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How to best judge the color of jigane?


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#1 16k

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Posted 19 November 2019 - 07:27 PM

Hey folks,

It’s a Kantei point I still very often struggle with. Judging whether the jigane is dark or whitish is often a head scratcher for me, so, what do you do it? What source of lighting do you use? What are your comparison points other than your swords at hand, if you have any?

Please enlighten so I don’t remain in the... dark! :)
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#2 raymondsinger

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Posted 19 November 2019 - 07:41 PM

Something that Jim Kurrasch used to suggest to help with this evaluation is to compare the reflection of the room's surroundings in a small mirror alongside the reflection of the room in the ji of the blade. The mirror should theoretically not contribute much color to the reflected image, whereas the attributes of the jigane will influence the reflection in the ji, skewing it darker, giving it a blueish cast, etc. I think I've become better at evaluating color of the jigane since then, but I remember that simple test helping when trying to see the color and clarity of the material.


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#3 16k

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Posted 19 November 2019 - 07:47 PM

Thank you Ray.

I think that some twenty years ago, I printed all of Jim’s articles on paper and bound them for better reference. I don’t remember that tip. I’ll have to unearth his tips, so useful. I probably missed it at the time since that was too hard to understand as a total beginner! :)
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#4 Rivkin

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Posted 19 November 2019 - 08:31 PM

Very personal and erroneous - black jigane (uda, houju, hoki etc.) is the only color which significantly stands out, and it also tends to be non-uniform so some part of a sword is darker, and the contrast is quite visible in the areas with ji nie against the blackish background. Bluish and greyish tint is much harder to catch, and in photography it will likely be dominated by color balance... And it almost never definitively sways kantei.

Kirill R.,
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#5 16k

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Posted 19 November 2019 - 09:34 PM

Yes, it is very hard. I often pull out my swords and put them side by side. I see differences in steel, but I’m at a loss when it comes to describe jigane. Darker or lighter is maybe the easier thing I make out but in comparison to what? As for color, well, let’s say it’s far above my knowledge.

One of my sword is said to have a bluish jigane. Well, yes, it does in the pictures, but in hand? I’d be hard pressed to state a color. Next time, I’ll try Ray’s tip! :)
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#6 paulb

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Posted 19 November 2019 - 10:46 PM

I think colour in steel is the hardest single characteristic to define. I get very frustrated when kantei explanations talk about the darkness of the steel being a key feature because I find it incredibly difficult to see. Normally the only way I can do it is in comparison with somehting else, i.e. if I have a northen province blade i know to be described as dark steel and put another blade next to it I can try and see the difference.

There have only been two swords where I have actually seen a colour on a blade in isolation. The first was an Awataguchi blade by Hisakuni which I saw years ago at Chrisites,it was a stunning ice like blackish blue which was beautiful beyond decription. The second was a Northern province sword by Sadatsuna which looked decidely grey and blackish. Other than that it has all been by comparison.


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#7 16k

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Posted 19 November 2019 - 10:53 PM

Frustrating, isn’t it?

How many times have I had this feeling when reading a Kantei description, like Mino being whitish and yeah! Got it! Mino = whitish! Then you look at one, then at another sword not Mino and feel like:” okay! If they say so! “ :lol!
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#8 Ken-Hawaii

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Posted 19 November 2019 - 11:04 PM

Okay, from the Wayback Machine, here is Jim Kurrasch's old Web-site: http://web.archive.o...kai/jpnzswd.htm

 

Haven't found the jigane color article yet, but I'll bet some other eyes will spot it.


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#9 raymondsinger

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Posted 19 November 2019 - 11:51 PM

It was verbalized in one of the earlier discussion groups ( I believe Robert Cole's old listserv group) however you can find at least one reference in the archive that Ken linked above.

 

http://web.archive.o...-kai/buying.htm

 

"When evaluating the color of the steel, the color of the source light is very important. Use a mirror to find out what a perfect steel would look like. And next time you see a "blue sky" take a really good look at it. Just what color is it. That is "bluer" than the finest Japanese steels, and it is a good light source for looking at your blades. How much blue of the sky is reflected from your blade. Do this test when pointing the blade towards a patch of blue sky, and not the sun."


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#10 16k

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Posted 19 November 2019 - 11:56 PM

I remember that article. I have it printed in my Jim Kurrasch collection. This guy was a goldmine of tips and knowledge. I never met him or talked to him, yet, when Amazon was but a dream and the first source I’d read was Yumoto’s book, Jim’s article and Richard Stein’s websites were my virtual mentors!
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#11 paulb

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Posted 20 November 2019 - 12:07 AM

so say us all JP :)


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#12 16k

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Posted 20 November 2019 - 08:02 AM

Another question springs to mind, probably a stupid since “jigane” implies, well “ji”, but when judging color, will you also take the mune into consideration? It’s mirror-like surface should certainly help in determining color or, on the contrary, is it misleading?
Jean-Pierre CESCA, but everybody calls me JP




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