Katana by Geishu Masamitsu

In the waning years of the Shinshinto period before the Meiji Restoration of 1868, there were many fine sword smiths still working in many different styles. The pinnacle smiths of the period include Kiyomaro, Tairyusai Sokan, Naotane, and others whom favored the Bizen and Soshu traditions. Meanwhile smiths in Satsuma, Osumi, and Owari continued working in the styles of Mino smiths from their heritage. Some worked toward revival of the origins of Mino Den in the style of Shizu Kaneuji, and Kinju, while others worked in the evolved Mino style of Kanemoto, Kanefusa, Ujifusa, and Ujisada lines proving that although the Soshu and Bizen dens were still quite popular, the Mino smiths also enjoyed a strong demand for durable, reliable, sharp swords.

Geishu Ishibashi Izumo no Daijo Masamitsu, is listed in Fujishiro’s Shintohen as a Chusaku smith. It is also stated that he is thought to have come from the Owari Motonaga mon. There was a great amount of migration in the early to mid 1800’s of smiths in Higo, Owari, Osumi, and Satsuma as two other highly skilled Shinshinto smiths from Satsuma, Hoki no kami Masayuki(yoshi) and Yamato no kami Motohira, were called upon to instruct many students from the other branch schools. These two smiths alone carried immense weight and produced many fine students that proliferated to other regions. Given the period and the fierce opposition to Western relations that Satsuma displayed, it is logical and reasonable to presume the motives for proliferating many good smiths that could produce reliable weapons. Masamitsu also likely continued this Mino tradition and traveled to apprentice in Motonaga’s school, thus providing merit to Fujishiro’s thoughts on his origins.

This mumei sword is offered with Hozon Kanteisho from the NBTHK attributing to Masamitsu. It is 28 5/16 on the cutting edge. It is in old but still quite nice polish revealing the mix of mokume and itame hada. There are small areas of slightly looser hada, but neither a detraction nor a flaw for this sword. The hamon is a consistant midare that resembles the softer sanbonsugi that Magoroku Kanemoto pioneered. The habuchi is both consistant in width and brightness. There are also small konie in the valleys of the hamon also consistant with Kanemoto works. The boshi is nicely done in komaru form. There is deeper sori than one would expect from a Shinshinto work again harkening to earlier forms from the Momoyama period. It has a light and well balanced feel in hand.

This sword is in shirasaya and comes with koshirae which would be well suited for iai use. The koshirae also has a tsunagi in the mounts.

Price: $7850.00 includes domestic US shipping and insurance.

ON SALE: $7,000.00

In an effort to promote Japanese Art Sword study, purchase of this sword at list price will include sponsorship by Legacy Arts for a full one year membership to the American Branch of the NBTHK. Membership in the NBTHK is an important step in learning about the Japanese sword and provides privileged access to branch sponsored displays, lectures, and activities staffed by extensively experienced and educated board members.


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