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Nihonto - Muromachi Katana?


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#1 Mister Gunto

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Posted 08 November 2018 - 11:46 PM

Hi Guys,

 

I've been lurking far too long here, so time to start posting something hopefully worthwhile. So here are some photos of what was sold to me as a Mumei Muromachi era katana. Came to me in a Shirasaya mount with the original Koshirae included. (Apologies in advance for any terminology screw-ups or misspellings. I'm still learning.)

 

The blade's been polished a few times, I'm guessing it's Suriage by now, perhaps O-suriage? About 65.3 cm in length now. Three holes in the tang. The blade still seems quite nice to me, although the kissai seems a bit narrow, and perhaps was re-made during one of the polishings? 

 

There's some ware in it, but nothing that (to me) seems extreme. No cracks in the blade. The hamon doesn't run off the edge anywhere that I can see.

 

No signature, or perhaps it was lost when the blade was shortened? 

 

Obviosuly this isn't a premium piece, but for my budget, I'm really happy with it. Plus it's my first Muromachi (I hope), I've been wanting to get a sword from that era for some time now. 

 

I'm not sure if the kanji written on the shirasaya contains any useful information? I'm unable to read it. Any assitance would be greatyly appreciated. 

 

 

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Bradley S. 


#2 Mister Gunto

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Posted 08 November 2018 - 11:50 PM

More photos:

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Bradley S. 


#3 Mister Gunto

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Posted 08 November 2018 - 11:52 PM

The Shirasaya

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#4 Mister Gunto

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Posted 08 November 2018 - 11:58 PM

Some shots of the koshirae. Looks old to me. And the saya has a odd little upturn at the end that I haven't seen before.

I do like the colors. Random red on black splatters.

The Tsuba looks old. It's unsigned and unmarked. The plugs in the two little holes are made of wood. I found out when I washed the oil and gunk off it, and it actually gave me a splinter.
The Kami spirits are alive in this one.

The Menugi is a Dragon swimming (or flying in the clouds) past what I assume is Mt. Fuji. One of them has the tip of the Dragon's tail broken off, so I could remove it from the damaged wrapping.

Handle is in bad shape. But it still holds together.

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Bradley S. 


#5 raymondsinger

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Posted 09 November 2018 - 12:05 AM

The sayagaki is unusual. Seems there is a character (kanji) missing. Yamato (no) kuni ju Fujiwara Hisa___ saku.

 

大和國住藤原久__作



#6 Mister Gunto

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Posted 09 November 2018 - 12:14 AM

Ray, would that be the name of the man who polished it? I'm not familiar with what is normally written on Shirasaya.

Bradley S. 


#7 Grey Doffin

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Posted 09 November 2018 - 12:37 AM

Hi Bradley,

Saya- gaki are attributions, either confirming a signature or attributing an unsigned sword.  They can be done by anyone but ideally by an authority.  Ray is correct in that a character seems to be missing, but something is off about the whole saya-gaki.  It shouldn't be partially faded and it looks like it was applied with a blunt brush; not what I'd expect.

Grey


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#8 Mister Gunto

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Posted 09 November 2018 - 01:55 AM

Thanks Grey. The blade is polished, but has a few small scuffs about halfway down on one side. I'd assumed it just hadn't been handled very carefully by previous owners, and the saya-gaki had gotten rubbed by repeated handling.

It came without papers from a dealer in Japan (just got a photocopy of the registration card).

Regardless of who made it, I'm curious if the blade appears to actually be from the Muromachi period or not?

Bradley S. 


#9 raymondsinger

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Posted 09 November 2018 - 03:37 AM

The extreme amount of corrosion in the nakago may have been chemically induced. The photos are not clear and make it difficult to evaluate. It may be a Muromachi period blade (the sugata feels right for a somewhat tired koto blade), however it is also possible that the nakago has been artificially corroded at some point to give the appearance of age.



#10 Katsujinken

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Posted 09 November 2018 - 03:50 AM

The extreme amount of corrosion in the nakago may have been chemically induced. The photos are not clear and make it difficult to evaluate. It may be a Muromachi period blade (the sugata feels right for a somewhat tired koto blade), however it is also possible that the nakago has been artificially corroded at some point to give the appearance of age.


I don’t know a tenth of what Ray knows, but this was my instinct as well.
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#11 Mister Gunto

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Posted 09 November 2018 - 04:36 AM

I'll try to get some better pics of the blade.

Bradley S. 


#12 Peter Bleed

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Posted 09 November 2018 - 04:40 AM

Please show us the registration card. That should/may have some useful information.

Is there a habaki?

Peter


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#13 Mister Gunto

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Posted 09 November 2018 - 05:27 AM

Hi Peter,

Here's a pic of the card and the copper Habaki.

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Bradley S. 


#14 Ken-Hawaii

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Posted 09 November 2018 - 07:22 AM

It might be the photography (or my eyes), but I don't see any sign of a machi indent, which is likely why the habaki is sort of hanging there on the blade. Is the habaki really loose, Bradley?

 

The sugata is ambiguous, but the continuation of the hamon into the boshi indicates Koto, & at least one of the ana looks chiseled, rather than drilled (can't tell about the other two). But I'm not sure that this blade is legit - it just doesn't feel right.

 

Hope you're not affected by the fire.


Ken Goldstein

 

Anyone can be tough for a season,

but it takes a special kind of human to rise to life's challenges for a lifetime.


#15 Mister Gunto

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Posted 09 November 2018 - 08:19 AM

Ken, the Habaki is slightly loose, unless I press it up against the blade. It seems pretty old, and shows a lot of wear, so that may be part of it.

I'll take some photos tomorrow out in the sunlight and see if that helps.

The fires are pretty much done, but for a while, there was a lot of smoke in the air. Luckily none of them were close to where I live.

Bradley S. 


#16 Mister Gunto

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Posted 09 November 2018 - 11:39 PM

Some more photos. Taking them outside seems to help a lot.

I'm thinking the tang was cleaned at some point. It reminds me of some old bayonets I've seen that have had chemical rust removers applied.

The lowest hole seems punched, it's larger and irregular. While the other two look more uniform, like they were drilled.

The camera makes the ware on the blade really jump out. When viewed in person, only the large L shaped one near the tip really stands out to the eye.

On the plus side, the blade is really well balanced and feels good in the hand. Neither too heavy nor too light.

Again, obviously it's not some lost masterpiece blade. But I do like it a lot!

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Bradley S. 


#17 Mister Gunto

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Posted 09 November 2018 - 11:41 PM

Some pics of the opposite side.

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Bradley S. 





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