This is a fine katana by the Shinto smith Kunitake. It is signed Fujiwara Kunitake. He is a Jo-saku rated smith. Kunitake was a student of the very famous Shinto sword maker, Horikawa Kunihiro. Kunitake lived around the first half of the 17th century and he is said to be the youngest son of Sanjo Yoshinori. He was the father of Izumo no Daijo Yoshitake. His works are few.
Kunitake is also known to have had a very close relationship with another of Kunihiro’s students Dewa Daijo Kunimichi. This fact is noted in Tanobe Sensei’s sayagaki. Because he worked for Kunihiro for a long time, the works of Kunitake are few.
This is a very wide and long sword, which gives the impression of great strength. The cutting edge is 77.3 cm or 30 7/16 inches. The width at the moto-haba is 3.13 cm or 1.23 inches. The saki-haba is 2.13 cm or 0.84 inches. The mi-haba is 0.78 cm or 0.31 inches. The sori is a torii sori measuring about 2.5 cm or about 1 inch. There are large grooves (bo-hi) on both sides, which lighten the blade without its losing strength. The temper is a wide and irregular gunome midare, which sweeps up almost to the shinogi in spots. There is a small kitae ware in the hamon near the hamachi but it does not detract from the blade. This lis not a flaw, it is just the way the blade was made. There are profuse kinsuji, sunagashi, ashi, and other great activities throughout the hamon. The hada is a pronounced mokume with some areas of itame. This blade is in nice polish with no additional work necessary. It is in a very nice shirasaya with a long sayagaki by Tanobe Sensei of the NBTHK in which he explains what I have written above in the first paragraph.
The mountings for this blade are big and strong, as one would expect. These are the mountings of the Samurai who last owned this blade. They are not a set of “put together” mounts one often finds these days. The saya is black lacquer. The tsuka is wrapped in a narrow black ito that shows a good amount of handling and use (which is kind of neat). The fuchi and kashira are iron with a gold inlay of a floral pattern. The menuki are gold washed horses that are running. The tsuba is iron and of the Tenpo style. The sageo is an old one and it is made of doeskin.
This sword was awarded Tokubetsu Hozon papers by the NBTHK attesting to its quality and authenticity. This is a great sword accompanied by a set of mounts that any Samurai would have been proud to carry.