Tajima Kami Hôjôji Tachibana Sadakuni (但馬守法城寺橘貞国) is a Jôsaku rated smith who worked in Musashi (Edo) around 1658 (Manji Period). He was a smith from the Hôjôji school who was second in skill only to Ômi no Kami Masahiro (近江守正弘) in that school.
The Hôjôji school is thought to have descended from the smith Hôjôji Kunimitsu who was one of the Sadamune Santetsu (three excellent students of Sadamune). Masahiro moved from Tajima province to Edo and founded this school which was prosperous during the Edo period. In addition to Masahiro (正弘), the school includes Sadakuni (貞国), Yoshitsugu (吉次), Masanori (正則), Masateru (正照), Kunimitsu (国光), and Kunimasa (国正). As mentioned, of these students, Sadakuni (貞国) was by far the best. It is said that his swords resembled those of Nagasone Okisato (Kotetsu). In fact, it is thought that their school must have had some connection with the Kotetsu school.
The sword presented here is a perfect example of the best work of this school and particularly the work of Sadakuni (貞国). It has a long sugata with a shallow sori. The sugata measures 75.3 cm or 29.6 inches. The sori is 1.1 cm or 0.43 inches. The moto-haba (width at the hamachi (base of the blade)) is 3.1 cm or 1.22 inches and the saki-haba (width at the kissaki (point)) is 2.01cm or 0.79 inches. The kasane (thickness) of the blade is 0.78 cm or 0.30 inches.
The overall shape of the blade is wide and thick with a shallow sori (curvature) and a stretched kissaki (point). It presents itself in a very graceful and beautiful overall shape. The jigane (forging pattern in the steel) is ko-itame forming a beautiful wood-like grain pattern. There is ji-nie present as well as some thin chikei in the ji above the temper-line. The hamon (temper-line) in Nie-deki (formed from profuse nie particles) forming a deep nioikuchi that presents itself in a gunome-midare pattern (irregular shallow waves that look like semi-circles).
The nakago is ubu (unshortened) with one mekugi-ana (hole) and a beautiful naturally aged patina. The signature is beautifully cut showing great patience and craftsmanship. The long signature reads TAJIMA KAMI HÔJÔJI TACHIBANA SADAKUNI (但馬守法城寺橘貞国).
This blade comes with a find set of Edo period koshirae that reflects a sense of pride of ownership by the Samurai who possessed it in the past. The saya is lacquered red with black trim. The tsuba is of the Heianjô school, made of iron with brass inlay applied in a very decorative manner. There are very few losses to the inlay. The menuki are of shakudo, copper, and gold plating. They depict prancing horses at play. The fuchi and kashira are of shakudo and bear the family mon of the last Samurai owner. All in all a very tasteful yet beautiful koshirae.
The sword is in excellent polish with no flaws or problems of any kind. The copper is gold foil over a copper base. This sword comes with NBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon certification papers attesting to the quality of the sword and the validity of the signature. This sword would enhance any collection.