Seki Kanemune

KANEMUNE, middle koto period, katana;

mei: “Kanemune”;
sugata: shinogi-zukuri, iori-mune;
nakago: ubu, one mekugi ana, wide ha-agari kuri-jiri;
hamon: gunome-midare within notare, of nioi-deki;
boshi: ko-maru, regular, sunagashi?, hakikae, and no kaeri;
horimono: bonji and ken:
[Mino-to p.45]
The Oei era was at the beginning of the Muromachi period, and was quite long from 1394 (Oei 1) to 1427 (Oei 34).
(Token Society of Great Britain, with permission Clive Sinclaire)
Details were not available for this blade. Considered to be the shodai Seki Kanemune;
The mune may have been moved several cm.

Comments by Clive Sinclaire
At end of Namboku-cho and the beginning of the Muromachi period, there seems to be a reaction to the huge blades of that time and as there was an increase in warfare on foot, the wearing of katana, came to replace the wearing of the tachi.

Custom made katana with graceful Heian or early Kamakura tachi shape but signed katana-mei were made in the first part of the Muromachi period, the Oei period (1394-1428). These swords were narrow, graceful but maybe also show slight saki-zori. Tanto were rather ’stretched’ and long. This may be seen as a period of transition between tachi and katana and swords began to be signed in the so-called katana-mei style.

The most famous swordsmiths of this time were a group known as the Oei Bizen San Mitsu. These three ‘mitsu’ were named Yasumitsu, Morimitsu and Moromitsu) and they all worked in Osafune in the Oei period.

The sword we have here, representing this transitional period, is by a smith named Kanemune. It may be seen that this slim blade with a deep zori and small kissaki, has the distinct appearance of a tachi sugata although it is signed as a katana with a 2 character mei. Although the hamon looks more like a Bizen style (choji-gunome) Kanemune is actually a Mino swordsmith, and so I think this demonstrates the overwhelming popularity of Bizen style at this time. The simple hi is probably ato-bori (carved later). Of course, during the Muromachi period, many Kazu-uichi mono were produced, especially Bizen Osafune.

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