BY Soushū Yukimitsu
Kamakura period/14th century
Tokyo National Museum
Yukimitsu was a swordsmith from Sagami Province (present-day Kanagawa Prefecture). Commonly known as Tôsaburô, he is reported to have been the child and protégé of Shintô Gokunimitsu and was either the real or adoptive father of the swordsmith Masamune.
This piece-a rare example of a signed work by Yukimitsu-embodies many of the common features of short blades (J. tantô) made in the Kamakura period (1185-1333). It is notable for exemplifying an intermediate style between the straight tempering pattern used by Yukimitsu's teacher, Gokunimitsu, and the curved-wave tempering pattern of Yukimitsu's student, Masamune.
This blade, along with one held by the Imperial Household Ministry, is a representative example of his work. It was owned by the Maeda family of Kaga City.