Daishō Tōken part 2

Inoue Shinkai


Wakizashi in shirasaya + Koshirae (Early Edo)

Mei (signed): Inoue Shinkai – (chrysanthemum crest) a day in the second month Tenna two (1682)

Blade lenght: 54,30 cm

Period: Edo, Tenna era (1682)

N.B.T.H.K.  Tokubetsu Kichō Kodōgu + Tokubetsu Hozon + Fujishiro Estimation Paper (1944) + Oshigata in Kakemono.

Exhibited at the Scarperia Museum in Tuscany in 2015.

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Shintō: saijō saku; sori: 1,80 cm; mekugi: 1; width at the Hamachi: 3,02 cm; width at the kissaki: 1,80 cm; Kasane: 0,81 cm; shape: wide and thick blade. Long wakizashi.

Jitetsu: very fine ko-itame-hada with ji-nie that appears overall as Ōsaka-jigane.

Hamon: Tōran-style hamon in nie-deki with a wide nioiguchi, thick ashi, and which starts as sugu at the machi.

The bōshi is sugu with a wide nioiguchi that features a somewhat pointed kaeri.

This blade displays a particularly strong Sōshū influence. The very uniform and fine, nashiji-like forging pattern serves as an excellent canvas for the prominent nie activities, for example the sunagashi-like ativities which make the ha tend towards sudare-ba in places. The artist who worked on the saya was probably an inro artist. He was almost certainly associated in some way with the Kajikawa school, but he is unrecorded.

Inoue Shinkai 井上真改 (1630-1682), Shinkai, Settsu – “Izumi no Kami Kunisada” (和泉守国貞), “Inoue Izumi no Kami Kunisada” (井上和泉守国貞), “Inoue Shinkai” (井上真改).

His civilian name was Inoue Hachirōbei (井上八郎兵衛), he was born in the seventh year of Kan’ei (寛永, 1630). He was the second son of the first generation, i.e. of Oya-Kunisada. He succeeded first as second generation Kunisada and, from Keian onwards (慶安, 1648-1652), made daisaku works for his father. In the first year of Jōō (承応, 1652) he received the honorary title “Izumi no Kami”: for the next twenty years he used several signatures: Izumi no Kami Fujiwara Kunisada, Inoue Izumi no Kami Kunisada, Ōsaka ni oite Izumi no Kami Kunisada and so on. Around Manji four (万治, 1661) he was granted permission from the imperial court to engrave the 16-petal chrysanthemum onto his tangs. Until the fourth year of Kanbun (寛文, 1664) he executed the pistil of the chrysanthemum hatched crosswise. From Kanbun five (1665) onwards he interpreted this area as a circle with a thick dot in its center but, towards the end of Kanbun eleven (1671), he returned to the initial form. After the death of his father in Keian five (1652), his salary of 150 koku from the Itō family was transferred to Shinkai. His flamboyant style earned him the nickname Ōsaka Masamune (大坂正宗). Besides Sukehiro (助広), he is regarded as the most representative of all Ōsaka-shintō smiths. In 1669, he developed a style of his own based on the works of Go Yoshihiro. The name change to Inoue Shinkai took place in the eighth month of Kanbun twelve (1672) and it is said that he received his pseudonym from the Neo-Confucian Kumazawa Banzan (熊沢蕃山, 1619-1691). From the eighth month of Kanbun seven (1667) he executed the mei of the ura side of the tang in grass script. Shinkai died unexpectedly on the ninth day of the eleventh month of Tenna two (天和, 1682) at the age of 53. His grave is at Ōsaka’s Jūganji (重願寺).

Inoue Shinkai made broad, Soshu-inspired swords of shallow curvature, ko-itame forging and a wide tempering pattern in dense nie. He made mostly katana and wakizashi in shinogi-zukuri, tantō are rare and date mostly from his early artistic period when he still signed Kunisada. His katana and wakizashi have a shallow sori and a rather wide mibaba. The jihada is a dense and beautifully forged ko-itame with ji-nie all over the blade. The hamon becomes continually wider in its course from the base to the top. Shinkai was a master of nie and one of the best shintō smiths focusing on a nie-based deki. The bōshi shows mostly a ko-maru-kaeri. The tang has a ha-agari-kurijiri or an iriyamagata-jiri, and the yasurime are sujikai or sujikai with keshō, saijō-saku.

He was a famous swordsmith: he was considered one of the two greatest authorities along with Tsuda Echizon no Kami Sukehiro.

The Daishō was exhibited at Scarperia Museum in Tuscany for two months in 2015: