Katana: Den Ko-Mihara

Jidai:    Koto Nanbokucho

Bingo Mihara School  

The Bingo Mihara group that worked during the late Kamakura through the Nanbokucho period. Mihara blades from this time period are designated as Ko-Mihara. Mihara blades designated after the Nanbokucho period are called Chu, Sue or Kai Mihara. Works are of the Yamato-den, generally early works consist of chu –suguha, some ko-midare. Nie appears in the hamon with nioi. Hamon done in the suguha style has a very tight nioguchi and is usually very clear.

Jitetsu has a whitish appearance and contains mokume with masame mixed. Chikei is present with ji-nie. Boshi either has a short or long turnback, or as in this case hakikake. There are medium kissaki to very long okissaki during the Nanbokucho period. Boshi of the later ( Muromachi) period have a longer turnback and a much more “rough” jigane.

The Bingo Mihara School was said to have been founded by Masaiye from around the early 1300’s. Signed works are rare. Most signed works left for study belong to Masahiro, also a master of the Ko-mihara school. Quality of these swords from the late Kamakura to Nanbokucho period are generally of good quality and there are many examples in the Juyo-Token Zufu.

Horimono are seen, but are quite rare, this example has both Bohi as well as Soe-hi, which makes this a very good study piece.

Key points to look for in this type of blade;

1: Boshi with small kaeri with hakikake
2: Masame in the ji with shirake
3: Sword shape and style is of the late
     Kamakura/Nanbokucho type.

            With these points, you should have come to the conclusion of this sword being of the Koto period as well as from the Yamato-den. This sword has also an additional interesting feature, a habaki of the Kaga type as well as a “period” leather tachi koshirae. For those that like the Yamato-den, a textbook healthy example such as this is a treat!!!

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