one we are familiar with for all succeeding Mino smiths. Tegai Kaneuji (手搔包氏) was also known as Shizu(志津). We call swords made by Kaneuji (包氏) while he was living in Nara, Yamato Shizu (大和志津)swords.
Of the smiths of this school, the first generation Kanenaga (包永) left a fair number of signed examples of his work. Most have been greatly shortened with the two characters of his name being found at the very bottom of the nakago. There are only two known examples of intact nakago surviving and, unfortunately, one of them has been re-tempered. The works of the first generation Kanenaga (包永) are known to be the best the school produced. The name, Kanenaga (包永), was used by succeeding generations of smiths.
This wakizashi was once a tachi made by Tegai Kanenaga (手搔包永). Though the original nakago has been lost through shortening, the blade retains a beautiful curvature (sori). The workmanship is exceptional and typical of the works of Kanenaga so that the Jûyô committee was confident enough to attribute it directly to the first generation Kanenaga (包永).
This sword was also published in the NBTHK sword society journal, Token Bijutsu in March of 1973. Please see the photos below.
The Jûyô zufu translates as follows:
Jūyō-tōken at the 21st Jūyō shinsa held on March 1, 1973
wakizashi, mumei: Kanenaga (包永)
Nagasa 56.6 cm, sori 1.4 cm, motohaba 2.7 cm, sakihaba 2.0 cm, kissaki-nagasa 2.9 cm, nakago-nagasa 16.7 cm, hardly any nakago-sori
Sugata: shinogi-zukuri, iori-mune, despite the ō-suriage a noticeable sori, compact chū-kissaki.
Kitae: itame that tends to nagare and that features ji-nie.
Hamon: nie-laden suguha-chō that overall tends to a slightly undulating notare and that is mixed with ko-gunome, uchinoke, yubashiri, sunagashi, and kinsuji.
Bōshi: sugu with hakikake and running out in yakitsume manner.
Nakago: ō-suriage, kirijiri, kiri-yasurime, one mekugi-ana, mumei.
This blade is ō-suriage mumei but can be attributed to Tegai Kanenaga. It shows an itame-nagare with plenty of ji-nie and a nie-laden suguha that overall tends to a slightly undulating notare and that is mixed with uchinoke and yubashiri. Thus, the blade shows very well the workmanship of Kanenaga and is apart from that of excellent workmanship.
This blade presents an excellent opportunity for someone to own a beautiful Jûyô Tôken blade at a extremely reasonable price. If you have always dreamt of owning a Jûyô Tôken from the Kamakura era of the 13thcentury, do not let this one get away. You will not see another at a price like this very often, if ever.