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Muramasa Tanto - Nidai



An ubu tanto attributed to nidai Muramasa.  Hawatare: 9 sun 8 bu (29.7 cm or 11.69").  Moto Hada: 9.339 bu (2.83 cm or 1.114").  Kasane at the moto: 1.32 bu (4mm. or .1574"). An elongated gunome, almost notare, with faint choji patterns within some of the gunome, done in ko-nie deki.  The hada is itame nagare.  There are chikei.  The horimono is a ken and futatsubi.  The nakago is ubu with two mekugi ana.  The habaki is an excellent gold foil with clustered designs over the nekogaki.  There is a fukure above a tateware in the hamon as pictured below.  This has just been attributed to Muramasa of the Daiei jidai (1523 - 1528) by the NTHK [That is the NTHK headed by Yoshikawa Eiichi, not the pretenders].  This corresponds to the nidai, Saijo Saku smith in Nihon Toko Jiten - Koto Hen, page 254.  Right now I only have the shinsa's work sheet, but will supply the certificate as soon as it is issued.  In good old polish and mounted in shirasaya.

Most everyone is familiar with the blood thirsty reputation of Muramasa swords, which in actuality are extremely sharp.  Jizosaburo Kiyoyasu, the grandfather of Tokugawa Iyeyasu, was slain at the age of twenty-five with a Muramasa sword.  His son, Nobuyasu, was seriously wounded by a drunk wielding a Muramasa.  Finally, Tokugawa Iyeyasu cut his hand at Miyagazaki in Suruga with a kogatana by Muramasa.  It was not unreasonable to assume that Muramasa were bad luck to the Tokugawa, and therefore their ownership was forbidden by the Shogun.  So of course, those in opposition to the Tokugawa, such as the Fukishima and the Sunada, and others who had an obligation to the Toyotomi Ke of Osaka, tended to like and to retain swords by Muramasa.  And of course, with every incident of an attack on a Tokugawa with a Muramasa, the myth was perpetuated.

In April of 1867, Katsu Yasuyoshi came to discuss the surrender of Edo Castle with Saigo Takamori.  Takamori, who sat opposite him, clutched a tetsu gunsen (iron war fan) inscribed with a poem about the assassination of  the Shinkote (the first emperor) of the Chin dynasty (China, 221 - 206 B.C.).  Inside the war fan was a moroba zukuri tanto by Muramasa.