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An exercise for a wet and stormy day


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#1 paulb

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Posted 09 February 2020 - 02:35 PM

I just posted this on the Token of GB Facebook page and thought it might be of interest here as a small exercise. We often trip over describing different forms of hada and the more variations we look at the easier (hoepfully) it should become.

We have done this before but on a day that is not much good for anything else I thought you might want to exercise your grey matter with a small recognition exercise. The attached images are from 4 different swords all I believe to be fairly representative of their schools. Rather than trying to jump straight in to attributing these to a school, which without a lot more information would be a lot of guess work, See how you would describe the hada you are seeing.

1.JPG 1a.JPG 2.JPG 3.JPG 3a.JPG 4.JPG

 

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#2 Brian

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Posted 09 February 2020 - 05:47 PM

1 - Nashiji?
3 - Flowing masame
4 - Konuka

Just a wild guess as a I pass by fleetingly...likely all wrong :laughing:


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#3 Rivkin

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Posted 09 February 2020 - 09:48 PM

All are really good swords and require some thinking. In my opinion, #3 is clearly 1400-1500, Bizen or Mihara. And seems I remember discussion of a certain Bizen sword I suspect that's what it is. In any case this is a typical Muromachi hada.

Besides I think I see Rai, Awataguchi and Enju here  :)  :). Just need to make sure I get the numbers right. #2 is a tad dark...

 

Kirill R.



#4 Rivkin

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Posted 09 February 2020 - 10:05 PM

#1 Rai

#2 Enju

#4 Awataguchi.

 

And I am sure #2 is really Rai and #1 is Enju and I will look really stupid :) . But I got to call them how I see them. I have some doubts in #1 Rai, but if not its some really close and high end school.

And yes, I will blame the photographs because I am probably completely off base here :) .

But thanks a lot, there are really good blades.

 

Kirill R.



#5 paulb

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Posted 09 February 2020 - 10:31 PM

Hi Kirill

you must have read my mind 2 is too dark so I have added some more below:

You are not far off in your guesses but my idea was less about trying to identify the school (as said you are pretty close) but more about deifning the hada you are seeing.

DSC_0024.JPG DSC_0025.JPG DSC_0027.JPG DSC_0028.JPG



#6 Rivkin

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Posted 10 February 2020 - 02:04 AM

Well in this case I can pontificate, as doing do on wrong attribution would look silly. 

I try not to use Japanese terminology too much, as these names can mean myriad of things and can be misleading.

#1 is my favorite sword out of the group by a long shot. The hada probably looks like firy silk in good light. Very confident, very thorough forging. The kind of Rai, ko Bizen or Aoe I admire exceptionally. Probably late Kamakura.

#2 I think is Nambokucho. Its rougher, a tad more provincial, there is this hint of Yamato influence in part of hamon, the hada is darker and broader.

#3 Muromachi classic - hada composed of very long, broadly spaced, thin lines of nie, with mokume in the middle and tending towards masame in places. Probably in this form first originated with Oei Bizen, but seen in works of every single school now and then.

#4 I think is a very highly rated smith. Awataguchi school has this habit that towards the ha the jigane becomes broader, darker (utsuri?) and more masame-aligned. 

 

So the question is, how much for #1? 

 

Kirill R.


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#7 paulb

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Posted 10 February 2020 - 11:13 AM

Hi Kirill,

Thank you for having a go. I am experimenting all the time trying to capture the fine detail within jigane and looking at supposedly typical examples of a given schools work. The truth is that unless it is something bold and striking as in the 3rd sword it is very difficult to judge and images can be very misleading. The one thing I often fail to take in to account is scale. The images are often greatly maginified and this can dramatically effect perception. I have listed the answers below:

Sword 1. Very fine ko-itame interspersed with a great deal of minute ko-nie and chickei. This is classic Nashiji hada of the Awataguchi School. The blade is one of only 7 daito attributed to Awataguchi Norikuni.

aw2.jpg

 

Sword 2. A combination of ko-itame and mokume interspersed with jifu and ko-nie (jifu cant be clearly seen in images and is very faint blade in hand). This is Chirimen hada of the Aoe School. The blade is attributed to the Chu Aoe of the late Kamakura

aoe1.jpg

Sword 3. You were spot on. This is a combination of itame, nagare and mokume which is very clear and strong. It is classic hada of Oei Bizen. This is the Oei Yasumitsu discussed in recent threads. I believe itis the work of the Shodai which would place it in the late Nambokucho.

DSC_0009.JPG

 

Sword4: For a long time this was believed to be Rai, probably Rai kunimitsu. Most recently it was papered to Enju. The hada is very tight ko-itame with a great deal of ji-nie. It compares very favourably with many  Rai blades I have seen. The distinguishing features that lead to Enju are the O-maru boshi and the fact there is no nie utsuri which one might expect with a Rai Kunimitsu.

Enju th wak.3.jpg


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#8 Rivkin

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Posted 10 February 2020 - 11:42 AM

Fantastic blade, except I was way off base,

 

Kirill R.



#9 Rivkin

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Posted 10 February 2020 - 12:13 PM

Let me throw in the stuff I really like.

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#10 paulb

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Posted 10 February 2020 - 12:37 PM

I like that a lot

very tight hada and very bright nioiguchi. I am tempted to go for one of the top three

Shintogo Kunimitsu

Awatagushi Yoshimitsu (would expect to see more larger itame together with the tight ko-itame)

or Yukimitsu

I really like the shape. The kick in the nakago adds an incredible extra somethingto the overall appearance

A good looking  piece.

thanks for sharing



#11 Rivkin

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Posted 10 February 2020 - 12:58 PM

You put me to much shame because you are Extremely close. Let me put the uncompressed picture here. Extremely tight itame - but mixed with masame. Actually what really moved me is how straight and bright is nioiguchi yet masame enters it at quite an angle..

Another kantei note - kasane is Thick.

 

Kirill R.

 

tant.jpg


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#12 paulb

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Posted 10 February 2020 - 01:38 PM

Wow,

Now I am on the back foot. All the masame becomes so much clearer on the uncompressed image. 

I need to look more carefully and take more time, but at the moment this has a Hosho look to it with the prominent masame. Not sure about the thickness though

Thanks it has got my mind ticking and will make me look at references harder (which is one of the main benefits of dong this type of exercise!)



#13 Gakusee

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Posted 10 February 2020 - 01:48 PM

Well tight hada with konie and Yamato characteristics could potentially be Taema too. Sometimes gets confused with quieter Soshu
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#14 Rivkin

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Posted 10 February 2020 - 02:04 PM

I have to honestly admit it is a very difficult tanto that had many attributions throughout his life. The uncertainty and shennanigans (for example, the photographs from the last seller shot the blade at an angle yet with mune/kasane darkened so it can't be seen at all) at some point even forced it to be essentially tossed aside.

But the latest attribution is both interesting and very much believable.

I am humbled by so far the guesses going into its direction. 

 

Here are some fittings to accompany. It came not with shirasaya, but kurasaya.

 

t1.jpgt2.jpgt3.jpgt4.jpg



#15 paulb

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Posted 10 February 2020 - 02:16 PM

I think Michael has a very good point.

Based on the "If your first vote is Yukimitsu and is wrong go for Taima" I think that would be a very credible alternative.

I am avoiding mentioning Norishige, it just looks too quiet for him


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#16 CSM101

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Posted 10 February 2020 - 02:17 PM

I would exclude Hosho and go for Taema. With Hosho hada and hamon run parallel. 

 

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#17 CSM101

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Posted 10 February 2020 - 02:24 PM

Just to show what I mean.

Uwe G.

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#18 Rivkin

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Posted 10 February 2020 - 08:39 PM

Thick kasane, mixture of masame and ko itame hada was interpreted as attribution to the "infamous" shodai Tosa Yoshimitsu.

The alternative was Hosho, but then thick kasane was creating big issues. It either had to point to some weird, probably Muromachi generation, or (as was this tanto interpreted in good old times) something legendary like Hosho Sadamune.

 

Kirill R.



#19 paulb

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Posted 10 February 2020 - 08:45 PM

I must admit he is a smith that falls well below my radar. If this is an example of his workmanship he shouldn't. I must spend some time looking at him.

I would be interested as to why the combination you mention points specifically towards him when it would seem to fit many of the others suggested here. There must be something that pushes the attribution that way beyond what is being described. Time to get to the books again!



#20 Rivkin

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 08:19 AM

Its kind of striking how thick it is in hands (leftmost) compared to almost any other tanto.

I saw quite a few Tosa tanto, starting with nidai - they were not impressive. Never saw anything attributed to shodai before, but supposedly he was quite good, though obviously one would typically hope for the other Awataguchi Yoshimitsu. But the extreme kasane is something quite hard to ignore I guess, as are Yamato features.

 

Kirill R.

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#21 Gakusee

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 09:59 AM

A very good one Rivkin. Thanks for sharing with us. Interesting features.
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#22 Rivkin

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 01:35 PM

Well, I am both a dumpster diver and like the items that are challenging.

Since we seem to be on suguha train today, here is a very rare beast. Ubu, signed.

As very arrogantly it sounds, I am confident the bets will not even get close to the name or even the school (I guess a lesson in humility is coming). Out of polish being a dumpster find. The blackish area close to the ha is utsuri.

 

kat1.jpgkat2.jpg

kat3.jpg



#23 Brian

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 01:39 PM

Naminohira?


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#24 paulb

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 02:40 PM

Kirill,

I dont know what this is but am very curious as to what I am seeing on the mune. The almsost snakeskin look of thesteel is it ara-nie or something else going on?



#25 Rivkin

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 06:58 PM

Yes, lots of ara nie throughout the shinogiji.

Not Naminohira, Houju, Kongohyoe… I would have maybe bet on the last one, but its not it.

 

Kirill R.



#26 paulb

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 07:03 PM

I can understand why you might have gone for Kongohyoe but I had one many years ago and the hada was coarser and the shape more robust.

I am wondering if this is a lot later than first impressions suggest. The ara-nie reminds me a lot of examples I have seen on Satsuma blades. Also the visibility of the hada within the hamon could point that way. The shinogi-ji looks to be masame or is that a trick of the light?


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#27 Rivkin

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 08:23 PM

Shinogi-ji is masame, but it is koto.

 

Kirill R.



#28 Ganko

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 09:48 PM

Unusual combination of characteristics. First thoughts, Hoju, Satsuma. Maybe Etchu?


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#29 Rivkin

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 10:16 PM

Negative on Etchu, though it is northern.

One thing that can be said is that depending on the date (there is none in the signature) this might as well be the only known daito of this person, though the name is quite recognizable. Its a tanto-heavy school.

 

Kirill R.



#30 Gakusee

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 10:47 PM

To me it looks a bit like some Gassan blade
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