Tachi signed KUNIMUNE (Bizen Saburou)

Koto middle of Kamamura period (Kencho era circa 1249) Bizen
Length of cutting edge73.1cm Curvature2.2cm Width of base29.0mm Width of Yokote16.9mm Thickness of base6.7mm

NBTHK(The 52th JUYO TOKEN) certificate


Blade construction (kengyo) : Shinogi-zuruki, Iori-mune. There is lower pointed koshizori curve standing firmly Funbari. Massive volume of Hiraniku. The entire shape is deeply curve descent tachi style leading to a medium point of Kissaki. (click HERE for high resolution of the blade photograph)
Forging pattern (kitae hada) : Kitae hada is fine and precise mokume burl pattern mixing in with partial entwined flowing marks. The entire hiraji is covered in with fine ji-nie (hard metal granules over the surface of the blade) and midare utsuri (reflections of the irregular tempering pattern). The entire forging marks is extremely minute.
Tempering pattern (hamon) : Hamon is fine ko-nie base, small irregular pointed gunome and choji-midare (clove out-line) accelerated by ashi (lines projecting into the edge). Clove tassel-shaped outline varies in height and high pointed choji-midare which is narrow in the middle creates (kawazu-ko/a tadpole shape) outline. The entire tempering outline is covered in soft and misty nioi. The upper the blade of monouchi (hitting area), the more calmly the activation, smaller pointed choji-midare.
Temper of tip (boshi) : Boshi is slight irregular pattern with medium circle turn back and the ura side has hakikake brushing tendency with medium circle turn back.
Tang (Nakago) : Nakago is slightly Suriage shortened. Kiri horizontal heel shape. Three Mekugi-ana peg holes. There is two large character that reads KUNI MUNE 国宗 in the middle of the tang.

KUNIMUNE 国宗 - A lineage of NAOMUNE 直宗 school in Bizen province and well known as called "Bizen Sabuou Kunimune" 備前三郎国宗. He had been active in the 13 th century in Bizen province and had moved to a place of Kamakura along with Awataguchi KUNITSUNA 粟田口国綱 in Yamashiro province, both the most famed swordsmiths had established the foundation of Sōshu-school.
There is a version of the story that KUNIMUNE 国宗 had moved to serve exclusively for Kamakura shogunate when he was as young as 18 yeas old and also had become a master of Shintogo KUNIMITSU 新藤五国光.
He had returned to his home town Osafune when he was matured 58 years old (A.D.1238 i.e. the first year of Rekinin) and again moved back to Kamakura by the command of the regent Houjō Tokiyori 北条時頼 when he was late 82 years old.
None of the works of founder KUNIMUNE 国宗 have the date of year and all of them are two characters of KUNIMUNE 国宗.
There is a common opinion that any works of longer character such as Bishu Osafune ju KUNIMUNE 備州長船受国宗 or the work which is chiselled the date of year such as Showa 正和 (1312-16) era are identified as the works by the second generation KUNIMUNE 国宗.
However there is another point of view that KUNIMUNE 国宗 was only one generation and his early/middle works are gorgeous tempering pattern of clove outline and the works of Suguha straight temper with long character or works with date of year are in his later year.
It is understood that the general works of Bizen during end of Kamakura becomes more calm and Suguha straight outline, whereas the middle of kamakura is flamboyant flowery and gracefully in tempering outline.
This tachi is lower pointed curve of Koshizori strongly and long standing firmly on base with full of dignity. The midare-utsuri (irregular speckled reflections) stands out clearly against the surface which is sparkling like powder-snow, surely the workmanship is from in his matured age.
The hamon boundary line is splendidly clear like a full blossom of Sakura flower in spring misty morning with clear choji-feet without soaked in an excellent condition.
Among similar works of Kunimune 国宗 this tachi is prominent and one of his best conditioned works over the 760 years of more.
Gold foiled double Habaki collar, Shira-Saya plain wood mounting.
Recent top quality polish/Condition scale: excellent (using a scale of mint-excellent-very good-good-fair-poor)