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Soshu Hiromasa Wakizashi



REDUCED:  $6,500

 A long wakizashi signed nijimei, Hiromasa, attributed to godai Soshu Hiromasa.    Shinogizukure, iroi mune, chu kissaki, sakizori. Horimono:  bo hi, vajra hilted ken, and bonji. Hawatare: 1 shaku 9 sun 6 bu (59.4 cm or 23.4"). Motohaba: 2.86 cm. Sakihaba: 2.02 cm. Kasane: 6.5 mm.   The fifth generation Hiromasa was active around Meio (1492 - 1501).  Itame, sparse jinie, chikei, nado.  Midare hotsure, choji, gunome, tobiyaki, ashi iri, yo, ha nie becomes sparse , kinsuji, hotsure, nado.  The hamon pattern continues into the kissaki, there is a deep boshi with a medium kaeri.  Certificate from the NTHK-NPO, specifying Hiromasa working around Meio jidai (1492 - 1501).   Mounted in Meiji period D guard mounts, with a mon on the back strap.  While the blade is clean, it really deserves a new top grade polish.  This would be late work for the fifth generation, whose dated work goes up to Meio kyunen (1500). 

The fifth generation Hiromasa is rated Jojosaku in Fujishiro's Nihon Toko Jiten - Koto Hen; valued at 4,000,000 yen in Tokuno's Toko Taikan,  Double circle in Nihonto Meikan;  pictured in Nihonto Zuikan;   pictured in Yumei Koto Taikan, including early work from Kansho (1460 -1466). 

During Muromachi, uchigatana were frequently shorter than two shaku, this was especially true in Mino and Bizen.  So it is not impossible, that his was an uchigatana at the time of manufacture, though definitionally it is a wakizashi today.   Hiromasa was the son of Kansho Hiromasa, and his works resemble those of his father.  Hiromasa was noted for fine horimono, and kurikara dragon are often seen.                                                                                   $8,500


Text courtesy of Darcy Brockbank, and  nihonto.ca:   The Soshu tradition is one that captures the imagination of almost all collectors due to the presence of Masamune as its premiere craftsman and the epicenter of a revolution in style that swept out of Sagami province at the end of the Kamakura period. His style would overwhelm all of the other traditions; it was a sea change that forced almost every school to adopt key ingredients of the Soshu Den or face a slow decline into obscurity.

In spite of this rapid and sweeping change introduced by Masamune, the Soshu Den itself flared out in a burst of creativity at the end of the Nambokucho period and was briefly lost in the generation that followed Akihiro and Hiromitsu. The first generation Hiromasa came onto the scene in the early Muromachi period and was able to re-establish the Soshu tradition and ongoing success was found by Sukehiro and Hirotsugu soon after.

Hiromasa carries a character from Hiromitsu in his name, and is thought to be a grandson of this smith. Sukehiro, Masahiro, Hirotsugu and Tsunahiro would all be names used by various generations during the Muromachi time, and the common character in their names reflects back to the main line of Soshu going up through Hiromitsu.

Fujishiro considered that there were two generations of Hiromasa and ranked them both as Jo-jo saku for greatly superior craftsmanship. He placed them as working between 1460 and 1492 in the Muromachi period. Dr. Tokuno lists five generations, rating them in order of first to fifth generation: 5.5, 5, 5, 4.5 and 4 million yen which would translate to roughly Jo-jo saku for the first three generations, and Jo-saku for the last two.

The Hiromasa line of smiths is very famous for its horimono, and Fujishiro places them as the top ranked horimono carvers in the late koto period. The style of work of these smiths also embraced everything from suguba to hitatsura, which was the trademark style of the purest Soshu smith Hiromitsu and grand-parent of their line.

In spite of the popularity and effect of the Soshu Den, the works of these smiths were made during times of great warfare and tended to be consumed in the resulting fighting. This combined with the short time period where the Soshu tradition was actively pursued makes Soshu blades relatively rare in the grand scheme of things.

When the koto period came to a close and the Shinto period ushered in, the Soshu kaji were nearly extinct as the power base had long ago moved from their home base of Kamakura. Although the greatest Soshu-style works were now being created by Kunihiro and Umetada Myoju and their students, the main line of Soshu had been handed off and down through Soshu Tsunahiro and was still active. If you were to visit Kamakura today it is possible to find the 24th generation Tsunahiro still at work at his forge making swords.


NTHK-NPO Kanteisho



Nihonto Meikan



Nihon Toko Jiten- Koto Hen




NihonTo Zuikan - Koto



Toko Taikan



Yumei Koto Taikan  


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