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熱田神宮 (Atsuta-Jingū) Dedication Sword. Koto/ Early Shinto 伯耆守藤原信高 (Hoki (No) Kami Fujiwara Nobutaka). Full Kaigunto Mounts (Double Hanger Saya).

Here on offer is a rare late 17th  early 18th century Nihon-To that we recently purchased directly from a family after it had been in the families keeping for over 75 years. This example is a very fine Katana signed 'Hoki (No) Kami Fujiwara Nobutaka'. There are some very interesting features to this Katana one being that on both sides of the blade on the shoinogi-ji there is Japanese Kanji script, which are Buddhist prayers and a dedication to the Atsuta Shrine (熱田神宮, Atsuta-jingū) to protect the owner/ swordsman. These extend down both sides of the blade on through the shinogi-ji. Further more the blade is excellent quality and would paper in Japan, if required.

Period: Late Koto/Eraly Shinto.

Designation: Not Papered.

Nakago: Ubu. 'Hoki no Kami Fujiwara Nobutaka' (伯耆守藤原信高)

Nagasa: To follow...

This would make this sword late Koto or very early Shinto period. The 2nd generation worked (1624-44). The Nobutaka Owari School had four generations of Tosho working from 1596 until 1716:

1st Generation: Keicho (1596-1615) Hoki No Kami (Fujiwara Nobutaka)

2nd Generation: Kan'ei (1624-1644) Hoki No Kami (Fujiwara Nobutaka)

(Sesko, 2010: 97).

The Nobutaka line of smiths originates with the Shodai who received his title of Hoki no Kami about 1581, a title which would be bestowed upon five successive generations of smith holding the same name. Shodai Nobutaka worked in a remarkable period of change as Japan emerged from warring states period, through the Keicho era, and into the eventual political solidification of Japan in the early 16th century under the Tokugawa Shogunate. He settled in Owari in 1610 at the age of 50, emigrating from his roots in the adjacent province of Mino. In this same year, Tokugawa Yoshinao was placed as the ruler of Owari, and head of the Owari Tokugawa branch, so Nobutaka undoubtedly anticipated the need for his craft in the rapidly developing region. The demand for Nobutaka smiths swords rose as the Owari Tokugawa placed them under direct employment, and they made swords for the Tokugawa Kenjutsu instructor, Yagyu Renyasai Shigekane. For this reason, most Nobutaka works are gassaku (jointly made work) between the generations as they came of age and then passed the school on to the next. The composition style of Nobutaka are generally referred to as 'Owari Seki' in regard to their Mino origins and characteristics. Swords by the second and third generation have a distinct shape often encountered in their life spans and referred to as 'Kanbun Shinto'. The Kanbun era brought a relatively short lived shape in swords that were shallow sori with noticeable taper through their length. Nobutaka swords also were regarded as excellent cutting weapons and rated wazamono (sharp), undoubtedly to the delight of Yagyu members, and the Tokugawa alike. The Shodai Nobutaka died in 1636, living 76 years. Notably he retired at 73 years old which tells you something about the lifestyle of a swordsmith. He was ranked Wazamono for a great deal of sharpness in his blades, and left behind a line of smiths using this name for generations to come.

This Katana dispays prominent itame streams the length of the sword with small regions of mokume. The steel has a nice glisten of jinie and the hada is detailed. The nioi-deki hamon is suguha based with small gunome. Ashi are inserted, and there are kinsuji, hotsure, and inazuma also. The habuchi is bright and frosty with ko-nie throughout its length. The boshi is very wide and healthy, turning back deeply into the mune. This sword is in excellent polish.

Contanied in its origunal WW2 Kaigunto (Naval) mounts - a very rare and high quality sword. On both sides of the blade there are Buddhist inscriptions in Kanji as well as a date dedication. A very rare example and a wonderful example of typical late Koto/ early Shinto workmanship. 

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