Tanto signed HIROTSUGU with) Spiral shell and Blue pearl of inlay two-toned lacquered work scabbardAikuchi Koshirae

Koto Middle of Muromachi period (Meiou era/1492-) Sagami
Length of cutting edge 24.0cm No Curvature Width of base 25.0mm Thickness of base 5.9mm

NBTHK(Hozon) certificate

with) Spiral shell and Blue pearl of inlay two-toned lacquered work scabbard Aikuchi Koshirae

under negotiation

Blade construction (kengyo) : Hira-zuruki Tanto of no-curvature. Back ridge is Iori-mune and a bit on thicker side in Kasane - holding an appropriate degree of tapering from base to the less swelling upper Fukura of Kissaki. (click HERE for high resolution of the blade photograph)
Forging pattern (kitae hada) : Kitae hada is conspicuous Ō-Itame hada mixing with outstanding Masame-hada that appears mostly on both boundary line of cutting edge and back ridge. The surface is covered in sparkling Ji-Nie of martensite crystals over the surface that generates Chikei of darkish Nie lines.
Tempering pattern (hamon) : Quenching area is covered with rather on profuse and coarse side of Nie. Flamboyant pattern of undulating Ō-midare - mixture of Gunome zigzag, Clove or pointed tip outline with complex various patterns. The quench splashes over Hiraji surface and overflows along the back ridge to form "Muneyaki" generating "Hitatsura". In the interior of temer, there works with ASHI, YOU activities and wild SUNAGASHI/KINSEN (short, long lines of Nie / bright curved thread-like areas). The entire quenching pattern is full of Nie activities, vividly bright and the interior is filled with deep mist granules of Nioi.
Temper of tip (boshi) : Temper of tip is rather on stronger Nie side, forms irregular pattern harshly with "Hakikake" brush up indication then turns back deeply that connects to Muneyaki.
Tang (Nakago) : Ship-bottom (Funazoko) shape Nakago is UBU, unaltered. Slight "Katte-sagari" slanting left file marks, there is a little mass on the back ridge. Single-bevelled (Ha-agari Kurijiri) heel shape. Three retaining holes of "Mekugiana". Clear but thinner chiselled two character inscription to read HIROTSUGU 廣次 appears next to the 1st Mekugi-ana.

The power of Soshu school in Sagami province (now city of Kamakura) ever since Kamakura era had been declining down to Muromachi period due to the reasons that Soushu technique was the most troublesome technical method among 5 major schools.
HIROTSUGU 廣次 observed the real tradition of main Soushu technique. From the reference of Nihonto-Meikan, founder HIROTSUGU 廣次 who belonged to the HIROMITSU 廣光 family appeared in Eitoku-era 永徳(1381-) and the identified 2nd generation was active during Kakitsu era 嘉吉(1441-). The most of substantial extant works were made by the 3rd generations of HIROTSUGU 廣次 in Meiou era 明応(1492).

The subject stirring Tanto is judged as the work by the 3rd generation of HIROTSUGU 廣次, family name Ichikawa 市川,given name Choubei 長兵衛.
Almost no-curvature was designed for stabbing through the openings of armor or helmet and Itame forging of functional mixture with hard and soft steel was given a thought to the possible best durability. "Hitatsura" quenching techinique was performed in view of the most supreme sharp performance and "Muneyaki" was prepaired for defending against hard hitting.

The Nakago shape of ship-bottom (Funazoko) by HIROTSUGU 廣次, legitimate Shoushu-tradition had a strong effect on the other school of Shitahara in Bushu, Shimada in Suruga (now Shizuoka pref.) and Senko in Ise (now Mie pref.).
This prominent Tanto has been treasured by powerful legitimate Samurais in generations over the passage of 530 years or more.

Spiral shell and Blue pearl of inlay two-toned lacquered work scabbard Aikuchi Koshirae :
HERE for entire koshirae image in front, HERE for the back side and HERE for higher resolution images for each metal fitting)
  • All fittings of Fuchi/Kashira,Koikuchi, Kurikata, Ura-kawara and Kojiri) are made of horn
  • Menuki : Samurai warriors design, Shakudo Katabori carving, Gold/silver/Yamagane Iroe
  • Kozuka : Hatajirushi Battle emblem flag and Saihai command, Shakudo Nanako-ji surface, Takabori carving, gold/silver Iroe, unsigned
  • Tsuka : White Same ray-skin wrap
Silver ground Habaki collar, preserved in a Shira-saya plain wood mounting.
Old polish/Condition scale: very good - good (using a scale of mint-excellent-very good-good-fair-poor)
reference data : Honma Junji/Sato Kanichi, Nihonto Taikan Koto-hen 1, Otsuka Kogei-sha, 1968