JUMYO, middle koto period;

omote mei: “Jumyo”
wakizashi or sunobi tanto
sugata: hira-zukuri, iori-mune, tori-zori;
nagasa: 34.4 cm; moto-haba: 2.9 cm; saki-haba: 2.0 cm
nakago: ubu with one mekugi-ana, kuri-jiri and signed ni-ji mei on the omote, JUMYO;
hamon: gentle notare-ba in dark nie, sunagashi and long kinsuji in the upper part of the blade;
boshi: omaru with short kaeri;
jihada: compact itame with ji-nie.;
horimono: on omote, a su-ken with bonji and a vraja hilt, on the ura, short bo-hi with so-bi.

[Mino-to p.27, 34, 56, 105; 183, 219]

(To-ken Society of Great Britain with permission of Clive Sinclaire)

Comments from Clive Sinclaire::

This “wakizashi” is accompanied by a shira-saya with saya-gaki stating Yamato-Mino and Kenbu Goro. It also has a NBTHK Hozon origami which dates it as Enbun Goro. The Yamato-Mino note indicates that the blade is early Mino work which was strongly influenced by Yamato-den. In fact Mino-den evolved from Yamato-den through Kaneuji (a Masamune jutetsu) and the profuse and dark nie are further evidence of a Yamato-den influence. Both the saya-gaki Kembu note and the Enbun dating on the Hozon paper, are nengo from the Namboku-cho period (1334 and 1356 respectively) and are in agreement as to the approximate age of the sword. The classification, therefore of “wakizashi” is quite understandable because of the length and indeed, the blade is accompanied by a wakizashi koshirae.

However, to me the sugata, with its wide mihaba, thin kasane and long fukura, suggest a sunobi (stretched) tanto. As custom made wakizashi were not made until the later Muromachi period, when the wearing of daisho was fashionable, the case for classifying this as a sunobi tanto, is reinforced.

The line of swordsmiths signing JUMYO originated in Yamato in the later Kamakura period. It appears that the first generation moved to the village of Shimizu, Sai-gun in Mino province. If the dates indicated by both the NBTHK and the anonymous saya-gaki are correct, it would seem that this blade is most probably by the san-dai of the so-called Sai-gori group of the Jumyo Ha of Mino. He is believed to have worked up to Sohei 17th year (1362) although his production was limited. However, it is very difficult to differentiate between the various generations of this line of swordsmiths. (As horimono are very rare on Mino blades it would seem likely that they are ato-bori or added later). Mino smiths signing the name Jumyo continued throughout the koto period and right through to shinshinto.

Incidentally, the characters forming the name Jumyo are considered to be auspicious indicating longevity and so swords bearing this mei were considered appropriate as gifts. Indeed it may be that some swords were carved deliberately in this manner if they were intended as gifts.

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