Il Mori Shusui Museum ha sede a Toyama City ed ospita, tra le altre, una prestigiosa collezione di circa 200 lame (tutte di altissima qualità) raccolte nel corso degli anni da un importante industriale della città, Masao Mori. La struttura si sviluppa su quattro piani ed i piani aperti al pubblico sono tre: al piano terra, oltre alla hall d’ingresso, vi è una sala per le conferenze, una sala espositiva, lo shop, una sala da tè ed un giardino. La collezione permanente di spade ed armature si trova al secondo piano. Al terzo piano vi sono le collezioni permanenti di ceramiche e di opere figurative (pittura e calligrafia) oltre a sale espositive per le mostre temporanee.
Esiste un sito web del museo, in inglese
ed un profilo Facebook
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La prefettura di Toyama è, indubbiamente, abbastanza fuori dalle consuete “rotte” turistiche di chi visita il Giappone ma ho ritenuto opportuno segnalare questa struttura museale per via dei pezzi di eccezionale qualità che vi sono custoditi. Toyama di trova nell’area dell’antica provincia di Etchū (越中国), zona di produzione dell’acciaio e luogo di nascita di importanti scuole di forgiatura, come ad esempio quelle di Go Yoshihiro e Saeki Norishige (due dei cosiddetti “Masamune Jittetsu”), come pure della scuola Uda. Il signor Mori, nella sua collezione, ha appositamente raccolto diverse lame rappresentative delle scuole “regionali”, quindi credo che una visita sia senz’altro raccomandata a chiunque sia interessato particolarmente ai forgiatori di quest’area.
Tra le le lame esposte un eccezionale tachi di scuola ko Aoe firmato Tsugutada, che è stato pubblicato nel Bollettino n° 708 della NBTHK (gennaio 2016)
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Length: 2 shaku 6 sun 2 rin (78.85 cm)
Sori: 8 bu 8 rin (2.67 cm)
Motohaba: 9 bu 9 rin (3.0 cm)
Sakihaba: 6 bu 4 rin (1.95 cm)
Motokasane: 2 bu 3 rin (0.7 cm)
Sakikasane: 1 bu 3 rin (0.4 cm)
Kissaki length 1 sun 7 rin (3.25 cm)
Nakago length: 7 sun 1 bu 3 rin (21.6 cm)
Nakago sori: slightly less than 1 bu (0.3 cm)
This is a shinogi zukuri tachi with an ihorimune. It is a little wide, and the widths at the moto and saki are different. There is a large hiraniku, a large koshizori, funbari and a chu-kissaki. The jihada is itame mixed with mokume, the entire jihada is well forged, and there are jifu (dark areas in the steel) and sumi hada (dark and clear hada areas). The fine visible jihada is a chirimen-hada (it has a crepe-like appearance). There are thick dense nie, chikei and pale jifu utsuri. The hamon is mainly ko-midare mixed with ko-choji, ko-gunome and some places have hotsure. There are hotsure, ko-ashi, a dense nioiguchi, and the inside of the hamon has abundant dense nie. Around the center, the nie become rougher, there are fine kinsuji and sunagashi, and the top of the hamon is mixed with yubashiri, small tobiyaki, abd uchionoke. The hamon is yakiotoshi at the koshimoto.
The boshi is straight with a komaru, a small return, and nie suji. The nakago is ubu, the tip is a shallow kurijiri, which becomes a kengyo style, and the yasurime are a o-sujichigai. There is a one mekugi-ana, and on the omote under the mekugi-ana, there is a distinctive large size two kanji signature made with a thick chisel.
According to the “Engishiki”, a record which listed laws and regulations and which was published in the early half of the Heian period, Bitchu no kuni (Bitchu Province) contributed iron and hoes (for farming work) and salt to the imperial court. From this, it appears that that province was famous for iron production since early historical times, the same as for the other Chugoku areas. The province to the east of Bitchu is Bizen, and on the north, the neighboring province is Hoki, and all of these areas are supposed to have had optimal conditions for sword production. From the number of signed swords we have today, we can imagine that there was a large number of smithsworking in this area.
Notably, the Ko-Aoe school is well known along with the Yamashiro and Yamato schools, and was famous for sword production along with Ko-Bizen, Ko-Hoki and Ko-Kyushu. The Gotoba-in’s (emperor) Ban-kaji smiths such as Sadatsugu, Tsunetsugu and Ietsugu are well known, and their last work was supposed to have been done around the mid-Kamakura period. The Ko-Aoe tachi are narrow and elegant with delicate shapes, and this reflects this period. Their hamon are similar to the neighboring Ko-Bizen work, and there are frequent nie, but usually the nioiguchi is worn down, and people consider this to be part of their quiet elegant character.
In the historical sword book “Meikan”, Ko-Aoe Tsugutada’s work is listed around the Joei period (1232-33), and he is supposed to be either Ietsugu’s or Yasutsugu’s son or grandson. He has only six signed works existing: this tachi, a Tokyo National Museum tachi (from the Tanzen shrine), a Tokubetsu Juyo Token classified blade, and three Juyo Token classified blades. His signed with large kanji in the center of the nakago, and either under or over the mekugi-ana in two ways or styles. The other Ko-Aoe smiths were more likely to sign under the mekugi-ana. All his hamon are low, mainly ko-midare mixed with ko-gunome, and have small vertical variations. There are ko-nie, some kinsuji, sunagashi, and a worn down nioiguchi, which is a characteristic classical style.
This sword has a perfect ubu nakago, and some of the original yasurime clearly remain. Ko-Aoe’s characteristic strongly carved signature style is still seen with strong chisel marks. Also, the upper half of the sword is a little wide and has a large hiraniku. There is a healthy shape and this is a heavy tachi. It is in an amazingly good state of preservation. Besides the long tachi shape, the jihada is refined from the moto to the saki, and is an itame mixed with mokume. The entire jihada is well forged, and there are jifu and sumi hada. The fine visible jihada shows a prominent chirimen-hada, which is a characteristic Ko-Aoe jihada. The hamon is natural appearing and very classic looking.This work is elegant, simple, and very sophisticated. This is like Soshu-Den’s best master work, and there are nie which are dark and pale and contrast with the nioiguchi, and one never gets tired of looking at this.
This is a distinctive Meito with a dynamic shape, a subtle and profound classic hamon, and very sophisticated style and as you can recognize, Tsugutada was a very highly skilled master smith.