This is a rare treat. It is signed ko-Bizen tachi from the early Kamakura era. This tachi has been shortened but it still retains its original two-character signature, Sukemitsu (助光). It has been given NBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon papers that authenticate the validity of the signature and attest that it was forged in the Kamakura Zenki era. This means early Kamakura or around 1200 AD. To hold and enjoy a blade of this age is truly inspiring.
Although this tachi has been shortened, it still has a cutting edge of 27 11/16 inches or 70.3 cm. It has a deep and graceful koshi-zori that tends to straighten a bit as it approaches the munemachi (upper part of the blade). This is a further indication of a blade from the late Heian to early Kamakura era. The koshi-zori is almost one inch measuring 0.92 inches or 2.3 cm. It is a graceful blade that tapers somewhat toward the kissaki with a moto-haba of 1.1 inch or 2.74 cm and a saki-haba of 0.69 inches or 1.75 cm. The thickness of the kasane is 0.22 inches or 0.56 cm.
This blade incorporates all of the beauty of the magnificent blades produced during what is considered to be the “golden age” of sword making. As noted, it has a graceful sugata and feels feather light in one’s hand. The jigane is a beautiful mixture of ko-itame with mokume as one would expect from the Bizen school. The hamon is ko-chôji midare with deep ashi and other wonderful activities. Throughout the length of the blade on both sides is a magnificent utsuri that really stands out. The bôshi is strong with lots of temper that turns back in a ko-maru shape with a short kaeri. There are some openings here and there as one would expect with a blade that is over 800 years old, but that is to be expected. Most of the openings are on or above the shinogi-ji which is acceptable.
If you have ever desired to own a signed blade from this renowned era of sword-making, this is your opportunity. This blade has been priced very competitively for a quick sale and I do not expect it to be around for a long period of time.