A Smith of Bungo Province
There are a number of excellent Swordsmiths originating in this province located on the island of Kyushu such as Yukihira, Yukinaga, Muneyuki, Munekaga and many others. Also, there was Motoyuki who moved to Hizen province and is listed as a Hizen Smith under Tadayoshi. In the Nambokochu period, there was Tomoyuki who founded the Tomoyuki school of Bungo province followed by many generations of the Tomoyuki students.
The Tomoyki Katana shown here is the third generation Tomoyuki, he is the grandson of the Shodai founder.
The blade is 26 1/2” in length having been shortened by several inches and displays 4 holes in the Nakago. Being both O-Suriage and Machi-Okuri. It is a wide blade, very sharp, Saki-Sori and Chu-Kissaki. The Sakisori is the indicator for the Muromachi period. The Jigane is Ko-Itame-Hada mixed with Ko-Mokume Hada, with Ji-Nie attached and Utsuri appears on the Ji somewhat similar to some Bizen smiths. The Hamon is Nie-Deki, Gunome and Choji Midare mixed with Sunagashi and small Kinsuji work. The Boshi is Midare Komi and Hakikake style in the point area.
All together, a well designed and executed blade structure, maintaining an excellent balance in the hand. His blades are noted for their sharpness. Swords forged in the Takada area of Bungo are called Takada-To and in the Muromachi period, they are called Taira-Takada-To. A fine fighting weapon. Koshirae: From the fine weapon and the unique one of a kind artistic Koshirae.
I believe this combination sword and Koshire was made as a special order presentation sword presented possibly to an individual or occasion or event. Certainly, it was not made as an ordinary work a day sword. It's just too beautiful and ornate with much gold and silver attachments. The Koshirae is unusual in that it is signed with the signature of Kongo-Sai Gassan. The Koshirae in Karyobingo style design of Japanese angels and Chinese Phoenix images in gold and silver attachments. The russet coloured Saya is covered in painted gold clouds. The Tsuba is silver plated. The Menuki: Shakuda plate (a mixture of gold and copper) with gold and silver Phoenix. The Fujikashira, the Kojiri and other fittings are mostly silver plate and Shibuchi plate. (An alloy of copper and silver that gives a silver-grey patina). Seppa are leaves engraved in Kebori style on Shakuda plate.
An excellent aspect of the Bungo School swords in the rarest of their styles and workmanship often being passed off as Hizen Tadayoshi school blades by unscrupulous vendors. The difference however, is in the Hada. The Hizen blades contain profuse fine Chikei immediately defined as Konuka Hada. Once seen and understood by the student and defined as a crucial characteristic of Hizento will not be taken in by a Bungo Gi-Mei blade. All in all, a very unique work of art.
This 3rd generation Tomoyuki sword has been shortened. It has a fresh polish and is in fine shape, wide and sturdy with Okissaki.
The Ji-Gane is Ko-Itame and Ko-Mokume with Ji-Nie and Utsuri.
The Hamon is Nei-Deki-Gunome-Midare and Choji-Midare mixed with Sunagashi, Kinsuji.
The Boshi is Midare Komi and Hakikake style.
Overall, a very fine blade. The Koshirae fittings are outstanding and signed; Kongo Sai Gassan.
The design of Chinese Phoenix in Shakuda plate with Gold and Silver addition is extremely attractive and artistic.