Jump to content


Photo

Echizen No Kami Sukehiro Mei Question


  • Please log in to reply
27 replies to this topic

#1 Surfson

Surfson

    Jo Jo Saku

  • Members
  • 922 posts

Posted 02 August 2017 - 02:15 PM

I'm looking at a Sukehiro that may be available and scratching my head about the mei.  It is one of the earlier "kakumei" pieces.  I have made a composite of the mei examples that I have found most similar to it, including a papered example that I own.  When I just look at the mei, it looks very good to me, but I am getting a little hung up on the openness of the Suke character, and I am a little uncertain about the file marks on the test example.  I also find the tang to be disturbingly new, but have seen older sword with very little sabi.  I would love to get some input from the NMB about this piece.  Cheers, Bob

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • Screen Shot 2017-08-02 at 7.12.41 AM.png

Robert S.

#2 J Reid

J Reid

    Jo Jo Saku

  • Members
  • 549 posts
  • LocationVancouver, Canada

Posted 02 August 2017 - 06:44 PM

The mei looks suspect in my opinion. There are many differences in the strokes between the test compared to the rest. It looks rather fresh too. But what does the blade tell you? Is the workmanship in line with the smith?
Josh Reid

#3 seattle1

seattle1

    Jo Jo Saku

  • Members
  • 662 posts

Posted 02 August 2017 - 11:25 PM

Hello:

 A dangerous quagmire to step into, but to me the yasurime in comparison with yours does look slightly off, but too far off I don't know. In general the angle comparison is supposed to be important . Moreover the entire mei looks crowded vertically in terms of kanji nearness. I am sure some watchers here who can actually write kanji with native skill will have a better idea.

 Arnold F.


  • Darcy likes this

#4 Surfson

Surfson

    Jo Jo Saku

  • Members
  • 922 posts

Posted 03 August 2017 - 12:21 AM

Thanks Josh and Arnold.  It is a quagmire Arnold, and my cautious approach to this blade may have already precluded my obtaining it.  I do find the file marks to be slightly less steep and the steel to appear a bit fresh.  There are a number of small elements in the mei that seem different, but his work varied tremendously over time.  Sadly, this is the only photo I was provided, so I can't even tell you if it is in toranba or suguha!  Cheers, Bob


Robert S.

#5 SteveM

SteveM

    Jo Jo Saku

  • Members
  • 840 posts
  • LocationTokyo, Japan

Posted 03 August 2017 - 12:31 AM

The "suke" looks fine to me. The mei overall looks OK to me. But if you have no pictures of the sword itself, its a bit of a non-starter. 


Steve M

#6 Surfson

Surfson

    Jo Jo Saku

  • Members
  • 922 posts

Posted 03 August 2017 - 04:41 AM

I agree Steve,  I have found other examples where the Suke has parallel walls like that one.  Unfortunately, the seller has been singularly uncommunicative.  Ce la vie. 


Robert S.

#7 PNSSHOGUN

PNSSHOGUN

    Jo Jo Saku

  • Members
  • 444 posts
  • LocationAustralia

Posted 03 August 2017 - 12:01 PM

That's a tricky one there. Enough differences to raise the eyebrows. If it's at a "good price" my eyebrows would be firmly skyward.

John


#8 Surfson

Surfson

    Jo Jo Saku

  • Members
  • 922 posts

Posted 03 August 2017 - 01:36 PM

That about sums up where I am on it John.  I have paid up for a sword or two in the past only to have what looked like a great signature come back as gimei.  This is a full contact sport sometimes.  How much would you pay without getting too nervous?!  Cheers, Bob


Robert S.

#9 Darcy

Darcy

    Sai Jo Saku

  • Members
  • 1,429 posts

Posted 04 August 2017 - 03:56 AM

For Sukehiro always show the full nakago, if you have the full thing available. The finishing all the way to the top is part of making a decision on them.

 

Anyway, gimei. Upper left of the top stroke, Sukehiro crossed those two through on the three examples to the right, on the left he made 3 strokes. There's an overstruck chisel stroke upper right of the Zen. Looks like it missed and he placed a second stroke on top of it. 

 

Top stroke of the Hiro the atari have different depths and looks like Sukehiro on the others was able to make them come together seamlessly. There are little nagging issues through the whole thing. 

 

Nakago looks pretty new.

 

What's the work look like?


http://www.nihonto.ca (only way to reach me, do not PM me on this board, you will not get a response)

#10 Darcy

Darcy

    Sai Jo Saku

  • Members
  • 1,429 posts

Posted 04 August 2017 - 04:05 AM

Also Tanobe sensei says one of the tricks is that the fakers are more hesitant and slower in putting a mei down than the swordsmith. This comes out in the chisel movement. I think the candidate is so clear you can count the individual marks and there are a lot more than in the example you got from my site. 

 

That makes it look more hesitant as the faker is making small marks and going slowly, instead of the smith who is relaxed. 

 

I could be wrong of course but just going on what I see.

 

If you have the blade for examination you should get a loupe and look to see if there is crud at the bottom of the chisel marks. If it's old, there should be.

 

Check the finishing on the nakago-mune as well as its shape (domed? flat?) and the nakago-jiri as well and compare it to your example.


http://www.nihonto.ca (only way to reach me, do not PM me on this board, you will not get a response)

#11 Surfson

Surfson

    Jo Jo Saku

  • Members
  • 922 posts

Posted 04 August 2017 - 05:32 AM

Thanks a million Darcy!  I will carefully go through these points.  I found a number of small worry points in a number of characters, but one never knows if they are slight variations from one to another.  Another "sense" that I have is that the test example is cut more deeply and that more steel is piled up along the edges of each stroke and character.  Just a sense.  Cheers, Bob


Robert S.

#12 Surfson

Surfson

    Jo Jo Saku

  • Members
  • 922 posts

Posted 04 August 2017 - 05:46 AM

I have a couple of problems in this whole affair.  One is that I don't have the sword in hand and the photo I have posted is the only one that I have.  I have asked for a complete set of photos of the sword.  Note that the test example is a wakizashi and the Cole example is a wakizashi while the others are katana....

 

Another problem that I have is that I own the Sukehiro taikan (which I bought after getting lucky and finding my example (amazingly, on ebay!)).  There are so many examples in the book and if I look for the variances that I think I see (including the ones that you mentioned Darcy), I can find nearly all of them.  He worked a long time and signed a lot of ways.  In fact, the book has many stroke by stroke analyses, showing many variances.  

 

Anyway, I will keep you posted, but since you have a strong gut feeling and so do I, I doubt I will go ahead.  One of the things that also bugs me is that the file marks appear to be a little sloppy for him.  If you look at the file marks on mine and the one on your site, they are damn near perfect.  I see them as shallower and less perfectly parallel in the test case.  Cheers, Bob


Robert S.

#13 Darcy

Darcy

    Sai Jo Saku

  • Members
  • 1,429 posts

Posted 04 August 2017 - 08:48 PM

Tanobe sensei says when you examine a signature the last thing you should do is go to the references (you need to do it, just it is the final step and you should formulate an opinion first).

 

There are things I don't like about the mei because they are there, before getting to the references. There are some things I think are wrong and then some things that bug me. 

 

I could entirely be wrong in my analysis. It's hard with this mei because the blades signed TSUDA are made at a higher skill level later in his career. This early mei, generally the work is not as good as later pieces. So there are fewer references to look at as when they are published, people like to publish the TSUDA work.

 

The variations in his signature have also to be understood as progression in time, they go along with his skill increasing. In the case of looking at mei from the same period they should match for their habits.

 

Tanobe sensei also said to make a list of pros and cons about a signature. This means that it is not always open and shut but some stuff is in the grey area and then the work is going to have to be used, or yasurime, etc. The whole blade.

 

My confidence level is based on how much I think this statement affects a conclusion of gimei.

 

Maybe pop this link open in a new window so you can look at it side by side with my text.

 

http://nihonto.ca/su...ro-problems.jpg

 

1. this line is curved in the middle and if you look at the work, he actually uses a straight line here. It's not a sine wave basically but it is a straight line with two curved ends on it. Like you took a pipe and bent one end of the pipe and the other end of the pipe and you left the middle straight. I could be wrong, but this is what I think here and it is a subtle difference. Confidence level 4 out of 10.

 

2. I don't like this at all. This is two chisel marks and I don't see any examples where there is one. The one mark is rather unconfident and the other looks like it's kind of on top. I consider this a mistake until someone shows an example that is accepted that has two strokes in this part of the character. Looking at oshigata there may be extended strokes where this is two strokes but headed in the same direction, not 90 degrees like this. Confidence level 8/10

 

3. I would be happier if this curved outwards. This does happen with it being straight but the examples are rare. Confidence level 1/10. Note how the stroke ends in kind of a rounded feeling. This happens I think more often than in legit examples. 

 

4. The atari at the top was done in the wrong order. The vertical stroke punches over the horizontal stroke and it should be the other way around. This does count, it is one of the gimei "handbook" things to look for. 8/10 confidence.

 

5. The long horizontal stroke in this case is concave like a shallow bowl. If anything it should be curved with a gentle S or in the other direction, like a hill. The horizontal stroke below it is not so well organized. I think it should give the appearance of a single stroke whether or not it was made as a single stroke. See the example I put in. 5/10 confidence.

 

6. Stroke order is wrong again. This mei starts with the horizontal line on the bottom of the box, then adds the atari to it, then puts the atari on the vertical line beside that, the right side of the box, which cuts into the lower atari as a result. In the other examples there is no atari on the vertical or the lower line is pushing into the vertical, and I think the vertical was cut in first. Confidence 4/10. 

 

7. Lower right part of the SUKE rightmost radical starts too high, should be aligned with the rest of it. As well there is a hiccup in the turn. No doubt this is a hard thing to get right, to execute the smooth seamless turn that Sukehiro makes in the other examples. This part I really do not like. The top part of this line as it goes around the bend, also is not so clean and in Sukehiro's examples it gives the impression of an unbroken line, whether or not he cut it in like that. It should look like a paintbrush did it. Confidence 6/10

 

Overall each one of these things can be handwaved away, in such a case, it becomes hard to know when you are forced to stop handwaving. Who decides how much handwaving is the limit. Not me. But enough handwaving and we can come to the conclusion that the Honjo Masamune has been found 10 times already in the USA, with various excuses, maybes and buts. 

 

What we have to do, as Tanobe sensei said, is make a list of the pros and cons and weigh it out. It is certainly not slam dunk but also it is close enough to want to look more and see what the blade looks like as well as the finishing at the top of the nakago and on the mune and jiri. 

 

If I was playing roulette on it I would bet against it, but also would not be shocked if it went in and passed because some of these discrepancies you can find on individual items if you look hard enough. I think the stroke ordering are some of the bigger problems though, as it requires seeing the bottom of the strokes and this is clear in the photo taken but not clear in oshigata. So if you were copying from oshigata you wouldn't know which stroke came first out of Sukehiro's hand. There is an order you are supposed to follow normally and then there is what the smith chose to do. The question is, did he mix them up from time to time and my instinct is the answer to that is no. Whenever you get involved in making too many excuses for something then the reason is usually inevitable.

 

I want to believe

 

It would be different if I owned it, I would be looking for reasons to hope, but all of the above would prepare me for it flunking. A lot of people are never prepared for it flunking because they only want confirmation, they don't want anyone's real opinion. So when they don't get confirmation it leads them to believe there is a problem with the judge. 

 

sukehiro-problems.jpg


  • Carlo Giuseppe Tacchini likes this
http://www.nihonto.ca (only way to reach me, do not PM me on this board, you will not get a response)

#14 Darcy

Darcy

    Sai Jo Saku

  • Members
  • 1,429 posts

Posted 04 August 2017 - 08:54 PM

Looking at it again, the bottom of the HIRO box on the left, the line looks doubled somehow. Weird. 

 

EDIT looking at that part again again, just my eyes getting tricked out by the reflection on the raised steel. But there is still a point there, that the steel is being displaced to the left by the chisel. The same angle of light on the other shows that there is no raised steel. That might indicate a different angle being used on the chisel on the two examples. 

 

Tanobe sensei writes that Kajihei tended to draw his atari out too long and make them too strong. He said sometimes when he looked at Kajihei's work that he feels a sense of guilt and that he built in discrepancies so that experts would be able to tell them apart. The implication being he held back from making the fakes as good as he could make them. 


  • Carlo Giuseppe Tacchini likes this
http://www.nihonto.ca (only way to reach me, do not PM me on this board, you will not get a response)

#15 Okiiimo

Okiiimo

    Jo Saku

  • Members
  • 125 posts
  • LocationAlaska USA

Posted 04 August 2017 - 10:57 PM

Interesting nugget of theory... that is guilt driving mei discrepancies so that experts would be able to tell them apart. Further extending this line of thinking, I wonder if the smith left such clues so that the blade could someday be identified as their own work.


Allan N
Alaska USA


#16 Surfson

Surfson

    Jo Jo Saku

  • Members
  • 922 posts

Posted 05 August 2017 - 12:00 AM

Wow Darcy, that is an impressive analysis.  I had seen many of those issues that you raise but not all of them.  There were a couple others that I noticed and worried about that you didn't mention.  Aside from the mei and the file markes, another strange thing for me was the way the nakago ana is cut.  If you look at all the other examples I put in the original figure, the hole is perfectly round.  On this one it is not.  

 

As it turns out, the guy has had a very strong offer, one that I consider to be based on a true belief that it is shoshin.  The most I was going to be able to offer was leaning closer to gimei than shoshin, so I am out.  This was a great learning piece!  Cheers, Bob


  • Vermithrax16 likes this
Robert S.

#17 Darcy

Darcy

    Sai Jo Saku

  • Members
  • 1,429 posts

Posted 05 August 2017 - 02:25 AM

Weird shape of the mekugiana can always be a retrofit to an existing koshirae which almost matches. If you displace the hole in the tsuka the sword will move a bit as a result. However you can displace the hole lower (but not higher!) and still retain a tight fit. The hole moving south limits the sword moving north. The southward movement of the sword of course is resisted by the habaki. So you could make a long oval hole and it would still work provided the mekugiana was still round in the tsuka. 

 

If you tried to enlarge the tsuka hole to fit the sword you would have to move the tsuka hole north to match a fix that would have the hole in the nakago move south. If you move the hole in the tsuka north, this would allow the sword to slip as mentioned.

 

So that kind of overpunch doesn't bug me too much, it can happen. 

 

It could still turn out OK just that the various negatives coming up would affect the amount I'd be offering. If it ends up being no good you have a worthless sword, unlike a koto piece. If it turns out good for him then congrats on the boldness.


http://www.nihonto.ca (only way to reach me, do not PM me on this board, you will not get a response)

#18 Jacques D.

Jacques D.

    Sai Jo Saku

  • Members
  • 2,392 posts

Posted 05 August 2017 - 01:42 PM

No comment 

 

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • IMG_1502.JPG


#19 Surfson

Surfson

    Jo Jo Saku

  • Members
  • 922 posts

Posted 05 August 2017 - 02:13 PM

Darcy, I have never thought to look at the precise order that the "atari" (are these the individual strikes of the chisel, as opposed to the progressive strokes?) are made.  This was a good learning point for me from this exercise.  As you say, one's reference material have to be good enough to see the nature of the overlap on the shoshin pieces.  Cheers, Bob


Robert S.

#20 Surfson

Surfson

    Jo Jo Saku

  • Members
  • 922 posts

Posted 05 August 2017 - 02:17 PM

Jacques, it looks like all of the examples on the pages of the taikan you put up have the top horizontal line of the Hiro as being convex, not concave like the test case.  The extra atari above the Zen character is there in one or two of the examples you posted though.  Cheers, Bob


Robert S.

#21 Prewar70

Prewar70

    Jo Jo Saku

  • Members
  • 264 posts
  • LocationMinnesota, USA

Posted 08 August 2017 - 05:21 AM

Take a look at the new Sukehiro on aoi. Mei is very different if this is the same generation.

James Friedrichs


#22 Surfson

Surfson

    Jo Jo Saku

  • Members
  • 922 posts

Posted 09 August 2017 - 01:03 AM

Same guy (2nd generation).  His mei changed so much over the years, making the whole question more difficult.  The examples I collected were all from a relatively short period early on in his career.  That one on Aoi is nice 77cm.  Cheers, Bob


Robert S.

#23 seattle1

seattle1

    Jo Jo Saku

  • Members
  • 662 posts

Posted 09 August 2017 - 04:59 PM

Hello:

 I still hope that a native writer of kanji will chime in on this discussion as interesting as it is. It still looks to me like a cramped mei  and from that flows complications for the writer in the execution of the kanji at hand. Note for example the right hand member of "Suke" and how the cramping widens the spacing and shortens the associated strokes. That stands in contrast to other examples and is probably not normal variation.

 Arnold F.



#24 Darcy

Darcy

    Sai Jo Saku

  • Members
  • 1,429 posts

Posted 11 August 2017 - 09:54 AM

Just when comparing, remember to compare style to style as the various changes come over time. If you use a late mei to compare against an early mei you don't get good results.

 

I checked all the Juyo and that extra atari is in none of them where he retained block writing in the mei. (So with Tsuda and without Tsuda). 

 

There is one that looks like maybe a downstroke is added but not sure. 

 

So, that's 95 examples. No match to that unless you add in the grass script items which have large amounts of varieties. And those are not grass script. 

 

If those were good mei I would expect them to turn up at some point during the last 60 years. If they haven't, one has to ask if the examples are legit or if it's just luck.

 

I looked at the Tokuju (which are all Juyo at some point) and the Jubi as well and nothing. As you get into the higher ranking blades the grass script mei prevail. 

 

...

 

Aoi's example has a KAMI that doesn't match anything in the Juyo or the four examples at the top or the ones Jacques posted. Just went through them all again looking at KAMI. 

 

So, weird. 

 

Tokubetsu Hozon papers have the meireki mei as an annotation. 


http://www.nihonto.ca (only way to reach me, do not PM me on this board, you will not get a response)

#25 Darcy

Darcy

    Sai Jo Saku

  • Members
  • 1,429 posts

Posted 11 August 2017 - 09:55 AM

Also just noticed in the side by side I put of the target blade and one of the papered Sukehiro that the yasurime are steeper on the papered one. I don't know if he varied them over time though.


http://www.nihonto.ca (only way to reach me, do not PM me on this board, you will not get a response)

#26 Surfson

Surfson

    Jo Jo Saku

  • Members
  • 922 posts

Posted 11 August 2017 - 02:13 PM

I agree Darcy, and I mentioned this above as one of the issues that bothered me.  In addition to being more shallow, I also found the file marks to be less perfectly parallel with each other than the shoshin examples.   I think that whoever bought this blade will be deeply disappointed when trying to get it papered.  I have to admit to being amazed at how good the signature is though.  My first inclination was that it was good, until starting to stare at the details.  Is this the sort of blade that Naomitsu, known as Kajihei, might have been involved?  I have never run across examples of his forgeries, but suspect that you know a lot about him and his work (and especially if there are kantei points to pick out Kajihei work).  Markus has a blog entry about him that is interesting but doesn't focus on identifying his work.

https://markussesko....-kajihei-blade/

Anything you can tell us would be appreciated.  Cheers, Bob


Robert S.

#27 BIG

BIG

    Jo Jo Saku

  • Members
  • 915 posts

Posted 11 August 2017 - 04:29 PM

Hi Bob, here is an token-uk article about a gimei blade. Thoughts about Kajihei signature ( Kanji Echi Zen) and fine references.

http://to-ken.uk/one... - Final V1.pdf

Best Regards
Peter Reusch

Dai ichi - dai man - dai kichi

#28 Surfson

Surfson

    Jo Jo Saku

  • Members
  • 922 posts

Posted 12 August 2017 - 12:36 AM

Thanks Peter!  Cheers, Bob


Robert S.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users

IPB Skin By Virteq