{INTRODUCTION} {MAJOR KOTO SCHOOLS} {DIAGRAMS AND TERMINOLOGY} {GLOSSARY}{ARTICLES}


SOSHU DEN
BIZEN DEN
MINO DEN
YAMASHIRO DEN
YAMATO DEN



SOSHU DEN

CHARACTERISTICS

GENERAL APPEARANCE: Katana and Tachi were generally wide, long and heavy. Tanto also came into widespread use at this time (from the later part of the 13th century).

SORI: Generally torii sori with the center of the curve roughly in the center of the blade.

JIHADA: The grain is most often a very fine and compact itame hada (wood grain, resembling the surface of a wooden board cut against the grain).

HAMON: Various with the most usual being a midare (irregular) or choji-midare often with tobiyaki. The nie is often ara-nie made up of both ha-nie and ji-nie. Many times the ara-nie is so numerous as to create a hitatsura pattern (full temper).

NAKAGO: The most typical is tanago-bara. (This resembles the abdomen of the tanago fish found in the rivers of Soshu province). The jiri is commonly kengyo.





BIZEN DEN

CHARACTERISTICS

GENERAL APPEARANCE: Medium width and thickness. Generally graceful.

SORI: Generally Koshi-Zori (deepest part of the curve in the lower third of the blade) is taken to be a characteristic of the Bizen Mono. While there is a deep Koshi-Zori in many older Bizen blades, there is also a tendency toward Torii- Sori particularly in the Osafune School.

JIHADA: Mainly composed of Mokume-Hada, there is Ko-Mokume, Chu-Mokume, and O-Mukume and it is usually combined with O-Hada. Utsuri is frequently seen in the Ji.

HAMON: Mainly Midare-Ba in Nioi-Deki. There is Choji-Midare in many varieties and Gunome-Midare. Suguba is also often seen. Nie is of medium size, plentiful along the line of Nioi but it is rarely found as Ji-Nie.

NAKAGO: Older pieces tend to be long and slender, there is Niku on the Hira (the Hira is rounded) and they are well proportioned. With the passage of time, they gradually became thick and short with parallel sides and after Oei, (1394-1428), there were many which were so short that at first glance they look unbalanced. The Nakago-Jiri is usually Kuri.





MINO DEN

CHARACTERISTICS

GENERAL APPEARANCE: Wide and long

SORI: Shallow saki-zori. Ko-mino will often be torii sori.

JIHADA: Generally ko-mokume and masame with the masame-hada near the mune.

HAMON: The most famous is sanbon-sugi (three cypress trees). Suguha can also be found from time to time. Note, however, that somewhere along the suguha there will always be a small midare (irregularity).

NAKAGO: Medium length, tapered.
Older pieces found with tanagobara. The nakago-jiri is kengyo. Yasurime higaki, sujikai or kiri as a general rule.





YAMASHIRO DEN

CHARACTERISTICS

GENERAL APPEARANCE: Narrow and graceful

SORI: Torii sori with the deepest part of the curve in the middle of the blade. This shape gets its name from its resemblance to a shinto shrine gate or torii.

JIHADA: Ko-Mokume-Generally a much finer grain then that of the other schools, being almost nashi-ji. Small grain indicates many foldings during forging with a resulting comparatively high degree of hardness in the metal. This characteristic (nashi-ji) is the same as in yamato-den.

HAMON: Generally suguba. However, there are examples of choji-midare. Jie nie will usually be present between the hamon and shinogi.

NAKAGO: Long and tapered-The jiri (tip of the nakago) on blades made before 700 years ago is kuri. Those made after 700 years ago tend to be a blend of kuri and kengyo.






YAMATO DEN

CHARACTERISTICS

GENERAL APPEARANCE: Narrow and graceful. Thicker than yamashiro with the shinogi higher.

SORI: Torii sori with the deepest part of the curve in the middle of the blade. This shape gets its name from its resemblance to a shinto shrine gate or torii.

JIHADA: Masame-Almost nashi-ji (see yamashiro den). Some of the yamato schools will have ko-mokume hada mixed with masame hada.

HAMON: Generally suguba with a few small ashi-iri. Hamon usually nie-deki (formed with nie). Almost no ji-nie.

NAKAGO: Generally kurijiri

NOTES: Major Yamato Schools:
1. Senjuin
2. Taema
3. Shikkage
4. Tegai
5. Hosho
{INTRODUCTION} {MAJOR KOTO SCHOOLS} {DIAGRAMS AND TERMINOLOGY} {GLOSSARY}{ARTICLES}




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