Kiyomaro oshigata comparison

Again I want to present a comparison of two oshigata which show considerable differences. First of all something about the blade. It is a tantô in yoroidôshi style by Kiyomaro but from his early years. It is dated Tenpô five (天保, 1834) and signed with his former name „Hidetoshi“ (秀寿), that means he made the piece when he was 22 years old and after he signed with „Masayuki“ (正行). When you take a look at the oshigata depicted below you will see that the blade is obviously interpreted in the Sôshû tradition, or to be more precise in the style of Samonji (左文字). There are plentiful of nie and nie-based hataraki like conspicious kinsuji and sunagashi. Also we see some tobiyaki and yubashiri. By the way, Kiyomaro used that name „Hidetoshi“ only in that very year Tenpô five and this is also the only known work of him which is entirely interpreted in pure Sôshû tradition. Another sidenote: There exists a second blade dated Tenpô five signed with „Hidetoshi“ but this one, a tantô, is completely different as it is forged in the Inshû-Hamabe style (因州浜部) of his master Toshitaka (寿隆), i.e. it shows a chôji-based midareba in nioi-deki. That means this yoroidôshi-style tantô is an important reference for this phase of his career where he aimed at the Sôshû tradition and was just at developing his own style.


Picture 1: tantô, mei „Minamoto Hidetoshi“ (源秀寿) – „Tenpô gonen chûtô“ (天保五年仲冬, „mid-winter of Tenpô five [1834]“) – „Tôsai-shujin no tame ni kore o tsukuru“ (為濤齋主人作之, „made for the head of the Tôsai family“), nagasa 22,8 cm, some uchizori, hira-zukuri, iori-mune

Interesting at this comparison is that we see this time how differently the blade was „read“. At the older oshigata depicted above, obviously more attention was payed to the supposed course of the hamon. That means hataraki like tobiyaki and yubashiri were interpreted as togari elements belong to the actual hamon (see picture 2, marked in red). Also the ashi were seen as indentation of the hamon and reproduced that way (marked in blue) on the upper oshigata. Apart from the fact that the lower oshigata is much more detailed, we have again a discrepancy in the course of the hamon itself, even the two oshigata are pretty identical in proportions. The area up to the blue marks (from the side of the kissaki) are matching but then the creator of the oshigata above „saw“ the third togari-like element marked in red at a considerable distance whereas the subsequent course is again about identical.


Picture 2: Questionable discrepancies.

I assume that this might go back to the massive kasane of this tantô. That means when the blade is laid down on the table padding, you either have to put something under the ha so that the ji lies parallel to the table, or you have to stop drawing from time to time and rotate the blade so that you can see all details. Maybe this is the reason for the discrepancy here because otherwise I can´t explain why the course of the hamon shifts all of a sudden right before the third togari element in question.

By the way, a detailed biography of Kiyomaro can be found in my work Legends and Stories around the Japanese Sword 2.

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