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Kofun Period Swords


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#1 Henry Wilson

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Posted 15 November 2017 - 06:01 AM

Yesterday  was Saitama Day meaning that I had the day off.  I decided to take advantage of the fact that everyone else in the Tokyo region would be at work so I headed to Shibuya and the "Origin of Shinto" exhibition at the Kokugakuin University museum. 

 

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http://museum.kokuga...dai_saishi.html

 

On display as part of kofun grave goods was a large kofun period sword that had been polished.  What was revealed was a very nice hamon that to my tired and weary old eyes looked not dissimilar to early Bizen or Sosho work.  (Kochoji in midare, I think).  I wonder, does anyone have any other examples of very early swords with hamons?  


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#2 Dave R

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Posted 15 November 2017 - 10:33 AM

 Like this? A Warabite forged probably by the Emeshi pre -Heian. Some discussion here. http://www.militaria...07-warabite-to/

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Dave


#3 Henry Wilson

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Posted 15 November 2017 - 01:27 PM

Nice. Thank you Dave.
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#4 ROKUJURO

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Posted 15 November 2017 - 05:10 PM

Henry,

it seems they had similar heat treatments in the same period in Europe, but even long before in Celtic times.

Look for the research results of Stefan Mäder. (http://www.schwertbr...pdf/staehle.pdf)


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Regards,

Jean C.

#5 raymondsinger

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Posted 15 November 2017 - 05:15 PM

https://books.google...epage&q&f=false

 

Start from item #53 on page 126.


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#6 Marius

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Posted 15 November 2017 - 06:11 PM

Thanks, Henry, a friend is in Tokyo now, I have sent this to him :)  :thumbsup:


Best regards

Marius
(a supercilious nincompoop using regurgitated rhetoric to offer absolutely nothing insightful)

#7 nagamaki - Franco

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Posted 15 November 2017 - 07:12 PM

Hello Henry,

 

 

If you can find one this title of a Sano Museum special exhibition catalog may be of interest to you,  An Early Style of A Japanese Sword: A Search for The Origin of Curve.


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_________
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#8 Carlo Giuseppe Tacchini

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Posted 15 November 2017 - 08:00 PM

 

On display as part of kofun grave goods was a large kofun period sword that had been polished.  What was revealed was a very nice hamon that to my tired and weary old eyes looked not dissimilar to early Bizen or Sosho work.  (Kochoji in midare, I think).  I wonder, does anyone have any other examples of very early swords with hamons?  

Recommended reading ; Suenaga Masao "Nihon Jodai no Buki", Masakuni Ishii "Warabite-To", Honma Junji "Shoso-In no Token". You might also like my essay (http://www.webalice....ZZZZZ_ESSAY.htm).

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#9 Peter Bleed

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Posted 15 November 2017 - 11:36 PM

Please allow me to add a "local note" to this discussion of Kofun era blades. It involves a sword that has a bit of history - and some hard feelings - that happens to have ended up in my collection. I bought it some years ago at Tampa where it was being sold by a well known collector for the fellow who had bought it from

a GI who got it in Japan.

Here's the sword

[attachment]

The fellow who acquired the sword did enough research to decide that it was a "warabiteto". He showed it to a serious dealer who agreed that it looked old and potentially valuable. The owner had the blade polished by a state-side polisher and proudly reported this fact to the dealer. The dealer suggested that the owner was despolier of an important cultural icon and that it was now worthless. Further harsh words and emotions may have been involved.  

Still convinced that he had a good object, the owner sent it to the NBTHK for assessment. After waiting a year he wrote a letter inquiring about it. In response he got a card saying that the blade was outside the expertise of staff in Yoyogi but that it would be brought to Nara for assessment by an archaeologist. After another year, the owner made  another inquiry. At that point it was returned with another card suggesting that the sword was a Meiji-era weapon.

It was at that point that the blade showed up at Tampa waiting for me to walk by. I had seen some warabiteto in Tohoku. The distinctive feature of those swords is an integral hilt shaped like an unfolding fern. This blade has a spikey nakago with a single mekugi-and a jiri that looks like it may have been peened on to a pommel. That design is what the folks at Yoyogi saw as evidence that had been put into some manner of gunto koshirae. After I bought it, a well-known  Japanese dealer made a play for it, but I hung on to it like a new toy.

This is not a warabiteto, but it looks very old. The rust on the nakago is ancient. I never saw the unpolished blade but there seems to have been some serious pitting. Still, it is healthy. The hada is truly coarse but the shape – a sort of long kissaki moroha hira-zukuri – is well formed. And there is a well controlled flowing suguha hamon.

This sword sure looks like the sort of weapons that were being produced before the Heian era, but there is little more that I can say

Peter

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#10 Henry Wilson

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 01:57 AM

Many thanks to everyone.  Lots of reading to do. 

 

Regarding the report by Stefan Mäder posted by Jean C., the diagrams on p. 91, 93, 96 and 98 are excellent as to me they effectively illustrate the subtle details of sword aesthetics. 

 

Marius, it is a very interesting special exhibition that (among other things) displays lots of very old mirrors. There is also a permanent  display on Japanese archeology (focusing on the Jomon period) and Shintoism (the rise of faith in Japan) and its connection to Buddhism.  What I particularly like is that the museum has gone to great lengths to print nearly all the explanations in pamphlets.  Also, it is free!


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#11 raymondsinger

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 05:11 AM

Chapter 1 of the Nihonto Zenshu volume 2 is dedicated to early examples.

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