Oshigata is the traditional means, used by Japanese appraisers since before the Japanese middle ages, to record all the
Even when using modern technology, photography alone cannot record all of the necessary details required to satisfactorily identify it from a similar sword by the same smith or a forgery. This is even more so in the case of unsigned swords. Every detail is meticulously recorded to scale: The file marks on the Tang, along with the cut of the strokes of the inscription, the shape of the tang, the shape of the monouchi (the first 30cm from the tip of the blade) or the whole blade in the case of full length oshigata. The hamon (the crystalline activities in the hardened edge) and any other activities or identifying marks that take place in any other part of your sword.
This is an excellent traditionally hand crafted record to have of your sword. These are absolutely essential as identification in the case of stolen or lost swords (especially for laymen investigators) and are very beneficial when it comes to insuring blades and collections. Once you have an oshigata of your sword you will no longer have to run the risk of damage or loss by transporting your sword every time that you want an opinion or to illustrate a particular activity. Oshigata can also be conveniently scanned and sent electronically all around the world, saving you money on wasted postage and appraisal costs or potential polishing costs.
In addition to all the above, oshigata are an excellent method of study not only for the viewer, but for the artist too. Many major sword publications use oshigata as a means of illustrating sword’s characteristics for articles and for kantei (appraisal) practice. I hope that these oshigata are of benefit to your study of the Japanese sword. I will try to update the gallery as often as possible.