Tachi signed Bishu Osafune [SHIGE] [HIRO]

Koto Nanbomucho period (Teiji era / circa 1362-) Bizen
Length of cutting edge 71.4cm Curvature 1.6cm Width of base 30.9mm Width of Yokote 20.0mm Thickness of base 7.0mm
Length of Kissaki 34.0mm Length of Nakago 21.1cm Nakago Curvature 0.2cm

NBTHK(The 24th JUYO TOKEN) certificate

Blade construction: Tachi of Shinogi-zukuri,Iori-mune. Wide in Mihaba standing firmly on base and has a highly dignified curve near the base while the rest upper area is nearly straight in harmonious proportion. Thickness on base is thick and width of Hiraji is wide in proportion to Shinogi-ji. There is less degree of tapering from base to an extended middle tip. The shape is created in an archaic powerful style in Nanbokucho period which was designed for horseback riding battle style.(click HERE for higher resolution image of the entire blade)
Forging(Hada): Forging is conspicuous Itame-hada with an indication of Moklume-hada ware. Ji-Nie granules attaches on surface and darkish lines in different state of carbonate so called "CHIKEI" wells out. Entire Hiraji emits sparkling reflection of irregular Midare-Utsuri.
Temper(Hamon): Hamon is based on Suguha outline mixing of small-Gunome, tassel shape Choji-midare and slanted Gunome in a bit on stronger side fine Ko-Nie granules. The abundant quenching activities such as Ashi, YOU, short lines of Sunagashi appears along quenching line.
Temper of tip(Boshi): Temper of boshi forms irregular Midarekomi with Yakizume-end.
Tang(Nakago): The tang is original. Slanting left Katte-sagari Yasurime. Kurijiri double bevelled slight-shaved heel. Three peg Mekugina punches. Tachi style six character inscription that locates upper the Shinogi-ji "Bishu Osafune " 備州長船重弘.
SHIGEHIRO 重弘 in Osafune, Nanbokucho period, belonged to school of SHIGEZANE 重真 who is a younger brother of Ko-MOTOSHIGE 古元重. In those Nanbokucho days, major school KANEMITSU 兼光 had great impact on the other Osafune schools without few exceptions.This Tachi features close resemblance it's hamon to one of KANEMITSU 兼光 whereas bluish steel gives feature of AOE works in those days.
The subject archaic Tachi, the last two character of smith name is indecipherable and are now hard for spelling out and Japanese Sword Preservation Society (NBTHK) made a judgement signed as Bishu Osafune SHIGEHIRO 備州長船重弘.
This most splendid Tachi presents the first-class geographical features of Bizen in Nanbokucho era upholding an original UBU shape. Impressively healthy holding wide Mihaba on base to maintain rich volume of Hiraniku. Awarded with the designation of 24th JUYO TOKEN.
Gold foiled Tachi style Habaki, preserved in Shira-saya plain wood mounting
reference data :
Honma KUNZAN, ISHII Masakuni Nihonto meikan, Yuzankaku, 1975
note)Ever since Ko-Bizen artisans had risen in fame end Heian to early Kamakura period in Bizen province (now southeastern of Okayama pref.), remarkable numbers of master artisans who belonged to Ichimonji-school or subsequent Osafune craftsman appeared to establish Kingdom of Nihonto throughout Kamakura to Muromachi period.
The founder of Osafune MITSUTADA 光忠 was active from Rekiou 暦応 to Bun'ei 文永(1238-74) while the Mongolian Expeditions against Japan and played a chief head with his junior NAGAMITSU 長光 and KAGEMITSU 景光.
Those Tachi swords were mostly made to adopt a defensive stance form Mongolian attack or in other point of view to perform incantations for shrines and temples to protect against misfortune in an unprecedented crisis for the Nation.