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#1 Henry Wilson

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Posted 04 March 2017 - 09:03 AM

Does anyone know the Japanese for an opening that runs along the mune? I have a sword that I bought last October with NBTHK papers and it appears to have such an opening.
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#2 Geraint

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Posted 04 March 2017 - 10:28 AM

Hi Henry.

 

I believe they are muneware.  Not too bad I hope?

 

All the best


Geraint

#3 Henry Wilson

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Posted 04 March 2017 - 10:38 AM

Thanks Geraint

I am thinking that it is a split along the blade's mune not just a surface opening. What brought my attention to it was when I cleaned the blade with a cloth there was a sort of drag as I brought the cloth along the blade. I thought it was a result of a bad polish but the muneware makes me think otherwise.

Would it be grounds for a refund from the seller? It was not disclosed in the sales info and when I went to see the blade.
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#4 Geraint

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Posted 04 March 2017 - 12:11 PM

Henry I'm not qualified to say what constitutes grounds for a refund but if you have seen the blade in hand before buying then I would think probably not.  I have to admit that the mune is not a part of the blade that I would examine closely when buying other than to establish what sort it was.  After this I will be sure to check.

If it's any consolation I don't think muneware  are a terrible flaw and if you didn't spot it then it will hardly detract from the blade.  If that is all that is wrong then I don't think it would bother me.  Oh, and does it have papers?  If so then one would suppose that it didn't bother the shinsa team.

 

Any chance of pictures then others will be able to judge?

 

All the best


Geraint

#5 md02geist

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Posted 04 March 2017 - 06:30 PM

Muneware is correct.

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#6 SAS

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Posted 04 March 2017 - 11:09 PM

A qualified craftsman could install umegane to fill it if necessary.


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#7 Peter Bleed

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Posted 05 March 2017 - 01:10 AM

I rather like to have a sword with a bit of muneware since they help to explain the flaws that regularly  occur in Masame. In gross term, the mune os the "masame side" of itame blades. Muneware, in other words help to understand masame.

 

Peter


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#8 Henry Wilson

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Posted 05 March 2017 - 04:16 AM

Thank you all for your replies and thoughts. The sword has NBTHK papers so either the team did not notice the muneware or they felt it does not detract from the blade which has quite a coarse itame hada anyway.

I have tried (and failed) to take pictures but to be honest there is nothing really to show. There are actually two muneware, one that seems to be very minor and the one I noticed yesteday that seems to correspond with an ever so slight swelling on the mune side of sword suggesting an opening or bubble. Nothing (except for the ware) is noticeable to the eye and the swelling can only be felt when running a cloth over it. Like I said I thought it was the result of a divet from a dodgy polish. Evidently not.

The connoissuers book says muneware is an example of the smiths "lack of skill". That made me smile! Nowhere have I read that it is a fatal flaw. I am wondering what to do. I am very fond of the sword but it might be time to have it polished. Could the ware be polished in? Or something else... Anymore thoughts from members would be gratefully appreciated.
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#9 Katsujinken

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Posted 05 March 2017 - 05:08 AM

How old is your blade, Henry? For blades of a certain age, some ware are to be expected and overall health is what matters. The younger a blade gets, the less acceptable flaws/health issues become. And it's also a personal choice.

I'm not interested in a Shinto or younger blade that's not flawless, but that's just me. Whereas a truly flawless Koto blade – if you can even find one – will cost a small fortune. These blades were made without technology – folding was the only way to achieve the necessary purity. They are ingenious, but almost none are truly flawless.

In the end, different strokes for different folks.

Bear in mind that polishing can reveal flaws as well as fix them. I'm familiar with that passage from the Connoissuers Guide, and I think it's important to place any ware in context – who made the blade, when, what has it been through, historical significance, overall health, etc.
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#10 Guido Schiller

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Posted 05 March 2017 - 05:37 AM

Henry, I know that some people obsess over the tiniest flaw (I’m basically among them, btw), and are not happy anymore until they get rid of the piece. However, those minor “splits” in the mune are really neglectable, especially in older swords, as was previously mentioned. I also don’t think the NBTHK overlooked it, it simply didn’t bother them.

 

You might remember a Bizen Masamitsu of mine that you examined during one of our Tokyo NMB meetings about 8 or so years ago. It has a tiny opening/split in the mune, and yet received jūyō papers. If it doesn’t give sleepless nights to someone as anal as me, you shouldn’t worry either :glee:


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#11 John A Stuart

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Posted 05 March 2017 - 05:56 AM

My Mihara katana has these showing at places in the bohi. Totally unimportant in the structure of the sword, but, drive me bonkers. I just can't get my eyes to stop straying towards them, even though the sword itself otherwise is flawless. John



#12 Curran

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Posted 05 March 2017 - 05:58 AM

Muneware are common enough at Juyo and Tokubetsu Juyo level, at least among Koto swords.

One of the most mind melting perfect swords I have ever studied had 4 very small ones along the mune.


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#13 Henry Wilson

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Posted 05 March 2017 - 09:43 AM

Thank you all for the discussion. You have put my mind at ease.

The sword in question is koto from the late Muromachi.

Yes, I remember that sword well Guido. Nice it went juyo.

To sum up, muneware aren't so bad, especially on a koto sword.
Henry Wilson

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