Copyright Robert Cole 2015 - No copying or distributing
BIZEN
KO-BIZEN




Technical: SUGATA - HEIAN KOSHIZORI where the arc straightens in
                    the upper. KO-KISSAKI. Origins are  
                    YAMASHIRO style, some early pieces may be in
                    that style. Shallow height of the back ridge.
             HADA - Finely worked MOKUME or ITAME/MOKUME mix with
                    a cast of deep transparent blue. CHIKEI and 
                    JI-NIE. NIE JI-BA may be found. KO-BIZEN is
                    known for very healthy steel, a noted point.
            HAMON - Finely done KO-NIE in NIOI-FUKASHI KO-MIDARE,
                    SUGU KO-CHOJI. Perhaps wider MIDARE BA of 
                    GUNOME and CHOJI mixes defined of ASHI, 
                    KINSUJI and SUNAGASHI. Some lines undulate in
                    height, and there will be a high degree of 
                    complexity.  
            BOSHI - SUGU or SUGU KO-MIDARE with KO-MARU.
           NAKAGO - Long, gently curved HEIAN styles. 
                    Some were KIJIMATA. Signatures are usually
                    the smith name only, but some longer.

There were two original KO-BIZEN groups: TOMONARI followed by 
MASATSUNE. Traditional study teaches KO-BIZEN began in EI-EN 987 
with these and other smiths. Present examples appear from NIN-PYO
1151, and are the subject of most modern descriptions. The early 
dates occupy a hallowed throne in scholarship and need not be 
violated, as appraisal should always fall to correct placement 
of time for individual pieces. GEN-RYAKU smiths are said to be in
the 5th generation.

The order of importance in appraisal consideration for KO-BIZEN:

     1st - TOMONARI

     2nd - MASATSUNE

     3rd - NOBUFUSA and his "Three HIRAs"

Appraisal: HEIAN BIZEN swords will bring TOMONARI and MASATSUNE 
           to mind. The first step is to weigh a differentiation 
           between these masters. 

           TOMONARI  - Look for O-HADA.  
                     - Narrow YAKIBA in BOSHI has small KO-MARU
                       or TOGARI-like head.
                     - NAKAGO is refined. Flattened KURIJIRI is 
                       HA-AGARI (HA raised) or even slightly 
                       KATAYAMA.
           MASATSUNE - Tight, well-knit grain. 
                     - CHU-SUGUHA BOSHI with KO-MARU and short
                       KAERI. 
                     - Original NAKAGO seems comparatively crude
                       and terminates in rounded KURIJIRI.

Note: -KO-BIZEN mark is very healthy steel. One doubts one's eyes.
      -Long, bold signatures: Look to TOMONARI School. 

Yoshikane Tachi - Ubu ZaiMei Nakago
                   In Private Ownership


KO-BIZEN

________
KORESUKE TEN-ROKU 970
___|____ 
SUKEKANE EI-EN 987
   |________________________
___|____                ____|____
NAGAKANE KAN-NIN 1017   SADATOSHI KAN-NIN 1017
   |______________________ ______________
___|____               ___|____      ____|____  
MOTOKANE EI-SHO 1046   HIDEKANE      YOSHIKANE EI-SHO 1046
___|_____              EI-SHO 1046   ____|____
KUNITSUGU JI-RYAKU 1065              YOSHIKANE KO-WA 1099

SUKEKANE EI-EN (f: KORESUKE): Work in CHO-KYU 1040. ITAME with 
           JI-NIE. KO-CHOJI BA. Large two-character MEI.

YOSHIKANE EI-SHO (f: NAGAKANE): KO-NIE GUNOME CHOJI-MIDARE BA.

YOSHIKANE KO-WA: KO-MASAME. Uneven KO-CHOJI MIDARE.

YOSHIKANE GEN-RYAKU (f: NAGAKANE): YOSHIKANE is recorded in JI-AN
        1021, CHO-RYAKU 1037, EI-SHO 1046 and TEN-KI 1053.
        Examination has placed GEN-RYAKU to extant pieces. An
        appraiser is to place SUGATA with time. Late HEIAN narrow
        bladed YOSHIKANE TACHI are notably graceful in curvature 
        and with FUNBARI.
        HAMON will have an evenly laid KO-MIDARE of KO-CHOJI BA. 
        Thick NIE is the KO-BIZEN special mark. BOSHI are KO-MARU
        with HAKIKAKE. Very small signature where the YOSHI will 
        have a vertical center-stroke and show equal spacing of
        perpendicular horizontal strokes. KANE can be square.
See another Ko-Bizen Yosahkane Read: Ichimonji Yoshikane

SUKEKANE GEN-RYAKU: Swords will be late HEIAN SUGATA, KO-KISSAKI,         strong FUNBARI KOSHIZORI TACHI. Standing ITAME has JI-NIE.         NIE KO-MIDARE BA with KO-ASHI. Small two-character MEI          above the ANA.          Note: SUKEKANE MEI thought a contemporary of TOMONARI          will have the same bold strokes:                  BIZEN-no-KUNI SUKEKANE SAKU         The 1st and 2nd FUKUOKA SUKEKANE: see FUKUOKA ICHIMONJI          NORIMUNE School. ________ KUNIHIRO EI-EN 987 ___|____ MORIKANE JI-AN 1021 ___|____ SUKETAKA KO-HEI 1058 ___|_____ KUNITSUGU KAN-JI 1087


 Nagasa: 71.9cm
Sori: 2.6cm
Moto-haba: 2.55cm
Saki-haba: 1.75cm
Kissaki-naga: 2.7cm
Kasane: 7mm
Nakago: 21.5cm
Nakago-zori: .3cm

Ko-Bizen Yoshikane Tachi
Late-Heian / Early Kamakura Sugata.

Jifu Utsuri and a starkly unusual wide Hiro-width Yakiba mark this Ko-Bizen as unique.
The upper is strong with Elongated Kissaki.
Perfectly knit Itame and Ko-Itame Hada has Ji-Nie and Jifu.
Thick Nie exemplifies a Ko-Midare of deeply complex Ko-Choji Midare Ba, wherein Kinsuji and Sunagashi striate figures.
Boshi is Hakikake swept.
Ubu Ko-Bizen Nakago, two Mekugi-ana.

~ In Private Ownership ~







Sukekane - Kokuho

Sukekane - Kokuho
Nagasa: 73.3cm
Moto-Haba: 3cm


Shinogi-tsukuri, Ihori-Mune, Koshizori Tachi.
Bo-Hi both sides.
Ko-Itame Hada has standing Midare-Utsuri.
Asaki-Notare Chu-Sugu Ko-Midare Ba of Nioi-Fukashi and Nie with Ashi, Hotsure and a subtle Nijuba in places.
Hoso-Sugu Notare-Komi Boshi with small Ko-Maru at the Saki.
Ubu Kurijiri with two Mekugi-ana. Signed in the upper.

   Sukekane



Yoshikane Tachi - In Private Ownership
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