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  1. Well, I'll be damned if I leave info on FB to waste away, so I am sure that @Andrew Ickeringill and @Adrian S won't mind if I blatantly plagiarize their posts and share the info here. Very happy to see that the sword that Adrian "discovered" a few years ago that eventually went Juyo to Go Yoshihiro, has now passed Toku Juyo. Wow...what an incredible find and story. And what a high praise for Andrew and his polishing. This is a masterpiece and a proud moment for both owner and togishi. Well done to both, I am sure we all share in your achievement, with a little jealousy thrown in
    31 points
  2. Today I got out my Chidori Jumonji yari to maintain/ view and decided to share them. I really enjoy this type of yari and it's quite interesting to see the slight differences each of the yari has. It may take a little time to see them but when you do there quite noticeable. From left to right the smiths are- Higo no kami Kuniyasu, Echigo no kami Kanesada (Sakaura Terukane) and Kawachi no kami Monjyu Kanesada. Hope you enjoy them. John C.
    25 points
  3. Kotani Takenori Homei to kigen 2603 nen 10 gatsu kichijitsu I am very happy to have these two very rare blades in my modest collection, the left one is pictured in the book The Yasukuni Swords on page 65, both with Oshigata.
    19 points
  4. Wide Shinto Wakizashi with Dragon Horimono Sagami No Kami KaneYasu 53 cm long , 3.5 cm wide A wide and heavy Ubu sword made around 1660 Kanbun Horimono is deeply cut dragon chasing the pearl and other protective Horimono on the reverse NBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon This is one of the widest Wakizashi I have seen from this period. Many thanks to Nick Ricupero for selling this to me
    15 points
  5. Its rare to come across swords for sale that were entries into the NBTHK sword making competition, this sword was entered in 2007. In hand, its a large sword, i would describe it as magnificent. The sword was bought direct from the smith by its previous owner, a well known collector here. Akamatsu Taro Kanetsugu is the current head of the Kimura Nippon Bijutsu Token of Yatsuhiro, Kyushu. His real name is Kimura Kanesada, born 1951. He is the oldest son of Kimura Kaneshige. He is recognised as a Kumamoto "important traditional craftsman". The tachi is large, it is signed and dated 2007. He made it at the age of 56. It was entered into the 2007 NBTHK Shinsakuto competition and received Nyusen-Sho. In hand, the quality stands out. Fine Ko-itame hada and a consistent hamon in Choji. See his other NBTHK results below. I'm confident any future owner will cherish this wonderful Tachi. Price is £5500 or best offer. That's a fair price for such a sword. Payment via bank transfer or paypal (buyer to cover fees). Folks are welcome to come and see the sword. Shipping likely to be with UPS, i will need to get a price for anyone interested. I am bad at photography, until i take some pictures i will use some by the previous owner. Type... Tachi Ubu.... Original condition competition blade, Mei... Higo Kuni Yatsushiro Ju Kanetsugu Saku Papered...Copy of Nyusen-sho, copy of Torokusho, and original statement/oshigata by Kanetsugu. Age..."Heisei ju ku nen ni gatsu kichi jitsu" (lucky day 2nd month 2007) Shrasaya.. With horn mekugi/mekugi ana, Comes with a bag made by the smiths wife. Total length 108cm Nagasa/blade length.. 78cm, Total length of blade and nakago is 101cm Sori.. 2.5cm Hamon.. choji Jihada...Ko-itame with Jinie Flaws...No, its a competition sword. Habaki..quality 2 piece with gold foil. Location..UK Plenty about the Akamatsu Taro smiths online. They make their own Tamahagane from Kumamoto river sand, their hada has a darkish appearance. Akamatsu Taro (japaneseswordhigotsuru.com) This is a robust tachi with finely carved Bo-hi. This sword would make one hell of an addition to any collection. Lots of information comes with this blade which is a nice bonus, ask for more details if your interested.
    14 points
  6. Curator of the MET - Markus Sesko - released a curatorial today which explains the concept of mono no aware by using examples. I've asked his permission to reproduce it here and he gracefully agreed - however I would like to stress that people should sign up for these mails at the site of the MET. It's really worthwhile and informative. Broken Tiles: The Japanese Concept of Impermanence Figure 1 Over the course of time, Japan developed worldviews that permeated native art as aesthetic concepts, many of which are difficult to translate or define in a concise manner. Arguably most well-known in the West is the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi, which started to shape culture and art in the late fifteenth century and which is often described as being that of “appreciating beauty that is imperfect/incomplete and of natural simplicity.” Another such concept, however, had emerged much earlier, i.e., in the Heian period (794–1185), and that is the concept of mono no aware (物の哀れ). Figure 2 Mono no aware is deeply rooted in Heian-period literature and is most prominently associated with the classic The Tale of Genji, written in the early eleventh century by noblewoman and lady-in-waiting Murasaki Shikibu (Fig. 2), and highlighted in The Met Asian Art Department’s exhibition of the same name held from March 5 to June 16, 2019. While the phrase translates literally as “an empathy towards things,” it stands more broadly for the awareness of impermanence. Mono no aware comes with melancholic undertones but is not about the mere acceptance of impermanence and transience of life per se. It embraces the certainty that although certain things and even moments are doomed to fade and pass, much of their beauty lies in the fact that they can indeed be witnessed in the first place, most famously so the brief blossoming of cherry blossoms in spring. Figure 3 When it comes to Japanese sword fittings, references to the concept of mono no aware start to appear in the mid-Edo period (1615–1868), when swords had become a critical means of self-expression for Samurai, and their fittings collectibles for persons outside of the Samurai class. Shown in Fig. 1, with additional details in Fig. 3, is a sword guard (tsuba) made by Gotō Ichijō (1791–1876), the last great master of the renowned Gotō School of sword fittings makers. It depicts broken roof tiles scattered over both sides, of which some are inscribed. The tile on the bottom right of the obverse bears the inscription Byakkorō (白虎樓, lit. “White Tiger Watchtower”) which was one of the four guarded entries to the walled Greater Palace inside of the original Imperial Palace of Kyōto and which was repeatedly destroyed by fires, never to be rebuilt again after the early thirteenth century. The tile on the top left of the same side of the tsuba is inscribed Daijōkan (太政官), the Great Council of State, which was the highest body in Japan's premodern Imperial government, but which lost power over the tenth and eleventh centuries. The inscription of the broken tile on the top right of the reverse starts with “Sakyō” (左京), which refers to the areas of central Kyōto east of the Imperial Palace. And the last inscribed tile, located at the bottom left of the reverse, references the Kōrokan (鴻臚館) guest houses for foreign ambassadors, traveling monks, and merchants that existed in Japan during the Heian period and earlier. Thus, through the deliberate use of broken roof tiles, ko-gawara (古瓦) in Japanese, the subject of the tsuba can be understood as an allusion to the old Kyōto at the height of its imperial glory in the sense of mono no aware, which was long gone by the time the sword guard was made, with actual power having been in the hands of the warrior class by many centuries at that point. Figure 4 The motif enjoyed great popularity, and the artist Gotō Ichijō produced several sword guards in this style. For example, as shown in Fig. 4, this daishō pair of tsuba featured in Volume 2 of multi-volume Tagane no Hana (鏨廼花, “Flowers of the Chisel”) published in 1904 by entrepreneur Mitsumura Toshimo (光村利藻, 1877–1955), which centered around his extensive collection of sword fittings. Ichijō was actually born and raised in Kyōto and was trained in other traditional arts, like waka and haiku poetry, as well as in painting. He visited Edo (present-day Tokyo) on several occasions but did not relocate there until the age of sixty when he started an official employment with the Shogunate. We can imagine that Ichijō might have had some mono no aware moments in the “new capital” if you will, yearning for his home, the birthplace and breeding ground of classic Japanese arts. Figure 5 Ichijō’s interpretation of the mono no aware subject via broken tiles was then also adapted by several of his students, e.g., by Araki Tōmei (荒木東明, 1817–1870). A tile on one of his works (Fig. 5), however, references the Shitennō-ji (四天 王寺), a Buddhist temple in Ōsaka, not in Kyōto. Built by order of Prince Shōtoku (聖徳太子, 574–622), the temple was destroyed by fire several times as well over the centuries, hence it carries the very same sentiment as described earlier. Figure 6 One more tsuba from our collection that I would like to introduce on the topic of mono no aware is shown in Fig. 6. Via openwork, it depicts a waterwheel and lively waves, a combination, which refers to the Waterwheels of Yodo (Yodo no Mizuguruma, 淀の水車). Once, two large waterwheels measuring around 48 feet in diameter were operated on the lower course of the Yodo River and transferred water into the castle of the same name and to surrounding farms. When the castle was abandoned at the very end of the sixteenth century and maintenance of the waterwheels became too expensive, the river was allowed to change course in a natural manner and the wheels were left dry. Soon, however, they became a famous scenic attraction, especially when viewed from a nearby bridge and tea pavilion. The scenery also must be understood from the point of view of power changes. Yodo Castle was once captured by the famlous warlord Oda Nobunaga (1534–1582), and then renovated by his assassin Akechi Mitsuhide (明智光秀, 1528–1582). Afterwards, it was expanded by Toyotomi Hideyoshi (豊臣秀吉, 1585–1592), who avenged Nobunaga and succeeded his political powers. When Hideyoshi’s own major castle of Fushimi was completed in 1594, Yodo Castle was abandoned. Fushimi Castle, however, was then itself dismantled in the early seventeenth century on behalf of the new rulers of Japan, the Tokugawa, who in turn had the older Yodo Castle rebuilt at a slightly different location, using material from former Fushimi Castle and incorporating once more a single waterwheel. There the castle remained under different rulers until it was burned down in the turmoil of the Boshin War in 1868. Figure 7 Accordingly, the subject of the tsuba shown in Fig. 6 and in a stencil in Fig. 7 in The Met's collection, highlights the tumultuous era of The Three Unifiers—Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu—in a single design. It so alludes to the fact that no empire, kingdom, or rule has proven immune to impermanence. Thus, works of art such as introduced in this humble article can be a reminder of the fleeting nature of human influence and that governance is one of constant flux and change. Fig. 1: Sword Guard (Tsuba), 19th century. Copper-gold alloy (shakudō), copper-silver alloy (shibuichi), bronze, copper. H. 3 1/4 in. (8.3 cm); W. 3 in. (7.6 cm); thickness 3/16 in. (0.5 cm); Wt. 4.5 oz. (127.6 g). The Howard Mansfield Collection, Gift of Howard Mansfield, 1936 (36.120.23). Photo: Stephen Bluto. Fig. 2: Detail of Portrait-Icon of Murasaki Shikibu (Murasaki Shikibu zu), Tosa Mitsuoki (1617–1691). Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk. Lent by Ishiyamadera Temple (SL.7.2019.19.3). Fig. 3: Detail of Sword Guard (Tsuba) shown in Fig. 1. Fig. 4: Mitsumura, Toshimo. Tagane no Hana, Vol. 2. Kobe, Japan, Ryūdshidō, Ltd., 1904. Department of Arms and Armor Library. Fig. 5: Fukushi, Shigeo. Tōsō, Tōsōgu Shogaku Kyōshitsu, No. 96, Tōken Bijutsu No. 545, pp. 23–24, Nihon Bijutsu Tōken Hozon Kyōkai, May 2002. Courtesy of Nihon Bijutsu Tōken Hozon Kyōkai. Fig. 6: Sword Guard (Tsuba), 19th century. Iron, copper. Diam. 2 3/4 in. (7 cm); thickness 1/4 in. (0.6 cm); Wt. 3.2 oz. (90.7 g). Funds from various donors, 1946 (46.122.145). Photo: Stephen Bluto. Fig. 7: Stencil with Pattern of Flowing Water, Waterwheels and Embankment Baskets, 19th century. Paper reinforced with silk. 20 1/2 x 14 3/4 in. (52.07 x 37.47 cm). Gift of Clarence McKenzie Lewis, 1953 (53.101.37).
    13 points
  7. Thanks gents. Will add some information i forgot and some photos, did my best and as usual just took them in sunlight. Forgot to mention this sword was made with a Bizen influence. Its large and heavy, further measurements as follows. Not bang on accurate but close enough as used a tape measure. One thing i like about modern Shinsakuto. Your owning the sword the way it was made, without it having seen many polishes etc that effect appearance. Width at Habaki 35mm Width at Yokote 21.5mm Kasane (thickness of blade) at habaki, 8mm Plus donation to NMB upkeep if sold.
    13 points
  8. Early Kai Gunto with blade by Echizen Daijo Kunisada, son of Mizuta Kunishige (perhaps Oyogo Kunishige school from the Nakagojiri). There are small pins securing the Kabutogane and Ishikuze, which to my knowledge is rather unusual.
    13 points
  9. I recently bought a new sword with some rain dragons on the koshirae, thought would be interesting to share under this discussion.
    12 points
  10. A very early example of an original Type 94, with rarely seen features like pinned Kabutogane and Tsuba retained with screws. Original 2nd hanger, gloss Saya, and thick pierced Tsuba. Stainless steel blade is in very good condition, with a only a small ding near the Kissaki. For a non-traditional blade the overall polish and forging are first class. Included is a field grade tassel. Fujiwara Kanenaga was a swordsmith, metallurgist, and artisan who pioneered the usage of stainless steel in Japanese swords during the 1920's & 30's. Below are the best articles available, full credit to Malcolm Cox and Ohmura. http://ohmura-study.net/212.html Mei reads: Fujiwara Kanenaga saku "Made using anti rust steel" 藤原 兼永 耐錆鋼作 Nagasa: 64cm Sori: 2cm OAL: 98cm Price: SOLD
    12 points
  11. Orientations_Jul-Aug-2019-James-Lancel-McElhinney.pdf This may answer a lot of questions. The attached peer-reviewed article was published in the July-August issue of Orientations magazine. In a nutshell, "Nanban" is Japanese catchall lingo for "foreign," similar to the earlier term "Ezo", which like "Kanton" and Kagonami" fittings bear stylistic resemblances to central Asian design and Mongolian taste, and little to do with the indigenous Ainu arts of Japan. The saddle plates illustrated in Joly's article are Tibetan. While I did not touch on it in this article, there are a good number of so-called "Nanban" tsuba that are actually Japanese Tosho and Katchushi guards that were exported abroad, where they were embellished to local taste. Dutch colonies in Java and Sri Lanka produced weapons (and sword guards) for use as business and diplomatic gifts. After 1684, a brisk sea-trade flowed between China and Nagasaki. Like the Dutch, Chinese merchants also bore gifts. Tsuba and other goods were produced in Nagasaki's Toujin Yashiki (Chinatown), to which the Jakushi school appears to have had close ties. A number of books have been published recently debunking the "Sakoku" fairy-tale of Japanese isolation—at least as far as trade is concerned. These are listed in the bibliography of the Orientations article. Maybe ten years ago now, Peter Dekker (a dealer in fine Asian arms) and I shared a lot of our research. His website is packed with useful information: https://www.mandarin...-export-sword-guards I also created a Facebook page devoted to Asian export sword guards: https://www.facebook...p?id=100064636361953 Much of the confusion surrounding "Nanban" tsuba is the word itself, which is far too general and arbitrary to inhabit any useful taxonomy. Tosogu collectors would benefit greatly from expanding the scope of their research to a broader understanding of Asian decorative art, and how it was circulated by maritime trade. What Asian Export sword guards (Nanban tsuba) teach us is that Edo-period Japan was far less isolated than some would have the world believe.
    11 points
  12. Words I am afraid that echo down the ages - "It is with a double sadness that I come to preface this catalogue: Sadness to have seen the premature disappearance of the perfectly good man, gifted with such delicate taste, that was Mr. [ INSERT YOUR NAME HERE ] ; Sadness to witness the dispersion of the excellent ensemble [collection] that he had been able to bring together. Only one consolation remains for me, that of glorifying one last time the collection which tomorrow will no longer be - - and whose scattered lots will contribute to the construction of new temples erected in honor of Japanese art." [Translated from the original French.] Taken from the Preface of "Catalogue: Saber guards, sabers, kozukas, arrowheads, inros. Composing the Collection of the late Mr. Alexis ROUART" 6th of May 1911 Perhaps even more poignant is the fact that the preface was written by another great collector, the Marquis de Tressan who was killed just three years later in 1914, just a few months into WWI. Image is of the tsuba illustrations in the catalogue [Images are enhanced and arranged in numerical order unlike the original 7 plates]
    10 points
  13. For the past three months we have been encouraged to bring along pieces from our tsuba collections to the local once-a-month NBTHK meetings. One guy has the most amazing examples, all neatly arranged in lacquered trays inside tied black lacquer boxes. He also has terrific knowledge of what he has. Last Saturday, afterwards, he sat next to me in the waiting room armchairs. "It is so hard to kneel or sit on the tatami-mat floor", he confided in me. Then he explained how the diabetes is eating away at him, and gangrene (well, the doc) has been taking his toes one by one. He is unable now to stand properly for his particular school of sword practise. "I don't know how much longer I can come to these meetings", he added. As you can imagine, this got me thinking, and now Dale has banged a large nail in the coffin. Anyway, tomorrow we have a special day devoted to koshirae + tosogu with an expert bringing a collection from Tokyo. In the morning, though, we have been encouraged to bring along our own examples, so I have prepared two nicely-adorned koshirae, and about seven or eight kozuka to lay out. Even so, I find myself questioning my motivation. Is this purely to provide high-quality learning material for attendees? There is a NBTHK tradition of confidently showing only first-class material. By what standards do I measure my own pieces? Do I want to show off my stuff and attract what... varying measures of either greed, or disdain, or envy? With the tsuba I was careful to explain in advance that I tend to collect things that attract me, not necessarily what dealers have found to be most popular, or what experts have declared to be historically valuable. My kozuka will thus be a very mixed bag with something for everyone I hope. One consolation is listening to viewers' comments, and seeing things from other eyes. This can be a great learning experience. But then life is unfair. The most knowledgeable people get taken from the top... and we have to try and make up the shortfall once more. Remember to give thanks for written records and knowledge databases. Hang in there everyone!
    10 points
  14. Not mine but it's amazing. https://nihontoantiq...vsKkWPUHzHREstaQhcOQ
    10 points
  15. All, Just a few pictures of the show (pics were taken on Sunday so a few people had to pack up for long travel - almost all weekend, all tables were FULL of ‘goodies’). Another great event hosted by Mark. Lots to look at and a couple of very good presentations on blades and fittings. Can’t tell you how lucky I consider myself to be given the chance to handle and study blades that I would not have access to in any other setting. It was great to see some long-time acquaintances and meet a few new people as well. All in all a great show.
    10 points
  16. Hi, In the Edo period, hatsu-uma was written as hatsumuma(はつむま) and pronounced as hatsuuma(はつうま). Therefore, the flag has the words "Hatsumuma はつむま" written on it.
    10 points
  17. Hello, Some weeks ago I bought a blade which is signed Yamato [no] kuni Tadayoshi (大和 国 忠義) and is dated Shôwa Jû Shichi Nen Shi Gatsu Kichi Hi (lucky day April Showa 17 (1942)) 昭和 十 七 年 四 月 吉 日 nagasa 69 cm sori is 2 cm motohaba is 3,2 cm sakihaba is 2,3 cm motokasane is 7 mm sakikasane is 6 mm Unfortunately I can not find any information about this smith. Except that most probably the smith was/is Suzuki Tadayoshi (based on information from the well known Chris Bowen). I got this information when the blade was offered to me months ago. I tried to find information about this smith in many books as well as on Web, no no luck Any further information would be great... :-) Another interesting point is that the month is written as "Shi"... which is unusual, at least for me?! Many thanks Klaus
    9 points
  18. For a start they have the name wrong, guess they are referring to Admiral Mito Hisashi: http://pwencycl.kgbu...M/i/Mito_Hisashi.htm This sword is currently on display at the coast guard museum. That display states it was surrendered to General MacArthur by a Japanese admiral on board the USS Missouri. The keen-eyed among you will note no swords were handed over directly at the signing of the instrument of surrender. Admiral Mito was not named among the delegation. When researching something else, I did find quite a few different accounts of what happened to the swords of the surrender delegation. https://en.wikipedia...trument_of_Surrender 1: Some swords & daggers were left at the Japanese Foreign Ministry building before members of the delegation departed to board USS Nicholas. This is recounted from one of the delegation: https://www.maritimequest.com/warship_directory/us_navy_pages/uss_missouri_bb63_japanese_surrender_page_3.htm 2: Swords & daggers were left in the flag cabin when the delegation boarded the USS Missouri: "On September 2, 1945, the Japanese surrender delegation stood on the quarterdeck of the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay. The delegation was aboard to sign the Instrument of Surrender and led by Foreign Minister Shigemitsu and Army Chief of Staff Umezu. Upon arrival, members of the delegation had to check their dress daggers and samurai swords in the Flag Cabin of the Missouri." https://archive.json...aukee/103765309.html "As part of the Navy's traditional piping aboard ceremony, Eder watched the 11-member Japanese contingent, led by Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu, step aboard the Missouri. They left their samurai swords and dress daggers on a table in a cabin before signing the documents and then leaving." Caption: President Harry S. Truman reviews a Japanese sword offered during the surrender on the USS Missouri. (Naval History and Heritage Command) 3: Another account detailing swords left on the dock before delegates boarded the USS Nicholas
    9 points
  19. https://issuu.com/za...2cce3464d7-122811684
    9 points
  20. Hello members. Rare beautiful Akitomo Tanto for sale. The kissaki was polished at Aoi Art, Hozon was made last year, Sayagaki by Tsuruta san. Oshigata included. The length is 31 cm, not 20.15 cm as described. Unfortunately I have to sell it for a new investment. SOLD
    9 points
  21. https://publikace.nm...Kraemerova_ocred.pdf
    9 points
  22. Ref. Temari (toy) - Wikipedia
    9 points
  23. Suppose there is a prime museum venue in Europe available and nihonto exhibit is being arranged for. 15 TJ are already secured plus multiple Juyo. Would one be interested in attending? Attending or hosting additional events like clubs meetings, chats with polishers and other craftsmen? Would one consider providing a sword (Juyo+) to be exhibited? Would one be interested in a.... shinsa? The museum considers a one-off event with a team where each member has an impressive biography. What do you think about the endeavour?
    8 points
  24. I am curious about the Tadamitsu wakizashi paper you posted Jacques, could it be a reissue? Here are 4 reference papers from Jūyō 23 that have same type of red seal as the Yahoo Auctions Masamune. As I was doing some info digging it seems that the red seal on top right was changed to form featured in Tadamitsu paper in Jūyō 28. Similarily the hitsu ana of upper leftmost tsuba were also changed this time. So I would think reissue would be a reason why the paper would have a form of seal that wasn't used for several years when the paper was issued. Of course there can perhaps be other reasons too.
    8 points
  25. The theme is not Benkei at Gojo Bridge, but Ataka-no-seki. Ref. Kabuki in Komatsu: Ataka-no-Seki - Ishikawa - Japan Travel 古鐔 – Old tsuba 「安宅」真鍮据紋 – “Ataka”, brass suemon 阿部行人氏より – From Mr. Abe Yukihito 昭和五五年秋 – Showa 55th year (1980), autumn 丸形 鉄地 – Round shape, iron base 安宅ノ関眞鍮 – Ataka no seki, brass 高彫象嵌 – Takabori, inlay (峯山蔵 – Property of Mineyama) – I’m unsure.
    8 points
  26. I do but a plain one. Koshirae has toku so replacing anything wouldn't be right.
    8 points
  27. Henri L. Joly had a theory but I don't know if it was widely known as it was formulated in 1913 and printed in 1914 in French. I have gone to the trouble of translating it to English in order to disseminate it to a wider audience. Bulletin de la Société franco-japonaise de Paris 1st of April 1914 Note on Namban Iron and Style by H.L. Joly I had the favor of discussing here some years ago the origin of Namban iron, and I suggested that this iron came from the Malay Islands, that its imitations reproduced the type of forge adopted in these islands for the manufacture of 'Kris'. Shortly after, the publication by Dr. Grônemann of a study on the 'Kris' tended to further confirm my opinion. The research of Professor Tawara Kuniichi, carried out on samples of Namban iron preserved in Japan, led him to conclude that in its constitution this iron was identical with the Wootz (1) of northern India, but in correspondence Mr. Tawara told me that he had not studied Java iron, which leaves the question open. It would be interesting to know if Malay blacksmiths borrowed from India the method of preparing a steel, called Wootz (although this is not a Hindu word) and forging it with the 'Pamor' (2) in the manufacture of blades of 'Kris'. Sir R.F. Burton (Book of the Sword) says: "Java received from India the Arts of Egypt at the beginning of the Christian Era, the now sedentary Hindu was then an explorer and colonized Java". This Wootz; was exported from Chaul [just south of Mumbai] to Egypt and the [East] African coast of Melinda [Melindi, Kenya], as evidenced by the claims of the King of Portugal on this subject in 1591, mentioned by Burton, and this is worth noting because it would seem strange that the Portuguese protesting against this export, themselves introduced Wootz to Japan. Whatever the source of the Namban Tetsu known to the Japanese, Mr. Tawara's conclusions in March 1913 were: a) The Namban Tetsu in the shape of a flat elliptical ingot (and gourd) is identical with the Wootz. b) The bar-shaped Namban Tetsu are of unknown foreign origin. His analyzes gave: carbon, 1.60; manganese, 0.009; silicon, 0.08; phosphorus, 0.076; sulfur, 0.003 for samples [A]; and for samples [B] carbon, 1.58; manganese, 0.017; silicon, 0.016; phosphorus, 0.011, trace of sulfur. The most important point of this research, proving the foreign origin of these irons, is the determination of phosphorus which varies from 4 to 10 times the phosphorus content of Japanese irons. Namban iron is a very distinct material which has nothing to do with the Namban style or, to be more correct, the styles grouped under this name until now. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- (1) See about this steel: Yule, Marco Polo; Philipps, Metallurgy; Percy, Iron; Birdwood. Industrial Arts of India. Philipps gives the analysis: Carbon 1.333 + 0.312; silicon 0.045; sulfur 0.181; arsenic 0.037; iron (by difference) 98.092, according to the results of Heath (Royal Society 1195) which it would be good to review using modern methods. (2) Pamor - literally "mixed". The term refers to blades that are made of several metals, thus in a sense mixed but not "alloyed". A technique not unlike Damascus. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Purely as a summary, we can point out that the classification of the so-called Namban guards leaves something to be desired. Certain guards of Chinese origin, or to be clearer, of Chinese manufacture were imported, through the port of Nagasaki, either as curiosities or as merchandise (?) and the fact is clearly evidenced by the mention of a customs document which we encounter on page 90 of Soken Kinko Ryakushi by Professor T. Wada. It follows that the guards with nunomé inlays, attributed to the damasceners of Nagasaki, very similar to the Chinese guards (of which Dr. Münsterberg reproduces some samples in his Chinesische Kunstgeschichte) can be grouped in the Namban although, coming from the North West the nomenclature thus adopted is illogical. The guards called Kanto tsuba and Kannan tsuba (which Hayashi seems to have made Kagonami), the first of which have a purely Chinese design with symmetrical elements, while the others belong to the types: dragon fish and pagoda; deer-monkey-wasp, etc. (see Hawkshaw Catalogue) and to which the Namban type seems best to apply, are those targeted by this note. The style of guards perforated with foliage intersecting sometimes with a few simple powerful convolutions, sometimes in a jumble of small tangled elements where the patience of the engraver has sometimes added figures of animals, fixed or mobile, this style whose variations are infinite seems to have been imported via China, the name Kanton or Kannan tsuba sufficiently indicates this, and there is no need to look for a dubious resemblance with Portuguese weapons as certain authors have done. The scrollwork style existed in Bronze art long before the Portuguese had dealings with Japan or India. Ancient Chinese bronzes offer us many proofs of this in the handles, ears, feet and openwork of dragons and ribbons. The question that arises is, where did this style come from? from India, from Persia, to China or vice versa? This note does not seek to resolve, but simply to pose the question by drawing attention to a few naturally acquired points. During the Garié sale, a piece of saddle was described as a wall ornament and appeared in the catalog under number 834. Recently, the death of M.A.W. Paul having led his family to sell the objects he had collected formerly in Nepal, Sikkhim and in other provinces of India, including token samples of Tibetan and Sino-Tibetan work, I was responsible for putting some order into this collection (partly on display at the Bristol Museum) before the sale. One of the most interesting pieces was a saddle trim, in “Namban style” with movable dragons finished in nunomé precisely in the style of the piece Garie 834. Unfortunately I was not able to learn where - Bhutan or Nepal - The late Mr. Paul had obtained this mount, and to my great regret I was beaten at auction. Another interesting piece from southern Tibet was one of these large conch shells with partially gilded copper fins, decorated with amorini and a dragon. If we compare the work of the saddle in question with the vermiculations of the mounts of two-edged sabers and daggers of Bhutanese origin, we find a similarity with on the one hand the guards with large scrolls, on the other hand those with small vermiculations embellished with pearls and enamels. We will be able to also remember the resemblance that exists between certain daggers of the Shosuin Zukuri type, and between certain Tachi mounted with cabochons and the Tibetan weapons manufactured in Dergé also mounted with cabochons (V.W.W. Rockhill, Notes on the Ethnology of Tibet, Washington, 1895, pl. 22 and Land of the Lamas, 257). I had the opportunity to talk about it in the Sword Book. We will notice, particularly in the pommel, two ornaments which are repeated in the Namban guards, similarly the facing or intertwined dragons appear in the Chinese guards and in the elaborate 'panyun' lacquer boxes of Nepal [Paan - India], I have some samples in my modest collection. Let us add that the OVC monogram of the old East India Company, which we find on its tokens and on certain buildings, for example in Ceylon, is also quite common on the so-called Namban guards from the 18th and 19th centuries, made in the Hirado or copied from Hirado's work At that time this brand was well known in Japan and its introduction into foreign-style guards does not seem surprising. That said, will our colleagues ask themselves questions that this note suggests. Is the Namban style not derived from the weapons of northern India and southern Tibet? Did not the influence of this art flourishing at the foot of Kanchenjunga following Buddhist caravans? Can it not be several centuries older than the 16th century but that it remained latent until new relations with India by sea or the numerous exchanges with China in the time of the Mings have awakened it? Among the many scholars, the documented collectors, some will perhaps kindly contribute their light to the elucidation of this problem. I thought it was useless to dwell on details that the illustrations are sufficient to indicate. London, August 1913 (2). ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- (1) Former Resident of the English Government at Sekkhim and Assistant Commissioner to Sir Francis Younghusband in the Lhasa Expedition. (2) Mr. de Tressan. published in Ostasiatischen Zeitschrift of January 1914, a note on the Namban date guards in which he makes use of the aforementioned book by Mr. Wada. We can compare our conclusions to the above. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- IMAGE TEXTS: * The dagger shown here which I photographed as being very characteristic belongs to Mr. John Claude White (1). THREE TYPES OF “IRON NAMBAN” GUARDS (COLL. H.L. JOLY). * Large thick scrolls (7.5 mm.) intertwined, with two dragons and gold nunome. * Large intertwined foliage with two dragons and mobile Tama, thickness 5.5 mm., without nunome * Small scrolls with capsules intended to receive enamels or stones, thin canvas (3.5 mm.) thick round silver edge. The attached file shows the images from the original text - enhanced - and some are reorientated from the French layout. Some text has been added to clarify certain points and to highlight some spelling mistakes, these are in square brackets [... ] or italics.
    8 points
  28. Hey guys, Been a while since I've posted a new acquisition, but this one has me excited and its not something you see every day. I acquired it at the recent Chicago show and got it in a trade deal. I've put it in front of several people at the show, including Bob Benson. He seemed to really like it and told me how he could properly bring out the hada even more than it is already so this one is going to Bob for work eventually. His opinion was that it was late Shinto/Shinshinto. Bob did note that someone had messed with the nakago in an attempt to make it look older but he believes it would be easy to remedy and properly repatinate. It is a massive 29" nagasa with a VERY active hamon and mokume hada. There is kinsuji, inazuma, nie and nioe present. This piece feels like it was made to show off the smith's skills yet is mumei which leads me to believe that this was a temple offering piece. I am welcome to opinions on school and smith. My blind guess is perhaps Mino, but ken are so poorly researched that it is really anyone's guess. Without further ado, here you all go! (If you want to see it in person, DM me and I'll get you the information for the next ITK meeting which is this next Saturday.) The first picture shows my two other ken for reference to scale since I neglected to lay a tape down with it. The top one is a Yamato den, and the bottom is Bungo Yukihira (1199-1206).
    8 points
  29. This is a recent acquisition that arrived this week--a sukashi-bori tsuba of kiri, tomoe, and karigane papered to Tanshu Sadamasa (mumei), whom I had no prior knowledge of. The strong design, size, and price met the criteria I had set for the purchase of a vintage sukashi to grace my new custom-made katana formed from tamahagane and constructed in the traditional kubose style. I have found great inspiration in the practice of iaido using my swords fitted with very good iron plate openwork tsuba. Preferably vintage, but the iaito that was gifted to my by my teacher when I left Boston has an excellent Owari copy, faithfully hand made in Japan. I wasn't quite prepared to confront such a large and substantial sword guard of well-forged iron when finally in my hands, even though it was as advertised (83 mm nearly perfect circle, 5.6-5.8 mm at the kaku-mimi). The color is a beautiful dark chocolate brown, the patina is even and moist with tsuchime that lights it up especially in natural light, and there are globular tekkotsu evident in several spots on the surface more than the rim. It was cut by a very skilled later-generation tsubako from this school--the lines are deliberate, precise, and sharp. Simply splendid. I am not experienced enough to reflect on the quality and appearance of the iron in order to date it more precisely, but I'd venture to guess it is mid-late Edo (no earlier). I'm finishing my first attempt at tsuba study with research on the first 2 hereditary masters who signed Tansu Ju Sadamasa, but I'll post it later on this thread. I'd be grateful for your thoughts and comments and sharing of any other examples from this school.
    8 points
  30. Gendai Tanto, hope you like it
    8 points
  31. And my table with the requested 小物 komono accessories.
    8 points
  32. I have one similar to this that I got not too long ago, but I haven't photographed it yet. Here is an image from the auction: Best, rkg (Richard George)
    8 points
  33. Quick 5/5 report. Yesterday the weather held, and families with their children came out to visit 吉備津彦神社, Kibitsu Hiko Jinja, the head shrine for Bizen and the Ikeda Daimyo family. In the morning after donning armour we received shrine blessings and posed for photographs. There was a display of Batto-jutsu (see Malcolm's recent videos), and then we performed alongside the lake, on the route of the Yabusame run. ("Do not fire your guns directly at the little yagura shrine on the island" we were warned.) After a bento and green tea lunch we light-trucked the static dsplay items to the shrine inner sanctum cloisters and set it all up with captions. Some of the bigger gun boxes weighed 50 or 60 kg. Around 4:00 pm we packed everything up and moved it all back to the changing rooms to gather the armour and load the cars. Last night I could hardly move after unloading the car at home. Today I have been taking things very, very gently.... This wheeled big gun from Osaka dwarfs our massive 100 Monmé on the left. A matchlock cannon. 棒火矢 Bōhiya
    8 points
  34. This is a very old thread now but I just uncovered a tsuba in an old French catalogue [1904] (Pierre Barboutau, 1862-1916 collection) which states "1074. ^ Le blaireau changé en marmite. Garde en " Sëntokou " faite d'après un dessin de Kyô-saï." Translated to English "The badger turned into a pot. “Sentoku” guard made after a drawing by Kyôsaï. [Kyosai Suiga]" 19th century. Though this is not the same guard as described by Kipling it does show that Kyosai's drawings were indeed made into tsuba.
    8 points
  35. Agree with Piers - certainly, there is no wrong or right to this question. First of all, symbols were chosen as a kamon because they had a specific meaning (long before they were turned into kamon). For example, the ume (plum) is one of the Three Friends of Winter. It symbolizes i.a. steadfastness, perseverance and resilience. Therefore, it is a natural choice as a symbol for a warrior. As a symbol, it is also highly regarded in Confucianism. That being said, an ume mon can always have at least two meanings: a heraldic meaning as a kamon and a symbolic meaning as a reference to the Three Friends of Winter. How can we decide which meaning is the right one in a specific case? That brings me to my second point: the (mis)use of only very few kamon was sanctioned by law during the Edo period. That is true e.g. for the aoi kamon used by the Tokugawa (main) family. That means that basically everyone was allowed to use whichever symbol he/she likes (as long as it was not the Tokugawa or an imperial symbol). However, some kamon are seldomly found on sword mountings. In many cases, these are modifications of very basic kamon and therefore likely have a heraldic meaning. Last but not least, we find pieces which show a whole range of different mon. Hayashi Shigemitsu and Tohachi were famous for such tsuba. I have once owned such a piece which came from the collection of Sasano Masayuki and is depicted in two of his publications. The design compromises different mon which could either be kamon or symbolize different aspects of the Japanese culture. I finally came to the conclusion that designs which combine various mon do neither have a heraldic (like a wedding between members of two important families) nor a symbol meaning. In order to understand my way of thinking, we have to understand the Edo period culture. We have to understand the importance of ceremonies and philosophy. The sword itself becomes a symbol of power. The importance of a sword as a weapon is declining in the Edo period. In other words: a sword had to look good when strolling through the streets of Kyoto. And as we can see products made from silk or lacquer which show all kind of mon and which are meant for decoration only, I believe that the same thing is true for tsuba. The Hayashi family and other tsuba artists created designs which looked powerful on the one hand but on the other hand could be worn on an elegant occasion. Hopyfully, this adds to the discussion. Chris
    8 points
  36. Hi Mike, I would suggest you take the time to learn more before you purchase your katana. There is no substitute for "the more you know before you buy, the happier you will be with what you buy." There is less satisfaction in buying what someone recommends than in educating yourself so you can make your own recommendation. In my opinion, the 59 volumes of Token Bijutsu, English edition, from the NBTHK, is the best material on the subject in English. Find it here: https://japaneseswor...lete-with-1-reprint/ or as B747 on my site if you want all 59 to be original. There will never be a time when good Nihonto won't be available; there is no reason to be in a hurry. Best, Grey
    8 points
  37. For those who are interested in something more vintage, I have just acquired this Victorian specimen collector's box. It has four drawers with two shelves in each one, divided into two sides. Depending on the size of the tsuba it will store between 2 and four per section, which means that it could store up to 64 of the smaller tsuba. Does anyone have any suggestions for a thin, but cushioned and pliable material to put between the tsuba to stop them rubbing and bumping when the drawers are opened? I don't plan to alter the box, but I would like them to be more secure.
    8 points
  38. A couple of my favourites. Both made by Ford Hallam 15 years ago, they were studies in the copper alloy he used to create the Umetada utsushi as shown in Bob Morrison's thread - A series of fittings(or how not to build a collection).
    8 points
  39. Thanks for the reply&advice everyone. I'll not try vinegar. So basically repeating "small amount of oil use(or maybe not using is the best?) -> gentle brushing -> wipe with paper towel" until I get rid of green right? Under images are what they look like right now after some oiling & toothbrushing. Thanks, Yoon
    8 points
  40. In honor of the upcoming cicada invasion (labeled “cicadageddon” because both the 17 and 13 year broods are hatching at same time) in the Midwest, the fact that I am a certified arborist, and also the City Forester for a municipality in the Chicagoland area, I purchased the attached tsuba at the recent Chicago Sword Show and menuki off EBay. Collections are created for all different reasons…
    7 points
  41. This one seems worth a watch. Haven't watched it yet, so can't comment on how good it is, but looks interesting.
    7 points
  42. Thought you guys would like to see this lovely blade. "Lieutenant General Robert Eichelberger, commanding the Eighth Army, has presented this historic sword belonging formerly to Vice Admiral Hisashi Nito, Imperial Japanese Navy, to the Coast Guard. An accompanying letter states: "This weapon is presented to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in honor of the officers and men of the Coast Guard who contributed to the successful landings of the United States Army in numerous assault invasions which led to the final defeat and occupation of Japan."
    7 points
  43. Hi, I can recommend the great instructions from Paul Kremers' website tsuba.info. https://tsuba.info/making-a-kozuka-dai/ So I upgraded some of my old boxes... ...but if paulownia wood is available, it's not so difficult to make them too:
    7 points
  44. Dear members, I am offering here a tsuba that is rarely seen in this combination. Mount Fuji with pine trees at the base ( not identical on both sides, but with variations) and the material is suaka, with plenty of leftover urushi. Beautiful color. Photos are made in the morning sun. Kokinko tsuba, suaka, Momoyama/ early Edo 66mm x 66mm. Relatively thick at 5.5mm, 123 gr. Price: 1800 € (excl. package and posting)
    7 points
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