Wakizashi signed KUNISUKE (Iwami-no-kami) with) Burgundy stone-surface lacquere scabbard Wakizashi Koshirae

Shinto Early Edo period (Kanbun era/circa 1661-) Settsu
Length of cutting edge 46.9cm Curvature 1.0cm Width of base 31.4mm Width of Yokote 22.7mm Thickness of base 6.9mm

NBTHK(Tokubetsu Hozon) certificate

with) Burgundy stone-surface lacquered scabbard Wakizashi Koshirae

Blade construction: Shinogi-zukuri, Iori-mune of which ridge is high. Mihaba is wide standing firmly on base and it's Kasane is thick, heavy on hand in 470 grams without Habaki. Less degree of tapering from base to swelling upper Monouchi area in well-balanced curvature leading to an extended middle Kissaki. This magnificent Wakizashi shows trend of the time which was flourished during Kanei to Kanbun era in 17th C. (click HERE for higher resolution image of the entire blade)
Forging(Hada): Forging mark is so called "Zanguri" that is to say conspicuous "rough and ruggedly" Itame marks mixing with some indication of partial Mokume burl ware. Steel gives off the impression of Nie sparkling hard metal granules "Ji-nie" and darkish precise lines of Nie so called "CHIKEI" activity wells out from steel.
Temper(Hamon): Hamon is rather on stronger side Nie hard metal granules base, starts with shallow undulating wave of "Notare" indication where minute Gunome appears. Upper the blade, stronger, thicker and brighter the Nie. Sparkling Nie granules accumulate on boundary line thickly to shows some activity of "Niju-ha" double temper indication. The interior of temper is filled with mist-like crystallize area deeply where thick feet of Nie-ashi radiate toward the cutting edge and long lines of Nie so called "Kinsuji" or short line of "Sunagashi" stream along boundary line.
Temper of tip(Boshi): Temper of boshi forms irregular pattern of "Midarekomi" with brushing lilnes of "Hakikake" that shows energetic manner of splashed temper "Ichimai".
Tang(Nakago): The heel of Nakago is UBU original with one retaining hole. Single bevelled "Iriyamai" heel. Unique pattern of Yasurime is perceived that the O-sujikai (greatly slanting right) on Shinogi-ji and the Hiraji bears Kiri (horizontal) filemarks, the back ridge of Nakago is flat with O-sujikai (greatly slanting right) filemarks. The rypical calligraphic inscription by Iwami-no-kami KUNISUKE 石見守国助 is chiselled in front KUNISUKE 国助 on the ridge Shinogi-suji.

The KUNISUKE 国助 with a title of Iwami-no-kami 石見守 is supposed to be born around Keicho era 1600's. His place of birth was Kameyama town in the prefecture of Ise. Real name is Kobayashi Gen-no-suke 小林源之丞 who was a younger brother of Kawachi-no-kami KUNISUKE 河内守国助 who is famed for the founder of Osaka-shinto school.
KUNISUKE 国助 brothers became students of Horikawa KUNIHIRO 堀川国広 in his later age and is supposed that they actually learned from KUNITOMO 国儔 who was one of KUNIHIRO's leading students.
After spending several years of apprenticeship under Horikawa KUNIHIRO 堀川国広 in Kyoto, KUNISUKE 国助 brothers became independent on about Kanei 7 (1630) and moved to Ryogae-cho, Fushimi, Osaka - newly developing town to establish as the famed founder of Osaka-shinto school.
Here is a representative work of Wakizashi by Iwami-no-kami KUNISUKE 石見守国助. He initially obtained the Iwami-daijo 石見大掾 title then bears promoted to Iwami-no-kami 石見守. He moved to Kanbe-town, Ise prefecture in his later age, reportedly passed away in Kanbun 12 (1672), at 67 years old.
It is quite rare to come across posthumous works of the subject younger brother KUNISUKE because it is supposed that he worked steadily for his masters in KUNIHIRO school in his apprentice days or for his elder brother KUNISUKE as a ghostmaker in the prime of life.
From close study of Nakago filemarks, his initial stroke method was [horizontal "Kiri" both for "Hira-ji" and "Shinogi-ji"] while he beared Iwami-daijo 石見大掾 title then changed it to quite unique filemark on after he enjoyed Iwami-no-kami 石見守 to be - [horizontal "Kiri" on Hiraji and greatly slanting left "O-sujikai" on Shinogi-ji surface] like this example. This unique combined filemark is strong character of his work and seldom seen from the other makers.

Look up the brave shape of this wakizashi it is the transition style from Kanei to Kanbun (1624 - 61), rather on wider side in width, heavy built, well-balanced curved leading to an extended large Kissaki. Jigane is a bit on conspicuous Itame hada, sparkling quench granules of "Ji-nie" appears. Hamon expresses strong feature of Soushu technique. Extreme thick Nie-granules accumulate on boundary line and the almost whole area of tip quenched as "Ichimai" indication that would be very much influenced by the famed ancient work of Go Yoshihiro 郷義弘.

This work follows the style of the Nanboku-cho period, which is the specialty of the Kunihiro school. This work, bearing a two-character inscription on the tang, was likely created in his laer years while retired to play as an assistant to the 2nd generation Ichinobei Iwami-no-Kami KUNISUKE 市之丞石見守国助. The subject exceptional wakizashi, crafted by the 1st generation Iwami-no-Kami KUNISUKE 石見守国助 retains superb taste of patina in Nakago, clear filemarks of Yasurime as well as distinct and clear inscription from 360 years of history. In order to preserve the precious trace of the imposing original construction, the skilled polisher intentionally ramained a slight chip-off of approximately 10mm above the cutting Hamachi edge on base.

with) Burgundy Stone-surface lacquered scabbard Wakizashi Koshirae
(click HERE for entire koshirae in front / HERE for the other side / HERE for each metal fitting)
  • Fuchi/Kashira : Lucky phrase "Ichi-fuji, Ni-taka, San-nasubi" 一富士二鷹三茄子図 motif, Brass ground, Ishimeji stone surface, Takabori carving Iroe, signed MITSUNAGA(seal) 光長(花押)
  • Menuki : Silk fowl design, Shakudo Katabori carving, Iroe
  • Tsuba : Gagaku imperial court music performance motif, Iron ground, Round shape, Openwork, Nikubori carving, gold inlay, unsigned
  • Tsuka : AIZAME grey shark skin covered, Moegi-iro yellow green cord lozenge wrap
  • Scabbard : Burgundy stone-finish lacquered, Iron Origane horn of drangonfly design, Iron Kurikata of the same as, Iron Kojiri heel of the same design, unsigned
Old original double layers copper Habaki collar, upper gold-foiled (one side exfoliated), lower layers are silver foiled
Preserved in Shorasaya plain wood mounting.
Recent good polish/Condition scale: excellent (using a scale of mint-excellent-very good-good-fair-poor).
reference data : Iimura Kasho, Shinto Taikan sono-ichi, 1993