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Juyo Hidekage, Circa 1447 AD
Rare Ko-Dachi Blade, Kamakura Style
Juyo token by the NBTHK
Jūyō-tōken at the 34th jūyō shinsa held on April 14, 1988
tachi, mei: Bishū Osafune Hidekage – Hōtoku ninen jūgatsu hi (備州長船秀景・宝徳二年十月日) – “Osafune Hidekage from Bizen province, on a day in the tenth month of Hōtoku two (1450)”
Tōkyō, Tazumi Minoru (田住實)
nagasa 62.4 cm, sori 2.0 cm, motohaba 2.7 cm, sakihaba 1.6 cm, kissaki-nagasa 2.6 cm, nakago-nagasa 13.8 cm, nakago-sori 0.2 cm
Keijō: shinogi-zukuri, iori-mune, mihaba and kasane of normal dimensions and proportions, relatively short nagasa, chū-kissaki
Kitae: dense itame that is mixed with mokume and nagare and that features ji-nie and a faint midare-style of utsuri
Hamon: chū-suguha-chō in nioi-deki with ko-nie that is mixed along the upper half with ko-notare and that fearures more nie along the bottom half, in addition, many ashi and yō appear
Bōshi: on the omote side sugu, on the ura side a little bit midare-komi, both sides feature a maru-kaeri
Nakago: ubu, kurijiri, sujikai-yasurime, two mekugi-ana, the haki-omote side bears centrally and towards the back of the ang a naga-mei, the ura side bears an identically positioned date
This is a tachi by Osafune Hidekage (秀景) that is dated with the second year of Hōtoku (宝徳, 1450). We know works signed Hidekage that are dated from the era Ōei (応永, 1394–1428) to the era Ōnin (応仁, 1466–1469), which suggests that several generations existed with this name. Relatively few Hidekage works exist and compared to the works of contemporary Bizen smiths, they are of a somewhat more classical interpretation and thus quite unique. Despite its a relatively short nagasa, the shape with its smallish kissaki of this blade emulates a classical early tachi-sugata. The kitae features a midare-style of utsuri and the hamon is a suguha mixed with ko-notare, resulting so in a style which is reminscent of the workmanship of Osafune smiths from the end of the Kamakura period, reflecting so the characteristic features of Hidekage.
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