Blade inscribed by Masahiro (Japanese, Hizen 1607–1665)
Decorated by Kokeguchi Senshu (Japanese, born 1929)
dated 1653; decorated 1980 and 2006
L. 33 3/4 in. (85.7 cm); L. of cutting edge 26 7/8 in. (68.1 cm); D. of curvature 5/8 in. (1.7 cm)
Purchase, Gift of Brayton Ives and W. T. Walters, by exchange, 2012
Not on view
The Edo period swordsmith Masahiro was the most important student of Tadayoshi (later called Tadahiro), leader of the Hizen school, the largest and one of the most important schools of swordsmiths of the Shinto period. Kokeguchi Senshu, who decorated this blade, is considered the greatest living artist in the field of steel-chiseling and engraving Japanese blades. Although it is not a common practice, contemporary engravers sometimes have been asked to decorate older blades since at least the sixteenth century. Mr. Kokeguchi also has engraved several modern blades made by Living National Treasure swordsmiths.
Inscription: Inscribed on the tang of the blade, on the obverse: 肥前國河内大掾藤原正廣 (Hizen no Kuni Kawachi-daijō Fujiwara no Masahiro) (Fujiwara no Masahiro, the Senior Secretary of Kawachi Province, Hizen Province [present-day Saga Prefecture]); on the reverse: 承應二年八月吉日 (Jō-ō ni-nen hachi-gatsu kichi-jitsu) (Second year of Jō-ō , eighth month, auspicious day).