The Ishidô (石堂) school originated at the Sekido Temple in Ômi Province around the Kanei period (1624). From there the smiths went to various sections of the country to found branch Ishidô (石堂)schools. Some went to Kii Province and came to be known as the Kishû Ishidô (紀州石堂). Later Tameyasu (為康) led this group to Ôsaka. Other smiths went to Edo, the most famous of these being Ishidô Korekazu (石堂是一). Mitsuhira (光平) was one of the students of Ishidô Korekazu (石堂是一).
The Ishidô (石堂) school smiths were best known for their ability to make swords in the Bizen tradition of the Ichimonji school. They were well known for their hamon that was a robust choji midare which sometimes reached the shinogi. Their works often had fine utsuri and the best works are often mistaken for true Ichimonji works. One distinctive feature that differs from the Ichimonji school is that the hada in the shinogi ji is masame whereas in the Ichimonji school of the Koto period it would be itame. Another difference is that in Ichimonji swords the outstanding midare patterns would keep their exuberance into the bôshi while the bôshi of the Ishidô (石堂) school tend to be of a quieter and shallower midare pattern.
As noted above, the first generation Tameyasu (為廉) moved to Osaka and founded the Osaka Ishidô school. His son, the second generation Tameyasu (為廉), succeeded to the head of the school. He worked around the Kanbun era (ca 1661) and was awarded the title of Mutsu no Kami (陸奥守). He was the older brother of Bitchû no Kami Yasuhiro (備中守康廣). His given name was Hatakeda Rokurôzaemon (畠田六郎右衛門). He is rated as chûjôsaku smith and his works are rated as wazamono (very good cutting ability).
This katana is by the second generation Tameyasu. It has a cutting edge of 29.625 inches or 75.2 cm. The moto-haba is 1.43 inches or 3.4 cm and the saki-haba is 0.8 inches or 2.2 cm. The kasane (thickness) of the blade is 0.8 inches or 0.32 cm. It has a torii-sori that is deep, measuring 0.85 inches or 2.2 cm.
This blade’s elegant sugata reminds us of the fine works of the Koto period. This blade by nidai Tameyasu shows the wide mihaba and extended kissaki of the Nanbokuchô era sugata of the 1300’s. The jigane is itame with a tinge of mokume. The hada in the shinogi-ji is masame and this is an important kantei point to remember about this school of sword making. There is midare utsuri.
The hamon starts with a typical Osaka yakidashi and leads into a robust and flamboyant hamon that is nioi deki. It is comprised of a combination of chôji mixed with jagged and peaked midare that almost reaches the shinogi-ji in areas. Definitely Bizen in style. The nioi-guchi is bright and clear and there are clouds of nie activities above the nioi-guchi. Many of the activities take place within the hamon.
The blade is signed Mutsu (no) Kami Tachibana Tameyasu (陸奥守橘為廉). The nakago is ubu. The blade comes in an old shirasaya with a sayagaki. It also has a beautiful gold wrapped habaki. It is accompanied by a fine set of Edo period koshirae as shown in the photos below. This blade has NBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon papers authenticating its quality and authenticity.