Connoisseur's Guide to Japanese Swords

(Section regarding Muramasa School)


Sugata:  Deep koshi-zori, mihaba of a proper width or perhaps slightly wide for the blade.  Narrow shinogiji, and high shinogi.

The kissaki is slightly long, and the fukura is not rounded.


Jihada:  The jigane is slightly hard and usally whitish.  The jihada is a coarse mokume-hada.  Masame-hada appears on both the ha and the mune sides.


Hamon:  In nioi deki and of irregular width.  The hamon tends to have the same pattern on both sides, this is especially obvious near the start of the hamon.  There are hako midare, o-notare, yahazu midare, etc.  The tani (valley) of the midare is deep or close to the hasaki (fine edge), and nioi asji sometimes go through the hasaki.  In the case of sanbonsugi, the groups of three tapered gunome are connected by notare.  Koshiba with rugged hako midare can be seen.  Even in the work in the Soshu tradition, the hamon is lacking in nie, and the pattern is stiff and awkward looking.


Boshi:  Jizo boshi creeps upward toward the munesaki, and the kaeri is long and takes on an irregular pattern.


Nakago:  The distinctive nakago is known as the "Muramasa nakago," and has a short tanagobara.  The relatively wide nakago is ha agari kurijiri.  The yasurime are kiri.


Sengo Muramasa, Ise Province.  Oei era (1394 - 1428).  There are several generations and the sugata shows the characteristic features of each period, but generally speaking the blades have relatively larger kissaki and high shinogi.  The katana and the tanto have fukurawhich are not rounded, and look very sharp.  Hi and horimono are both rare.  The jigane is hard and the jihada is inclined to be coarse.  The hamon is nioi deki but with some nie and o-notare, hako midare, yahazu midare, and sanbonsugi, whose patterns look dynamic and acute, and the hamon has the same pattern on both sides.  Stiff koshiba can be seen.  The boshi resembles Jizo and the kaeri becomes midare.





Credit:The Connoisseur's Book of Japanese Swords

by, Kokan Nagayama 

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