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Nobukuni Matasuke (Masayoshi) Wakizashi
An important and interesting special order wakizashi in contemporary koshirae. Both the blade and the tosogu, and possibly the lacquer and tsukamaki as well, were all made by the same artist. Ubu, zaimei, shinogizukure, iroi mune, chu kissaki, bohi & futatsubi, Hawatare: 1 shaku 2 sun 6 bu (38.18 cm / 15.03"). Motohaba: 3.04 cm. Sakihaba: 2.38 cm. Kasane: 7.3 mm. Notare midare in konie deki, wide, bright and soft habuchi. Hotsure, sunagashi, hanie, small kinsuji, small gunome atop the notare. The boshi is komaru with a moderate kaeri. The jigane is itame with fine jinie. There is random shiraki utsure. Signed, Nobukuni Matasuke Saku Kore / Bunka juni nen (1815) "Bunka jûni nen kinoto-i nanro no hi" (文化十二歳乙亥南呂日) - A day in the eighth month of Bunka twelve (1815), year of the boar. "Oite Kameda Mitsusue no motome kotaeru" (應於亀田満季之需) - Made by request of Kameda Mitsusue. The supplement of "ni oite" (於) could be interpreted in the way that the smith made the blade on request of Kameda Mitsusue at Kameda's place. *1
The en suite koshirae was made specifically for this blade by the sword smith, who was clearly an accomplished and vestal artist. The fuchi-kashira, kurikata, koiguchi, kaerezuno, etc. are plain polished shinchu. The menuki are well cut grape leaves, vines, and fruit in shinchu. The elaborate kojiri is of carved raucous waves with strong katakiribori detail, with mother of pearl bubbles inlaid in the lacquer around it. The saya is brown lacquer with black on top resembling currents in a stream The kozuka is shinchu, with a shakudo water fowl water reed, with katakiri water. The niju gold and silver habaki, has the mon of Kameda Matasuke. The shinchu tsuuba with shakudo honzogan leaves, and katakiri waves on the obverse, tie everything together with the signature, Nobukuni Matasuke, by the same hand as the sword smith.
Masayoshi (正義), Bunsei (文政, 1818-1830), Chikuzen – “Nobukuni Matasuke Minamoto Masayoshi” (信国又助源正義), Chikuzen Nobukuni line, his real name Nobukuni Matasuke (信国又助). The fact that it is signed with his personal name, not his kanji mei, and that it is dated, three years before his referenced dates, might indicate that he had not as yet taken the names Minamoto or Masayoshi. Making this likely the earliest example of this artist's work. Note from Robert Haynes: The mother of pearl inlay are likely constellations. They were especially taken with the Big Dipper.
*1 Translation provided by Markus Sesko.
Nobukuni Matasuke Saku
Gold & Silver Habaki With Mon
Nobukuni Matasuke Saku Kore Bunka juni nen (1815)
Bunka jûninen kinoto-i nanro no hi
Oite Kameda Mitsusue no motome kotaeru
Nobukuni Matasuke - Tsuba & Blade