Important Cultural PropertySword with the signature of Mitsutada Hona inlaid with gold (kao, a designed character)

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  • By Osafune Mitsutada
  • 1 piece
  • blade L69.4 Curvature2.1
  • Kamakura period/13th century
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • F-159

 Old records on swords say that Chikatada was the founder of the Osafune school that had prospered in Bizen no Kuni throughout the Medieval period. However, since there are no existing swords made by Chikatada, Mitsutada – Chikatada's son – is considered to be the de facto founder of the school. Mitsutada was a swordsmith in the mid-Kamakura period. His swords feature fine jigane (steel used for making the steel skin of the blade) with utsuri (a white misty formation that runs parallel to the hamon in the ground metal) and the hamon (blade pattern) comprising a combination of chojiba (a clove pattern) and kawazukochojiba (a pattern of tadpole-shaped cloves).
 This is the sword that Kochu, the 13th head of the Honami family who served the Edo Shogunate as a sword polisher and connoisseur, authenticated as a Mitsutada. Although it has become shorter due to later grinding, it still retains a grand look with a wide blade and an ikubi kissaki (a stout tip of the blade which is shorter in length than it is wide). The jigane (the ground metal of the blade) has a wood grain pattern with clear midare utsuri (an irregular white misty formation that runs parallel to the hamon in the ground metal) whereas the hamon (the blade pattern) shows a brilliant combination of chojiba (a clove pattern), kawazukochojiba (a tadpole-shaped clove pattern), fukurochojiba (a bag-shaped clove pattern) and tobiyaki. This sword had been handed down to the Tokugawa family.