Norishige (則重), Enkyō (延慶, 1308-1311), Etchū – „Norishige“ (則重), „Saeki Norishige saku“ (佐伯則重作), he lived in the Gofuku (呉服) district (Gō, 郷) of Etchū province and is therefore also called „Gōfuku-Gō“, whereas at the latter nickname the character for „Gō“ (郷) is often also replaced by (江), relative many signed blades are extant and regarding date signatures, we know an oshigata from the „Umetada-oshigata“ which is dated Enkei two (延慶, 1309) and an extant tantō is dated with Shōwa three (正和, 1314), he is listed as one of the „Ten Students of Masamune“ but the known date signatures of Norishige suggest that he was rather a contemporary than a student of Masamune, in the Nanbokuchō period Ki'ami-hon mei-zukushi (喜阿弥本銘尽) we find the following entry: „student of Shintōgo Kōshin (新藤五光心)“, i.e Shintōgo Kunimitsu, that means he was a fellow student of Masamune under Kunimitsu, an approach, which is in recent years more and more accepted. Hokurikudō (北陸道), saijō-saku.
Jūyō Tōken Norishige Tantō: nagasa: 24.9 сm; sori: slight uchizori; motohaba: 2.2 сm; nakago nagasa: 9.0 сm; nakago sori: 0.1 cm; mei "Norishige"; sayagaki by Hayashida Hitoshi (林田等), February 1944. Provenance: Hayashida Hitoshi (林田等), Hirose Kazuo (広瀬一男).
Designated as Jūyō Tōken at the 51st jūyō-shinsa held on the 13th of October 2005.
Publications: NBTHK Jūyō Tōken Nado Zufu, Volume 51; Hayashida Oshigata.
Figure 1. Hayashida Oshigata.
昭和⼗八年九⽉十四⽇ 共楽会に於いて求む 三百四⼗円
Was bought at Kyorakukai. 14th day of the 9th month of Showa 18th (1943). The price was 340 JPY.
Norishige, genuine article. Nagasa: 8sun, 2 bu and a half.
Solid silver, waves design habaki. (it's likely that he had the koshirae and new solid gold habaki made around this time)
This Norishige was discovered during a get together of sword enthusiasts from the upper class (Kyorakukai Meeting) in 1943 by Hayashida Hitoshi, a sometime sword dealer and collector in Tokyo. In his notes he made an oshigata of the sword and called it a masterpiece. Probably, he made this sayagaki for the blade and also commissioned the koshirae.
Designated as jūyō-tôken at the 51st jūyō-shinsa held on October 13th 2005; tantō bearing the signature Norishige (則重).
Ibaraki Prefecture, Hirose Kazuo (広瀬一男)
measurements: nagasa 24.9 cm, very slight uchizori, motohaba 2.2 cm, nakago-nagasa 9.0 cm, nakago- sori 0.1 cm;
shape: hira-zukuri, steep mitsu-mune, blade is rather slender in proportion to its mihaba, tends to a sunnobi shape, there is scarce fukura and very slight uchizori;
kitae: itame mixed with mokume, nagare, and standing-out ō-hada, in addition plentiful of ji-nie and many thick chikei;
hamon: nie-laden notare-chō with a wide nioiguchi that is mixed with ko-notare, gunome, connected ashi and yō, plenty of kinsuji and sunagashi, many hotsure along the habuchi, some tobiyaki. There is ayubashiri-based nijûba in places, the nioiguchi is wide and the hamon is nie-laden;
bōshi: midare-komi that ends with a very short kaeri and almost tends to yakitsume;
nakago: ubu, kirijiri, katte-sagari yasurime, two mekugi-ana, the sashi-omote side bears centrally under the first mekugi-ana a large and thickly chiselled niji-mei, the second mekugi-ana goes through the character for “Nori”
The Kokon Mei Zukushi and other early Edo period sword publications list Norishige as one of the Ten Brilliant Students of Masamune but on the basis of his tachi and tantō shapes and the known date signatures from the Shōwa (1312-1317) and Gen’ō eras (1319-1321) it is more likely that he was a fellow student of Masamune under Shintōgo Kunimitsu, an approach that was already forwarded by earlier, i.e. Muromachi period sword publications. The workmanship of Norishige is similar to that of Masamune but his nie are even more emphasized and have a greater variety. The kitae is a bit more larger structured and stands out as so-called matsukawa-hada which is accompanied by the large and conspicious chikei. The hataraki along the habuchi and within the ha are interwoven with the kitae- hada and as indicated, we see an infinite variety of nie on blades of Norishige.
This tantō shows an itame mixed with mokume, nagare, and standing-out ō-hada and we also see plenty of ji-nie and many thick chikei, that means the hada appears overall as the aforementioned matsukawa-hada. The hamon is a nie-laden notare-chō with a wide nioiguchi that is mixed with ko- notare, gunome, connected ashi and yō, plenty of kinsuji and sunagashi, many hotsure along the habuchi, some tobiyaki, and a yubashiri-based nijūba in places. So we have here all in all the very typical workmanship of Norishige and the deki is excellent. The blade has scarce fukura and a little uchizori what results in a tantō-sugata with takenoko-zori what is another characteristic feature of Norishige. Well, we know various signature styles from this smith but this one has not yet been found on any other blade and needs thus further study (i.e. the first case for the "to mei ga aru", ref. p. 321 of the Japanese Swords: Sōshū-den Masterpieces book).
Sayagaki & Tsunagigaki:
Omote side: 越中國則重 [Etchū no Kuni Norishige]
長サ八寸二分 [nagasa: 8 sun 2 bu]
昭和十九申年如月等林堂 [Written by Tōrindō (pseudonym of Hayashida Hitoshi, 林田等) in February of the year of the Monkey (1944) + kaō.]
Ura side: 御拵 o-koshirae
Aikuchi mounting in glossy red-lacquer with gold powder application and horn fittings, pure gold "dragon in clouds" kozuka, work of Gotō Sōjō [2nd Gotō generation], attributed to the latter by Mitsutaka [13th Gotō generation, also named Enjō], pure gold "reclining dragon" menuki, kogatana by Tsunatoshi, red color sageo.
Tsunagi: There is a very same description located on the tsunagi.
kozuka, mei: Sōjō saku, Mitsutaka + kaō (宗乗作 光孝)
kogatana, mei: Yonezawa-jū Tsunatoshi (米澤住綱俊)
A very interesting information can be found in Kanto Hibi Shō (Honma Junji, Supplement 2, 1983) on page 267. One could compare two different tantō bearing two very similar Norishige's signatures and identical conclusions: "to mei ga aru".
Original content Copyright © 2019 Dmitry Pechalov
This sword was presented for sale on the www.yuhindo.com followed another content and additional photos made by Darcy Brockbank.