K6997(S2226) Katana signed Chiku-shu Hakozaki-gu Shinzen-ni-oite NOBUKUNI-saku (SHIGEKANE)
An auspicious day, in the 8th month, Kyuho 2nd
NBTHK(Tokubetsu Hozon)
Shinto Middle of Edo period (Kyouho 2nd/1717) Chikuzen
Length of cutting edge 62.6cm Curvature 2.0cm Width of Base 28.1mm Width of Yokote 17.8mm Thickness of base 6.6mm
Sugata(configuration) : Shinogi-zukuri, Iori-mune. Mihaba and Kasane both are common. Shinogi-suji is high holding ample volume in Hirakuniku massively heavy on hands. Deep in Koshi-zori to form in a well-harmonized tapering from base to middle point of Kissaki. The entire Sugata is created in an archaic style of Tachi. (click HERE for higher resolution)
Kitae(forging pattern) : Kitae-hada is Itame with some indication of Mokume whereas Masame hada pattern is perceived along shinogi-ji. Hiraji-surface is thickly covered in soaked sparkling Ji-nie. Darkish lines of Chikei in different carbon content gushes forth strikingly on surface.
Hamon(tempering pattern) : Hamon stats with gentle undulating NOTARE with a bit on tighter side Nie granules then variety of small, large Gunome with slanted Choji clove outline and Togari-ha indication. Upper the blade, deeper in refreshing Nioi and brighter the Nie with a bit on coarse-grained granules where isolated Yubashiri and Tobiyaki appear on Hiraji. Boundary line is refreshingly bright against super fine Nie activity where works with thick Nie-ashi, thick lines of Kinsujig and short lines of Sunagashi.
Boshi (tip): The temper of the tip is wide and strong in temper with an indication of irregular Midarekomi with an isolated Tobiyaki then small circle turns back.
Nakago(tang) : Ship-bottom shape unaltered in UBU. One original peg retaining hole. Nakago is slightly curved also. Filemark is greatly slanting left (O-sujikai). The signature in front starts with the name of domain Chiku-shu 筑州, the place of work Hakozaki-gu 筥﨑宮 Oite-Shinzen (before the altar) 於神前 then smith name NOBUKUNI-saku 信国作. The other side is engraved with the date of year An auspicious day, in the 8th month, Kyouho 2nd (1717) 享保二年八月吉日.

Nobukuni SHIGEKANE 信国重包, real name is Sukesaemon 助左衛門 is one of the most famed artisans in mid-Edo period in Kyushu. He was descended from legitimate NOBUKUNI 信国 in Kyoto since Nanbokucho period. He exclusively worked for Fukuoka domain in Chikuzen province to set up studio nearby Hakozaki-gu shrine 筥﨑宮.
In the sword artisan contest held by the 8th Shougun YOSHIMUNE 吉宗, he won the fiest prize in the 1st year, Kyouho 6th (1721) and proudly bestowed a honored single leaf AOI crest to have engraved in Nakago and changed his smith name to MASAKANE 正包.
NOBUKUNI 信国 belonges in Soushu-school whereas MORITSUGU 守次 plays Bizen Ichimonji-tradition - Both of two friendly rival artisans under exclusive contract with Fukuoka domain worked hard together to meet with requirement from high class Samurai in Chikuzen area.
He got an honor to summoned into the presence of the 8th Shougun YOSHIMUNE 吉宗 to forge swords in Hama-rikyū Gardens. His swords were not commodity not allowed distribution to open market herefore manufacturing quantity was quite low and quire rare to find with scarcity vale.
Passed away in the 10th, the 2nd month, Kyouho 13 (1728), was 56 years old.
The subject Katana with the date of year 1717 when NOBUKUNI SHIHGEKANE 信国重包 was matured 45 years, was made to order as the Katana to form DAISHO set of Katana and Wakizashi. According to the inscription, NOBUKUNI SHIGEKANE pledges to success of this Katana before God in Hakozaki shrine, so that he refrains to show his own smith name SHIGEKANE 重包 purposely eliminated. He looks up back to ancient model of ancestor 3rd gen. NOBUKUNI in early Muromachi period (1394-27). In view of Nakago, it holds the great taste of patina in 300 years more, clear chisel inscription with the date of year. Here is one of the most excellent piece of work with comlete set of DAISHO Koshirae.
Original double layers gold foiled Habaki (some dent appears), preserved in Shirasaya plain wood mounting
Good old polish/Condition scale: excellent (using a scale of mint-excellent-very good-good-fair-poor)
Katana signed Chiku-shu Hakozaki-gu Shinzen-ni-oite NOBUKUNI-saku(SHIGEKANE)
 Katana signed Chiku-shu Hakozaki-gu Shinzen-ni-oite NOBUKUNI-saku(SHIGEKANE)
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