SOBORO SUKEHIRO (SHODAI)
The first generation Sukehiro was known as Soboro. His home kuni was Harima and his family name was Tsuda. He went to Osaka and studied in the school of shodai Kunisuke. He is commonly called Soboro Kunisuke. Some feel that he was given the name "Soboro" as a play on words reflecting his raggedly dressing. A more scholarly explanation is given by Iida Kazuo in Echizen no Kami Sukehiro Taikan. He feels that the character for "Soro" refers to a place where frost and dew falls, and that name was given to him because his swords show the beauty of frost and dew in the hamon.
The following are the major traits that one can find in most of the works of the first generation (shodai) Sukehiro:
SUGATA: Generally he made shinogi zukuri katana and wakizashi. Tanto are extremely rare. Overall there are many more wakizashi extant than katana. The sugata is chu-zori, those having an extended kissaki are few. Generally the blade is made gracefully and the width of the blade tapers near the kissaki. The mune is usually iori mune.
JITETSU: Many of his swords have a fine mokume hada which is well refined and seems sticky with horizontal utsuri in the ji. There are many with absolutely no utsuri, but in all of his swords the color of the iron is strong. The shinogi-ji will have a tinge of masame hada.
HAMON: Choji midare is the most common. The choji midare of this smith has quite a different appearance than that of Kunisuke and Yoshimichi. The habuchi is very tight, nioi ashi are frequently inserted and there are areas that look like Bizen style and looks like the works of the Ishido school. Since the Shodai Kunisuke (Sukehiro's teacher) also followed the style of the Ishido school, it is not unusual to expect to see these characteristics in the works of Shodai Sukehiro.
BOSHI: Usually the hamon above the yokote is made in suguba with the top in ko-maru with a slight kaeri.
NAKAGO: Examples can be found with both Kengyo and katayamagata. The yasurime is o-sugikai and katte sagari. There is no kessho yasuri.
MEI: Those inscribed SESSHU JU FUJIWARA SUKEHIRO are in the majority. There are some with SESSHU OSAKA JU SUKEHIRO SAKU, and some with the niji mei SUKEHIRO. As for the mei style, the tagane atari is on the moderate side, it closely resembles the mei style of shodai Kunisuke.
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