Tanto signed Higo Doutanuki MUNEHIRO Man'en 1st Intercalary3rd month

Shin-shinto end Edo period (Man'en 1st/1860) Higo
Length of cutting edge 27.4cm Curvature 0.3cm Width of base 25.8mm Thickness of base 6.8mm

NBTHK(Tokubetsu Hozon)certificate

Sugata(configuration) : Hira-zukuri Tanto, Iori-mune in low. The cutting edge measures 9-sun plus (27.4cm) at the "Josun" interpretations in a highly harmonious manner during end Edo period. Thick in Kasane with harmonized slight curvature of which upper Fukura area is less swelling - this geometry appears also in common in the late Edo period.(click HERE for higher resolution image)
Kitae(forging pattern) : Kitae forging pattern is well-woven Itame hada generally with the indication of Mokume ware. Darkish cross grain "Chikei" appears against sparkling martensite granules so called "Ji-nie" to form "Utsuri" reflection
Hamon(tempering pattern) : Hamon quenching state is rather on stronger side "Nie-deki", combined Gunome that connects with a base of each group continuously, some indication of triangular shape "Togari". Condensed Nie appears on each bases where thick lines of Nie-feet radiate toward the cutting edge that is enlivened with powerful quenching scene.
Boshi (tip): Wide in temper and stronger in Nie granules at boshi tip which is created in irregular patterns that turns back a bit on deeply on the Mune.
Nakago(tang) : The Nakago is original UBU of which is longer side (12.2cm) to the cutting edge with uneven U-shape heel. File marks on the tang is greatly slantung left with horizontal Kesho and the back ridge of Nakago is created in greatly slanted left "O-sujikai" as well. One Mekugi-ana.The entire Nakago shape has a close resemblance of one of the Sue-bizen workmanship and preserves an excellent taste of patina from 1860. The strongly chiselled inscription signature in front located on back ridge side, seven characters Higo Doutanuki MUNEHIRO 肥後同田貫宗広 and the other side shows a date of year Man'en 1st, Intercalary 3rd month (1860) 万延元年閏三月日.

MUNEHIRO 宗広 who belongs in Doutaniki-lineage, a son of Yamato-no-kami MASAKATSU 大和守政勝, real name Koyama Taro 小山太郎, a nickname Jutarou 寿太郎 (or Enju Taro 延寿太郎 in other words). He professed himself the 10th generation of Doutanuki Kouzuke-suke MASAKUNI (note) 同田貫上野介正国, lived in Takase-cho, Tamana-gun 玉名郡高瀬町.

During the Shin-shinto period, MUNEHIRO was one of the leading swordsmiths in Higo Province (now Kumamoto prefecture). As a disciple of Numata Arimune 村田有宗, a senior retainer of the Higo Hosokawa Clan, he followed his master Arimune 有宗 to the capital Edo and studied under the master swordsmith Suishinshi Masahide 水心子正秀, initiating his study of the Bizen tradition and mastering various techniques. He left behind exceptional works not only in the main tradition's of Enju 延寿 but also in the Bizen tradition's irregular grain patterns and Choji-hamon.
Representing one of the swordsmiths of the Shinshinto period in Kyushu's Higo Kumamoto, MUNEHIRO 宗広 dedicated a sword (designated as an important cultural property of Kumamoto Prefecture) to the Hanegi Hachimangu Shrine 繁根木八幡宮.
His works span from the first year of Tenpo (1830) to the fourth year of Meiji (1871), said passing away in the fifth year of Meiji (1872).

The subject tanto is a rare work in his mature age from the third month of the intercalary month in the first year of Man'en (1860). Due to the use of the lunar calendar, in the first year of Man'en, an additional month called "intercalary third month" was inserted after March by the decision of the Shogunate's astronomers, extending the year to thirteen months to reconcile differences between the calendar and the seasons. An intercalary month is added on seven occasions during a 19-year period.
Gold foiled single layer Habaki collar, preserved in a Shirasaya with Sayagaki
Fresh polish/Condition scale: excellent (using a scale of mint-excellent-very good-good-fair-poor) There appears a slight peeling of steel underneath Habaki collar on Nakago
reference : Honma Kunzan/Ishii Masakuni, Nihonto Meikan, Yuzankaku, 1975
(note) The "Doutanuki" was a group of swordsmiths that emerged in the late Muromachi period in Kikuchi Doutanuki in Higo Province (now Kumamoto Prefecture). The founder, Kikuchi Doutanuki Kazusa-no-suke Masakuni 同田貫上野介正国, became a swordsmith employed by Kato Kiyomasa 加藤清正, the lord of Kumamoto Castle in Higo Province, and forged many sharp durable swords while accompanying him on the Korean campaigns. Praised for its shallow curvature and rustic appearance, the style of his blades was highly acclaimed as "Kabutowari Masakuni" 甲割正国. Their distinctive feature lies in their practicality, being sturdy, unbreakable, and capable of cutting well.
Although the Kato family was dispossessed and sword forging techniques were temporarily lost after the entry of Hosokawa Tadatoshi 細川忠利, they were revived by the 9th generation, Masakatsu 正勝, counted from Doutanuki Kouzuke-suke MASAKUNI 同田貫上野介正国. He learned the art of sword forging from Satsuma Masayuki 薩摩正幸 in a neighboring province, Masakatsu 正勝 passed it down to his son, Munehira 宗平, the 10 generation, and then to his successor, Muneharu 宗春, the 11th generation, thereby revitalizing the "Doutanuki" of the Shinshinto period.