ECHIZEN NO KAMI FUJIWARA TAMETSUGU 越前国藤原為継 080922

ECHIZEN NO KAMI FUJIWARA TAMETSUGU 越前国藤原為継 080922
11.29.22 fred@nihonto.com

Tametsugu (為継) worked in the beginning of the Nanbokuchô era around 1315 to 1380 and was originally from Echizen Province (越前国).  Among Tametsugu’s (為継) remaining works there is one dated in the second year of Enbun (延文) (1357) and one dated the second year of Ôan (応安) (1369).  They are both signed Echizen no Kami Fujiwara Tametsugu (越前守藤原為継).  There is also a work dated as being made in the seventh year of Ôan (応安) (1374).  This example, however, is signed Noshû Jû Fujiwara Tametsugu (濃州住藤原為継). From the dates on these three blades and the change in the location of manufacture, we can surmise that at some point between 1369 and 1374, Tametsugu (為継) moved from Echizen Province (越前国) to Akasaka (赤坂) in Mino Province (美濃国).

The prevailing theory is that he was, in fact, the son of Gô Yoshihiro (江義弘) and a student of Etchû Norishige (越中則重).  These are two of the most famous smiths in Japanese sword history and were both considered to have been among the ten famous disciples of  the  most famous smith of all, Masamune (正宗).  While there is a scarcity of detailed information about Tametsugu (為継), but based on the known working dates mentioned above that we have from his few remaining signed pieces, I feel confident that we can place his life approximately between 1315 and about 1380.

For more detailed information about this smith and the great smiths who surrounded and influenced his career, I would suggest that you read my in depth study on Tametsugu (為継).

Nihonto.com is very pleased to present this beautiful example of the work of Tametsugu (為継) in a fine sword that has been awarded the status of Jûyô Tôken (Important sword) by the NBTHK in Japan.  Please note that this blade has been attributed directly to Tametsugu himself as opposed to the Den (school) Tametsugu.  This is a very important point.  A translation of the Jûyô Tôken document is as follows:

Jūyō-tōken at the 62nd jūyō shinsa held on October 18, 2016

 Katana, mumei: Tametsugu (為継)

 Measurements:

 Nagasa 72.8 cm, sori 1.5 cm, motohaba 2.8 cm, sakihaba 2.0 cm, kissaki-nagasa 3.3 cm, nakago-nagasa 19.3 cm, nakago-sori 0.1 cm

 Description:

 Keijō: shinogi-zukuri, iori-mune, relatively noticeable taper, wide mihaba, normal kasane, shallow sori, chū-kissaki

 Kitae: itame that is mixed with nagare and jifu-like elements in the steel and that features plenty of ji-nie and much chikei, the steel is blackish

 Hamon: nie-laden and relatively widely hardened gunome that is mixed with chōji, ashi, some narrower sections in places, yubashiri, tobiyaki, kinsuji and sunagashi

 Bōshi: on the omote side sugu with a brief ko-maru-kaeri and on the yra side with yubashiri and a very brief kaeri, thus tending to yakitsume

 Horimono: on both sides a futasuji-hi that runs as kaki-nagashi into the tang

 Nakago: ō-suriage, very shallow kurijiri, katte-sagari yasurime, two mekugi-ana, mumei

 Explanation:

 According to the prevailing view, Tametsugu (為継) was the son of Gō Yoshihiro (郷義弘and a student of Norishige (則重), although from the point of view of active periods of all of these smiths, this approach may be revised. There exist oshigata of blades by Tametsugu which are dated Enbun two (, 1357) and Ōan two (応安, 1369) and which are signed “Echizen no Kuni Fujiwara Tametsugu” (越前国藤原為継), “Fujiwara Tametsugu from Echizen province.”

 Apart from that, a blade exists which is dated Ōan seven (1374), which is signed “Nōshū-jū FujiwaraTametsugu” (濃州住藤原為継), “Fujiwara Tametsugu, resident of Mino province.” Thus, we learn that the smith had moved between Ōan two and Ōan seven from Echizen to Mino province. Tametsugu’s workmanship displays a kitae in standing-out itame and anie-laden hamon in a notare based midareba, a gunome-midare, a gunome mixed with ko-notare, or a suguha-chō mixed with gunome.

Apart from that, hotsure appear along the habuchi and the nioiguchi is usually rather subdued.

 This blade has a kitae in itame that is mixed with nagare and jifu-like elements in the steel and features plenty of ji-nie and much chikei. The steel is blackish and the hamon is a nie-laden and widely hardened gunome that is mixed with ko-notare, chōji, yubashiri, tobiyaki, kinsuji, and sunagashi. The blackish steel speaks for a work from the northern region (Hokkoku) and the widely hardened and flamboyant midareba with its abundance of hataraki within the ha, e.g., kinsuji and sunagashi, it prominently reflects the characteristic features of Tametsugu. Both ji and ha are strikingly healthy (kenzen) and thus we have here a masterwork among all blades attributed to this smith.

 It is also important to note that this outstanding sword comes with a very interesting and unusual koshirae from the Edo period that includes a samegawa saya.

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NBTHK JÛYÔ TÔKEN CERTIFICATION PAPERS