MUNEHIRO (SOKAN) MASTERPIECE
WITH LIVE CUTTING TEST, AND FINE HORIMONO!

THIS BLADE IS UNDOUBTEDLY ONE OF "MUNEHIRO - SOKAN'S" MASTERPIECES. THIS IS QUITE APPARENT FROM IT'S DISTINCTIVE FEATURES. THE HAMON (TEMPERING) IS HIS SELDOM SEEN "SAKA CHOJI" (REARWARD SLANTING CHOJI) THIS IS FOUND IN THE KAMAKURA BIZEN SCHOOLS OF "ICHIMONJI", AND "BIZEN HATAKADA", HIS NORMAL HAMON IS "GONOME" (ROW OF BEADS), THE HORIMONO IS OF "FUDO'S ROPE", WITH A DRAGONS CLAW, AND A KEN BLADE, ON THE END'S. THE DRAGON (KURIKARA), AROUND A KEN SWORD IS ONE OF HIS SCARCEST CARVINGS, WE KNOW OF ONLY THREE OTHERS LIKE IT.

THE "TAMESHIGIRI" (CUTTING TEST) WAS DONE WITH THE "RYO KURAMA" STROKE (SEE CHART) # 1, THIS IS BY FARE THE MOST DIFFICULT TEST TO SUCCESSFULLY ACCOMPLISH, AND WAS DONE AS A PUNISHMENT (SO INSCRIBED ON THE NAKAGO) ON A "LIVE" CONDEMNED CRIMINAL, AT THE PRISON TESTING GROUNDS. IT WAS PERFORMED BY "GOTO SHINTARO", ONLY EIGHT MONTHS, AFTER THE BLADE WAS MADE. THE PRACTICE OF PERFORMING "LIVE TAMESHIGIRI" WAS BANNED ONLY A FEW YEARS AFTER THIS TEST, IN THE EARLY YEARS OF THE "MEIJI RESTORATION". THE RARE COMBINATION OF THESE ATTRIBUTES, MAKES THIS A TRULY UNIQUE (ONE OF A KIND), AND EXTREMELY COLLECTABLE BLADE. IT IS RATED AS "TOKUBETSU HOZON", BY THE "N.B.T.H.K.".

MUNEHIRO - SOKAN, WAS ONE OF THE FOREMOST SWORD SMITHS, AND ONE OF THE TOP FIVE (5) HORIMONO MASTERS OF THE SHIN-SHINTO (1801 ~ 1867), AND EARLY MEIJI  PERIOD. HE WAS BORN IN OKUSHU SHIRAKAWA (AREA), ABU (VILLAGE) NEAR SUMIGAWA. HE, MOVED TO EDO (TOKYO) AT AN EARLY AGE, AND BEGAN STUDYING THE ARTS OF BLADE MAKING IN THE SCHOOL OF THE FAMOUS "KOYAMA MUNETSUGU" (ONE OF THE "FOREMOST FIVE" OF THE SHIN-SHINTO PERIOD). HE RAPIDLY BECAME ONE OF MUNETSUGU'S FINEST STUDENTS, HIS EARLY WORKS MIRROR THOSE OF HIS SENSEI (TEACHER), AND ARE NORMALLY DONE IN THE BIZEN STYLE, WITH GONOME HAMONS. HIS "HADA" (BLADE GRAIN) IS NORMALLY KO-MOKUME (SMALL BURL WOOD), MIXED WITH ITAME (NORMAL WOOD GRAIN). HE BEGAN TO CARVE HORIMONO AS AN AVOCATION. HIS SKILL LEVELS RAPIDLY PROGRESSED (FANTASTIC DETAILED), AND HE BECAME ONE OF THE PERIODS FOREMOST HORIMONO MASTERS. NEARLY ALL THE WORKS OF HIS SENSEI (TEACHER)  MUNETSUGU THAT HAVE HORIMONO ARE THE WORK OF MUNEHIRO - SOKAN. IT IS SAID THAT MUNETSUGU WOULD ALLOW NO ONE ELSE TO ENGRAVE HIS MASTERPIECES. SOKAN, ENGRAVED: HI & BO-HI (GROOVES), KEN SWORDS (BUDDHIST DOUBLE EDGED BLADES), "FUDO'S" (THE DEITY OF WARRIORS) ROPE, "GOMABASHI" (DOUBLE CHOP STICK GROOVES, W / A DRAGONS CLAW, "BONJI" (SANSCRIPT KANJI, PRAYERS), AND A FEW COMPLETE "DRAGONS" (KURIKARA), WE KNOW OF ONLY THREE 3 IN ADDITION TO THE ONE ON OUR BLADE. HIS HORIMONO IS FASTIDIOUS, AND EXHIBITS THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF SKILL.

FOR THE REMAINDER OF HIS CAREER, HE RESIDED IN FUKAGAWA HAKOZAKI AREA OF EDO. HIS WORKS CONTINUED INTO THE MEIJI PERIOD FOR NEARLY FIFTEEN (15) ADDITIONAL YEARS. AFTER 1870, WHEN THE CARRYING OF SWORDS WAS FORBIDDEN, AND THE SAMURAI WERE DISBANDED. THE HORIMONO DEMAND SLOWED CONSIDERABLY. HE THEN PURSUED A LIVELIHOOD IN THE FIELD OF ART, WERE THE DEMAND FOR HIGHLY SKILLED ENGRAVERS REMAINED CONSTANT. HE WAS OF COURSE, ALWAYS AVAILABLE TO DO HORIMONO, ON A BLADE. MUNEHIRO - SOKAN PASSED AWAY IN MEIJI THE 16th. YEAR (1883).
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

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