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Bird Head Tsuka


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#1 benatthelake

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 02:00 AM

A friend of mine inherited this bird Tsuka sword. He has no history or understanding of the sword.

Attached are the pictures of the Tsuka only as the blade pictures would be disappointing (too fuzzy) to you all. I am assuming the mekugi peg is under the round brass decorative fitting on the side as pictured. Is that the actual peg or is this attached to the wood? Advice on removal? Should it pop off?

I believe they made these swords through Showa times. The polish is not great...looks at least water quenched (with some activity) but very difficult to see any hada characteristics.

To me, the same looks too new.

Will post mei and better pictures of blade after I get the Tsuka off.

Thoughts?

Ben

Attached Thumbnails

  • WP_20130531_001.jpg
  • JBPheonix3.jpg


#2 Geraint

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 08:10 PM

Hi Ben.

Wish I had inherited something like that. You should compare to this example which looks very similar. http://www.aoijapan.... ... -lacquered

There was a stunning pair illustrated in the NBTHK journals, male and female pheasant and quite beautiful. These seem to be much later and of much lower quality, none the less a nice thing to have.

All the best.

Geraint

Edit. Thought I had seen another recently, http://www.thelanesa... ... 348&phqu=7
Geraint

#3 Markus

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 09:55 PM

Hi Ben,

Such a hilt interpretation is called "torikubi", or the whole sword "torikubi no tachi".
I dedicated them a brief chapter in my Koshirae book which I attach as PDF for
your info.

Attached File  torikubi.pdf   624.35KB   348 downloads

#4 benatthelake

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 02:42 AM

Thank you both Markus and Geraint for your comments and links.

Sooooo, how do I remove the Tsuka? Is the round fixture a screw? Is there still a wood peg underneath? Again, not my blade but I really look forward to studying it further.

Thanks in advance.

Ben

#5 Geraint

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 11:42 AM

Hi Ben.

I have never dismounted one of these but you may find one of the following; a screw on one of the menuki fitting into a threaded shank on the other, the same but with a left hand thread just to confuse things, less likely a round shank on one fitting into a hollow shank on the other. I would advise real caution, if they have not been moved for some time they might be quite tight. Looking forward to seeing what you find.

All the best.
Geraint

#6 Stephen

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 02:35 PM

Is the round fixture a screw?


Yes, the one at the end of the tail feather.

                                  Stephen C.

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#7 benatthelake

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 02:43 AM

Whew! :phew: was able to get the Tsuka off. Has not been removed for at least 20 years. Screw came off like you guys said. Can I get some help on Translation? Fujiwara Sukesada?

Ben M.

Attached Thumbnails

  • 102_5975 (800x531).jpg
  • Pheonix Mei 1 (294x800).jpg


#8 Grey Doffin

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 03:22 AM

Yokoyama Kozuke Daijo Fujiwara Sukesada Saku.
Grey

#9 benatthelake

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 03:49 AM

Grey. Thanks! Wow. Could it be this Sukesada? :shock: Not my sword, but if it is, my friend will be very very happy. No papers...I'll post pictures of blade. wow...

Sukesada (6th gen)
ID SUK893
Province Bizen
Era Kanbun (1661-1673)
Active Period 1661-1673
Father Sukesada

Source Rating Reference/Page
Hawley 80 SUK893
Toko Taikan ¥3M 333
Fujishiro Jo saku S487
横山上野大掾藤原祐定
yokoyama kodzuke daijō fujiwara sukesada

#10 Gabriel L

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 08:34 AM

Ben,

That's the smith this signature is representing, but that doesn't mean that's the smith who made this sword. There are many gimei (fake signatures) for this smith.

I am not going to give an opinion one way or another on this specific sword as I don't really know this smith well enough to even form a good opinion. But I am just letting you know that just reading the mei does not itself form an airtight appraisal.

Cheers,
—G.

PS for the best opinion possible (by others, not by me) you would benefit from posting pics of the blade, as detailed and accurate as possible.

#11 raven2

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 01:12 AM

Ben,

I am not at home at the moment but I have an NBTHK papered blade by this Sukesada. From what I can see, it looks very similar to the signature on my blade.
Fred D

#12 benatthelake

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 04:45 AM

Fred D and all:

Thanks for the comments and translation.

Attached are a few pictures of the blade....not the best pictures and I don't have in hand. What would you suggest as next steps with this one? Send to someone in the U.S. for evaluation and possible Shinsa submission? Post more pictures? It belongs to a friend of mine who has only a passing interest in Nihonto but this is a Sword passed down from his father so he wants to keep it for that reason alone. He is interested in the value (relative range) for insurance purposes and to ensure that the next generation does not give it away.

I find it interesting that the saya is missing most of the elements (I believe Sayajiri, Ashi, and Semegane). Not sure if the pictures show but you can see the gold color not as faded in those areas. You have to wonder why these would be removed? Clearly a shame as I find this Tsuka beautiful, but incomplete without a fully matching saya with all the mountings.

I was thinking about buying him a book which features works from this Sukesada...perhaps peak his interest so that he may wish to learn more about Nihonto and interesting Koshirae like this one.

All comments and suggestions welcomed.

Ben M.

Attached Thumbnails

  • Bird Head Blade 1.jpg
  • Blade one (533x1024).jpg
  • Blade Two (519x1024).jpg


#13 runagmc

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 05:24 AM

From only the few pics, I think this sword may be genuine, but my opinion doesn't get you very far, so... get more informed opinions, even better if from someone with the sword in hand.

Also, I see an older mekugi-ana (meaning it has been remounted sometime into these tachi mounts). Makes me wonder how a sword like this (if genuine) would end up in mounts like this. Should these mounts make us question the authenticity of the sword? I'm not sure...

Edit-I forgot how early Kozuka Daijo Sukesada worked (Genroku-1688)... I am seriously doubting the sword mei now (I'm thinking the sword is newer- maybe Shinshinto?), but maybe you can get some better opinions from members more familiar with this smith...
Adam L.

#14 benatthelake

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 09:43 PM

From only the few pics, I think this sword may be genuine, but my opinion doesn't get you very far, so... get more informed opinions, even better if from someone with the sword in hand.

Also, I see an older mekugi-ana (meaning it has been remounted sometime into these tachi mounts). Makes me wonder how a sword like this (if genuine) would end up in mounts like this. Should these mounts make us question the authenticity of the sword? I'm not sure...

Edit-I forgot how early Kozuka Daijo Sukesada worked (Genroku-1688)... I am seriously doubting the sword mei now (I'm thinking the sword is newer- maybe Shinshinto?), but maybe you can get some better opinions from members more familiar with this smith...


Adam: A bit earlier than Genroku as this Sukesada was Era Kanbun (1661-1673). Clearly it was remounted as many swords from this earlier period have later Koshirae. I don't think that is the question. According to Markus' book (see pdf link above) "The torikubi no tachi (lit. „bird-neck tachi“) is a ceremonial tachi mounting which as its origin in the Kofun-period keikantō no tachi (鶏冠頭大刀, lit. „cockscomb-pommel tachi“)." I would think that a mount of this quality and significance would not have a lower grade blade. If anything it makes me more inclined to believe it is authentic. I defer to the experts however on the technical and quality aspects of the blade as to whether or not the it is Gemei. I agree with your advice to have it evaluated by someone "in hand."

Again, welcome all opinions and direction.
Ben

#15 runagmc

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 04:31 AM

The torikubi no tachi koshirae on Aoi-art (which is pretty close to yours) is Gendai (according to them). Could the fitting on it be a silver alloy? Anyway, I have seen many similar Meiji (or newer) mounts like yours, and I have always wondered what their purpose, or use, was during that time.

To me, the brass (at least some of it cast) kodogu with little high level carving, inlay, or other high level craftsmanship make me wonder who these were made for originally. I wouldn't think these where made for top level Japanese clientele, just judging by level of craftsmanship. However, the one on Aoi-art has a pretty high price tag (more than I would expect)... but maybe I am underestimating the craftsmanship on some of these.

Can anyone more knowledgeable shed some light on this koshirae (and ones like it), and who would have used it (and what for)?

Maybe examples like yours, which are at least competently made, and in close to original condition (like the one on Aoi-art) are not as common as I have thought, which would explain the price tag.

If we can get some info on these mounts and their use (and status) in the later periods, maybe we could begin to understand if it would be likely to find a blade such as a healthy Yokoyama Kozuke Daijo Sukesada (fairly high level sword) mounted this way - or if it were more likely this was a well made Shinshinto (or Gendaito) gimei in flashy mounts meant to attract western attention, maybe? But sho-shin or not, it looks to be a nice inheritance for your friend...
Adam L.

#16 benatthelake

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 03:44 PM

Adam:

I agree with your points and I have the same questions. I plan to reach out to Tsuruta san of Aoi Art perhaps he can shed a bit more light on his torikubi no tachi Koshirae. I too was surprised at the price tag for a Gendai era....500,000 yen. Of course it has all the fittings whereas my friend's is missing some on the Saya...still very confusing to me why they would be removed.

Will see if anyone else from the board weighs in on this mount.

The direction I need to take for further blade research is fairly straight forward. You would think I own the thing. :) ...but I don't mind helping him as he gave me some good deals on some other swords. Plus it's enjoyable to unwrap the mystery.

Ben

#17 chris covington

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 05:00 PM

There is currently a tachi on ebay http://www.ebay.com/...#ht_11228wt_947 that is just like all of the others posted. All of the castings look like they are the same with maybe some hand work added to them? It looks like it was a fairly popular koshirae. I'm not sure what they are for but I keep imagining the kashira deep fried for some reason... :)
Chris Covington

#18 benatthelake

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 06:02 PM

There is currently a tachi on ebay http://www.ebay.com/...#ht_11228wt_947 that is just like all of the others posted. All of the castings look like they are the same with maybe some hand work added to them? It looks like it was a fairly popular koshirae. I'm not sure what they are for but I keep imagining the kashira deep fried for some reason... :)


:lol: Thanks Chris for providing the link. Looks like a match. Should serve as a realistic market price basis for the Koshirae. To quote the late and great Colonel Sanders..."I'm too drunk to taste this chicken." Sorry folks...it's a U.S. joke and a line from a movie.

But seriously, Markus' pdf link explains it fairly well. I believe this to be a late edo/Meiji mount. How rare seems to be a question...I guess we'll see how it is reflected in the final bid huh. Got to wonder if this type was more "flash" versus actual use/purpose. Other than in books, I have not seen a actual picture of any earlier ones as noted in Markus' book.

Ben

#19 cabowen

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 06:12 PM

Got to wonder if this type was more "flash" versus actual use/purpose. Other than in books, I have not seen a actual picture of any earlier ones as noted in Markus' book.

Ben


I think it is safe to say that these were never meant for actual use and were probably more ceremonial, display, presentation, etc. type items. Personally, I don't find much to like about them but no doubt there are those who do...

#20 chris covington

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 07:29 PM

Given that each one of these seems to come from the same mould and have nearly identical decoration, I would assume they are made with a modern manufacturing techniques. I would think they are no earlier than Meiji era and maybe as late as early Showa era. I'm not expert but that is just a feeling I get from them. They are too close to identical. If you look at the feather detail (stylized feathers) on the belly of your friend's chicken and the detail on the belly of the ebay chicken they have the exact same detail markings.

It looks like they have 10 bids on it already and this is just the koshirae so I'm sure the blade will add value, although I know you are missing parts on your friend's saya.

I think these are interesting tachi and if I had one I'm sure I'd treasure it but I don't see myself going out of my way to find one. I feel like any authentic tachi koshirae is special even these Kentucky Fried koshirae :)
Chris Covington

#21 cabowen

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 07:35 PM

Given that each one of these seems to come from the same mould and have nearly identical decoration, I would assume they are made with a modern manufacturing techniques. I would think they are no earlier than Meiji era and maybe as late as early Showa era.



Good theories. Lots of revival going on during that time frame.

#22 benatthelake

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 05:12 AM

Ebay Koshirae just sold for $4,250. Pretty impressive I think. Based on discussion here, I don't quite understand why..... :dunno:

I guess that's the market for a complete Koshirae with all the bells, whistles, feathers, etc. :lol:

Time for me to research whether this is a genuine Yokoyama Kozuke Daijo Fujiwara Sukesada or Gemei. Thanks to the board for the comments.

Ben M.

#23 obiwanknabbe

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Posted 13 August 2016 - 05:50 PM

I just stumbled across this older thread and it reminded me of something i saw a few years ago. What would a complete, original, clean condition. set like this go for? I knew an antique dealer who was selling one for $10k a few years ago.. It had a blade in it too with double bohi and O-kissaki (all i remember from 5 years ago) but I know that does not tell anyone much. The one on AOI was gendai. How could you tell if it was older?

 

Kurt



#24 benatthelake

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 12:20 AM

I'm back from a period of not actively participating or collecting.  I've been doing a bit of reading and look forward to getting back into the "business."

 

Does anyone have any ideas or thoughts on how to acquire the "furniture" on this saya?

 

I find it interesting that it was removed at one time...you can still see the spots where the lacquer is less faded in those areas.

 

Is there any hope to get this back into the condition shown in the picture below?

 

Bird Head Blade 1 (200x44).jpg 1.jpg

 

Thanks!

Ben



#25 benatthelake

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 12:24 AM

A better pic of the saya I'm looking to fix.

BenBlade Three.JPG



#26 TosoguCz

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Posted 05 August 2017 - 08:47 PM

I'm back from a period of not actively participating or collecting.  I've been doing a bit of reading and look forward to getting back into the "business."

 

Does anyone have any ideas or thoughts on how to acquire the "furniture" on this saya?

 

I find it interesting that it was removed at one time...you can still see the spots where the lacquer is less faded in those areas.

 

Is there any hope to get this back into the condition shown in the picture below?

 

attachicon.gifBird Head Blade 1 (200x44).jpgattachicon.gif1.jpg

 

Thanks!

Ben

 

As for the mentioned price, athough I haven't seen the mentioned koshirae, to make hiqh quality koshirae would cost even more. 

 

I can make you matching missing parts for your saya if you are interested send me an email please.






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