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Showing content with the highest reputation since 12/30/2014 in Posts

  1. 23 points
    I'm sure all of you know and have interacted with Ray Singer and Swords of Japan before. He appears to be a respected voice on these boards and I am sure others as well. I became acquainted with Ray as of some direct information I picked up here with the suggestion to purchase an initial sword from someone on this site. Based on that information, I went to the Swords of Japan website and found a beautiful Takada Muneyuki Katana in a very reasonable range. After some initial discussions with Ray, including some wonderful background on the sword and the smith I decided to purchase the sword. That's where it all went downhill, for the sword. The transaction was professional and quick with the sword shipped to my house quickly thereafter. Sometime after it was dropped off at USPS, the sword fell out of the system. No scans were made, the delivery date came and went. This went on for a little over 5 weeks on a shipment that should have taken 4 days. During this whole time, Ray was working the system trying to find information for me to keep me up to date with the results. All told, he said he spent 50 hours on the phone with the USPS. Well, after 5 weeks, he finally decided all avenues had been exhausted and decided to make an insurance claim. Well as usually happens when that type of decision is made, USPS decides to walk up to my house and drop off the sword. The package was a little beat up but the sword inside was well packaged and unharmed. I really appreciate the efforts that Ray went through to make this happen. Most would have thrown up their hands after a week. With that, as long as I am in this hobby he has a customer. There is too much negative in this world and sometimes it's nice to focus on the positives. Jim Blubaugh
  2. 18 points
    For someone who has an interest in Soshu-den works, this is an extremely enjoyable sword to study. It is an o-suriage wakizashi which appears to be a Nanbokucho-period naginatanaoshi. The bo-hi appear to be ato-bori, and the upper portion of the blade is ubu (ie. the kaeri is intact). The jihada is an extremely beautiful, large pattern itame that is thickly covered in ji-nie and having areas which appear like yubashiri. Nie arcing out of the hamon becoming chikei in the ji. The hamon is generally midare, with areas of gonome-midare. There is deep nie-hataraki to the edge, including ashi, yo, kinsuji, sunagashi, etc. The hamon is brilliant. The nakago, as mentioned, is osuriage with 3 mekugi-ana (one plugged). The sword is very healthy and has a heavy feel in-hand. It is 7mm thick at the shinogi. The nagasa is 41.1cm and moto-haba is 31mm. The sword has two old attributions, which I will emphasize and make bold, are not to be considered guarantees of either attribution. One is an early Tokubetsu Kicho dated Showa 37 (1962) giving an attribution to Naoe Shizu. There is also an old sayagaki from Hon'ami Koson attributing the blade to Sa Kunihiro. Again in bold, the blade should be resubmitted to an NBTHK shinsa or discussed with Tanobe-sensei for a more current attribution. Regardless, this is an exceptional sword, and is whoever decides to purchase it is going to be very pleased. SOLD Kind regards, Ray
  3. 17 points
    I know I always say this place is free and will never have a charge to sell or interact here. And I really resisted saying this. But seriously..... I am seeing many sellers who move thousands of $'s of goods through this place regularly, who have never contributed a cent. Or who won't even consider a $30 Gold membership for 6 months. Guys with multiple $2000+ sales who don't even say thanks. There are multiple ways to say thanks in the STORE section above. And then we have others that will send even a single dollar if they do even a $10 sale...and will contribute every time. Those guys...these small handful...are allowing these big sellers the opportunity and privilege to sell. Because those few guys are keeping this place running. Thank you again to the few who are always so generous. To the others, be thankful I don't institute a charge to sell here. And I don't refer to the small guys who sell a tsuba or 2 occasionally or one item a year. or the reputable dealers who contribute a sum every few months or annually as a thanks. I am grateful to all of you. But those who have sold thousands of $'s and never contributed a cent......don't thank me. Thank those that are covering the costs here for YOU so that you can benefit. Just needed saying.
  4. 16 points
    Today I went to a sales exhibition at the Nihombashi Takashimaya department store of works by Gassan Sadatoshi, and his son Sadanobu, by invitation of Inami Kenichi. I’m not a collector of contemporary swords, but wanted to have a look at their take at Sō-den, my main field of interest. Although the Gassan smiths are famous for their swords with ayasugi-hada, they also excel at the Sōshū style, and some very fine examples were on display / for sale. As a collector of antique swords, I sometimes feel a twinge of jealousy when looking at those absolutely flawless, healthy blades, exactly like the smith intended them. OTOH, they are also kind of “sterile” (for lack of a better expression, and not meant derogatory at all); in any case, art is art, no matter if it was made in the Heian period, or last week. It’s always a pleasure to meet Gassan-sensei, who is very friendly and humble (and constantly in need of a good haircut 😝). The only downside was the lighting, which was a little bright, so I had to twist my neck constantly to get a look at the details in the blades; that’s also the reason why I didn’t take more photos.
  5. 16 points
    Happy New year folks! Here is a project of mine that I think some might enjoy. This PDF should have all sword related National Treasures (Kokuhō - 122 items), Important Cultural Properties (Jūyō Bunkazai - 792 Items) and former designation Important Art Object (Jūyō Bijutsuhin - 1096 items + 5 EX blades). I have written all of the names in Latin alphabets but I have always included all of the kanji, so you will find lots of signatures in this one. There can be an error or two in the mix as I wrote all of them in by hand and there are thousands of characters to type in. However while doing so I got to check for errors like if years actually are correct, etc. So I kinda did checkup at the same time. There should be 137 Named swords - for which I used term Meitō in this index. There are probably some more in there but for these I have 100% confirmity as I have them in reputable books or online sources from Japan, as well I have the Japanese characters to all of these named swords. How does this work. Well you have 86 pages of swords & items indexed. At first it might seem that there is logic and there is not. First we start with National Tresures, followed by Important Cultural Properties and last the Important Art Objects. This part is logical but the actual placement of items in first two categories are not. As you can see the number in front and you will most likely wonder what it is, here is the explanation for that. I have checked all my data entries to database of Agency for Cultural Affairs. You can find the said database in HERE. They have assigned a number to each item, and I have gone through all the items in crafts section and added them in number by number to make sure there are no duplicates in. The database is only for current designations and as a former category Jūyō Bijutsuhin items are not featured. However I have the old set of books that feature all of the sword related Jūyō Bijutsuhin items, and I have typed them in numerically as they appear in the books. Just note that this is just an index. However you can find some info per item from the database I linked above. Likewise I should have extra information for I guess at least 90% of the swords. But this is just an index and I do have some far superior work in progress to this going on for multiple years. The format is very simple and this should be extremely easy to use. Item number - Item type - Maker - Signature. Few notes, I did not transliterate fitting or koshirae themes as I didn't feel I would get them correct, similarily I didn't type in kinzōgan or kiritsuke mei etc. However for those that I have the data I typed in the kanji so items that you might find interesting you can use the kanji. Same goes for long signatures on the swords. The format is simple, there is just maker and possible year. Signatures are typed in kanji so you can research more on your own. Check it out and I hope it is a fun one, might be totally boring to some. Kokuho & Bunkazai Index.pdf
  6. 16 points
    Over time, I tried new light sources. I only share for enjoy. Jirotaro Naokatsu ko-wakizashi One of my favorite blades
  7. 16 points
    Adam, at this point I do not want to speak on any investments from my side. I do not know the final costs myself (yet), I do not know what the value is when fully restored and papered, I'm only following what I'm being recommended to do by experts, so why discuss something like this? I have received help from this forum and several members in particular, by giving feedback to the current status and additional information I got I try to give some of this help back. That is the reason why I keep this thread alive. So even if the numbers Michael quoted are correct, wouldn't that be my problem what I'm investing in a hobby and as long as I'm happy with it, all should be fine? And finally, it is a bit weird if not rude for you to assume I would only do this for financial benefit and that you are sure it will be put on the market. Several times within this thread I made it clear that a) I can afford all of what so far was done plus b) I don't have the financial need to sell this item and I'm looking forward to the day I'll get it back. While my background surely is not the same of a person who dedicated centuries of his life to the study and collecting of Nihonto, I still can appreciate workmanship and give it a warm and good home as long as I am happy and pleased with it.
  8. 15 points
    Some more photos. The last one shows (from left to right) Gassan Sadatoshi (sitting), Gassan Sadanobu, Inami Ken’ichi (and an unknown visitor). I just couldn’t bring myself to ask them to post for a selfie with me … 🥺
  9. 15 points
    Hi Jim, thank you for sharing the story here and I am just relieved that the sword finally arrived. I will add to this that I needed to open investigations three times with USPS. The cases would be under investigation for a week at a time with no progress or call-backs, and then were simply closed. After this I opened investigations with Consumer Affairs first at the Florida side of the journey and then the California side. In retrospect, perhaps I should have initiated the claim at an earlier point but I continued to receive promises of a call-back "soon" with additional information, which were never fulfilled. As I told Jim in my last email, I am grateful and appreciative of his patience and understanding throughout this long process. Best regards, Ray
  10. 15 points
    Hello, I would like to present my newest Tanto Koshirae. Saya. Working with the shells turned out to be very laborious. I used eggs from the village with a fairly thick shell. It is important to peel off the inner film after boiling, which is best to come off wet. The application lasted about 4 days. Then, filling small gaps and lacquering. During sanding, be careful not to take too much ... Tsuka. Samegawa dyed in the process of 2 natural dyes, which I received from a Japanese professional Tsukamakishi. Tsukamaki. The first time I did a 10-pair braid. The difficulty with more pairs is keeping straight lines on the center of the hishi in the cross section. Therefore, I decided to make the middle part of hishi - using the hineri-maki method. This in turn causes the cross section to be raised and the need for more hishigami / komekami ... The braid is a bit taller / protruding, but it gives a good depth. The braid is fully stitched so the threads do not slip and are tightly stretched. Used jabara is 0,85 mm diameter. My dream is to make a 12-pair braid. However, I can't find the right thickness for the jabaraito anywhere, it has to be about 0.65mm thinner. I used honoki wood. Saya fittings. Koiguchi of copper, rest of buffalo horn. Seppa with filing big teeth of copper. Keep fingers crossed for next better project.
  11. 14 points
    Hello, I wanted to show the last project. The order was for tsukamaki. However, after unwrapping the old braid, SAME was found to be in poor condition. I peeled off and cleaned SAME and then stained it using the traditional method. It was not the end of worries. The new fuchi and kashira needed a new spigot to make the fitter solid. On this occasion, I tried a new way to integrate new wood into the current wood. The wedge-shaped and additional 2 pins for this work gave a good effect. It shouldn't fall apart. Previously, I made flat inserts with 2 pins but I believe that the wedge will hold better if the tsuka was to be used for training. About tsukamaki. I learn something new every time. Currently, I plan to focus even more on shaping the washi paper under the braid. I believe my next tsuka will be even better. Thank You for watching. More photos and video here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/artur_drogamiecza/albums/72157717440581412
  12. 14 points
    Thought I'd share an interesting tsuba from my personal collection. By Hamano Shozui aka Masayuki(1696-1769), founder of the great Hamano School of sword fitting makers and pupil of the legendary Nara Toshinaga. Tokubetsu Hozon papers from 2014. Size: 75.8mm x 70.4mm. The omote side is an armillary sphere, an astronomical device for representing the great circles of the heavens(likely an import from Portugal to the Shogun while they were trading with Japan in 1605). It's carved with incredible skill of depth and perspective in Sukisagebori technique. The ura side is crashing waves among rocks. Both sides together I believe he is conveying a theme of time. The armillary sphere shows a movement of the sky while the ocean tides ebbs and flows weathering away the rocks. Shozui must have been inspired by 金家 (Kaneie) because this type of non-matching components on each side to express one hidden thing is definitely Kaneie’s style. Shozui signed his mei on either ura/back or omote/front of tsubas. Usually when he signed on the back it indicated that this Tsuba was ordered by a higher rank authority than Shozui. Another note is this is signed “穐峰斎”(Kihousai), a very rare signature among the numerous signatures Shozui signed with. I've only seen one other Shozui tsuba signed this way and it's a masterpiece by him.
  13. 13 points
    Hi, My name is Grey Doffin, I live in northern Minnesota, USA, and I have a website dedicated to Nihonto and books on the subject: https://www.japaneseswordbooksandtsuba.com/ I've been studying Japanese swords for nearly 40 years now and buying/selling for most all of them (I'm trying to lose my 1st million). If you check my site today, in late 2020, you'll find a dozen or so swords and koshirae (with more to come soon), 150 to 200 sword fittings (tsuba, menuki, fuchi/kashira, etc), and a very large inventory of books on the subject. I try to have reasonable prices and items to fit a variety of budgets. I try also to be helpful. If you're just getting started with Nihonto feel free to ask questions about any of my pieces; I'll tell you what I think I know. This field can be daunting; there is so much to understand and ample opportunity to make mistakes. If you come to me with a question, I will answer honestly. Promise. Not sure what all I'll do with this space on NMB. As I get some time in the coming days I'll post highlights of some of the pieces on my site; beyond that we'll just have to wait and see. Feel free to post here also; your comments are welcome. If you want to contact me please use my email, not personal message on NMB. Email is easier and I can keep track of our correspondence in folders on my computer. Phone calls, if you live in The States, are fine also. Thanks for stopping, Grey grey@japaneseswordbooksandtsuba.com 218-726-0395 central time
  14. 13 points
    The sword is a family heirloom, rather than a newly-made arsenal sword. The bearer had military mounts made for his family sword. There are many such short swords repurposed for military use. They are often erroneously referred to as "pilot's swords", with the assumption being that pilots would use shorter swords, but I think this site has disproven that claim fairly comprehensively. The inscription (the ones in blue are written by the cutting tester) 乳割土壇払 Chichi-wari dotanbarai 天保十年二月日於江府作 Tenpō jūnen nigatsujitsu oite Kōfu saku 会津住元興 Aizu-jū Moto-oki 同年十月二日於千住神谷清治試之 Dōnen jūgatsu futsuka, oite Senjū Kamiya Kiyoharu tamesu kore Cut across the chest Made in Tenpō 10 (1839) February, Kōfu Moto-oki from Aizu province/city Cutting test performed in the same year, October 2nd, at Senjū, by tester Kamiya Kiyohara So the swordsmith Moto-oki made this sword in February of 1839, and someone had it tested by cutting it across the chest of a cadaver (probably) in October of 1839. I didn't find this tester's name in Guido's list of famous testers, or anywhere else on the internet, so it looks like the tester is someone lost to history. It also looks like the tester didn't have room to write everything on one side, so he continued on the other side, which is slightly unusual. The longer sword is a typical military/arsenal blade.
  15. 13 points
    There has been a great deal of discussion around what one should collect, how one should collect and what is right and wrong. Having been caught up in that debate, in some cases rather uncomfortably, I have taken some time to think about what I do and how I do it, to try and create a framework to help me understand the reasoning behind choices made. Collecting in any field is multi-facetted and everyone is motivated by different things. I think this why misunderstandings and sometimes arguments occur. Debates as to whether something should be polished or otherwise restored often occur because of these differences. For some it is purely a financial decision, for others more emotional and driven by more abstract concepts. While there should be no debate as to how something should be restored, i.e. by someone qualified to do it, there will always be varying views on whether something should be restored or simply conserved. For the sake of transparency I should confirm that my own collection has evolved over almost 40 years. It started as many do by buying anything that appeared to be Japanese and sharp. I accumulated a number of not very good swords. As I learned more and looked at more good swords my searches refined in to some specific areas. About 15 years ago I took the decision to reduce the number and improve the quality of what I held. I did this fairly ruthlessly over the next three or four years until I had what I believed to be the best examples I could afford of the schools I was interested in. Since reaching that point I have added one further blade that I regard as an important addition, but also two or three others simply because I found them interesting or enjoyed what I was seeing in them. Within my current collection which is predominantly work from the Koto period I have two signed koto works and one signed Shinto piece. The remainder are all o-suriage with the exception of an ubu, mumei shin-shinto work. While I am reluctant to say I have stopped collecting I do pretty much believe I have reached the end point in what I can achieve. While it would be foolish to say I will never buy another sword I certainly have no plans or immediate ambition to do so. Having reached this point I have looked at what I believe to be important in this pursuit and how it should be approached. I must also make it clear that this is a personal view; it is not a recommendation, instruction or any form of guidance. It is an explanation of how I have collected. Basic rules to myself: 1. Always study the very best examples of blades that you can find. Take every opportunity you can to look at good quality workmanship. This may be at a museum (although access can prove problematic) viewing days at auctions (less frequent and poorer quality than they used to be) and at sword events and shows such as the DTI, S.F. show and other specialist fairs. Or if lucky looking at swords in other enthusiasts’ collections. 2. Also look on line. The quality of blades published on various websites is exceptional and the images first class. While this is not a substitute for looking at good pieces in hand it is a useful addition and greatly broadens the opportunity to see works that might otherwise not be available. However also be aware that images can be and sometimes are doctored or modified by less scrupulous dealers. By doing the above one can identify which aspects of a sword have the greatest appeal. In good quality blades features such as utsuri, activity within the jigane and hamon etc. are generally more clearly visible and identifiable. Having seen them clearly in these pieces it is easier to identify them in lesser work, or pieces in less than perfect polish. 3. Once you have identified what you like and want to add an example to your collection find the best example you can afford. As has often been said patience is required. By waiting and saving a little longer a better example may become available. However one also needs to be realistic in setting targets and what can be achieved. 4. One of the challenges a collector will ultimately face is that as they learn more they become more discerning and as one colleague once put it “their knowledge surpasses their budget”. As understanding increases one often hears of collectors refining their collection and moving toward the “fewer good quality pieces are a better collection than many mediocre” concept. 5. But then there comes the odd ball. Occasionally, albeit increasingly rarely, a piece may appear that does not fit in to the criteria identified above but it just appeals. It has features that can be enjoyed and appreciated. It doesn’t have to be a great work or by a recognised master it is simply a good thing. However that assessment is not based on “I just buy what I like” it is a view formed after following the steps above and after time studying good workmanship. The nearest comparison I can make is in painting or sculpture. I know the masters I really love and study as much as I can. That study does not stop me appreciating work by lesser painters or from buying work that appeals. Adding this to a collection does not necessarily improve it, add to ones education or understanding, but it can enhance enjoyment. Put simply it can just be a beautiful thing and can be appreciated for that alone. So do I always stick to the above? No, I am human and sometimes for all sorts of reasons I take a flyer, thinking I see something in a particular piece that could make it worthwhile. More often than not I am wrong but I learn though the process. Fortunately that hasn’t happened too often. However if I do get it wrong one thing I have not, nor will I do, is try and pass on my mistake to someone else. If you gamble and it fails live with the consequences. I think we are all motivated by different aspects of collecting. My approach will be different to many and similar to others. There is not a wrong or right way. The important thing is that whichever route one chooses to follow is based on an understanding of the subject and of one’s motives for collecting. Once those are understood it is much easier to enjoy the process.
  16. 13 points
    As I was browsing through my Tōken Bijutsu magazines, I noticed some interesting information. I have pretty much just skipped the yearly report as I have seen it mainly as financial stuff etc. and with my limited Japanese skill is not possible to really read it, I know some info that it contains etc. but now I decided to take a closer look on some sections and I was surprised to see how much info is presented in there. I must say I have probably had bit more conservative number about yearly items, I think I have been in somewhat correct ballpark as I have done research based on paper numbers and what numbers pop up to dealer sites in Japan after shinsa. As this is public information posted on Tōken Bijutsu magazine I do think it is ok to post data I translittered to English in here. NBTHK membership is unfortunately quite rare especially outside Japan. I know many people in the west are bit suspicious about NBTHK and there has been some negativity and slander behind the scenes and out in open too. I know people often still bring up some things that happened way in the past, in order to discredit the current organization. I do believe in open discussion and exchange of information, and I do think NBTHK is doing wonderful things for our tiny hobby (as are many other smaller organizations too). Here are the numbers that NBTHK provided in their yearly report, for some reason In Jūyō results number of swords passes is 100% match but other items do not always match the actual number of items passed on results list? But here are the last 5 years of results for you to study and think about. 2019 Hozon Tōken – 7,106 submitted – 4,749 passed Hozon Tōsō – 333 submitted – 186 passed Hozon Tōsōgu – 3,764 submitted – 2,401 passed Tokubetsu Hozon Tōken – 3,317 submitted – 2,259 passed Tokubetsu Hozon Tōsō – 154 submitted – 102 passed Tokubetsu Hozon Tōsōgu – 1,062 submitted – 841 passed Jūyō 65 Tōken – 997 submitted – 101 passed Jūyō 65 Tōsō – 45 submitted – 8 passed Jūyō 65 Tōsōgu – 287 submitted – 29 passed 2018 Hozon Tōken – 7,433 submitted – 4,978 passed Hozon Tōsō – 345 submitted – 177 passed Hozon Tōsōgu – 3,408 submitted – 2,131 passed Tokubetsu Hozon Tōken – 3,372 submitted – 2,342 passed Tokubetsu Hozon Tōsō – 203 submitted – 103 passed Tokubetsu Hozon Tōsōgu – 854 submitted – 604 passed Jūyō 64 Tōken – 916 submitted – 135 passed Jūyō 64 Tōsō – 63 submitted – 7 passed Jūyō 64 Tōsōgu 296 submitted – 23 passed Tokubetsu Jūyō 25 Tōken – 342 submitted – 70 passed Tokubetsu Jūyō 25 Tōsō – 10 submitted – 2 passed Tokubetsu Jūyō 25 Tōsōgu – 41 submitted – 5 passed 2017 Hozon Tōken – 4,257 submitted – 2,880 passed Hozon Tōsō – 199 submitted – 126 passed Hozon Tōsōgu – 2,600 submitted – 1,646 passed Tokubetsu Hozon Tōken – 1,891 submitted – 1,287 passed Tokubetsu Hozon Tōsō – 106 submitted – 66 passed Tokubetsu Hozon Tōsōgu – 629 submitted – 421 passed Jūyō 63 Tōken – 753 submitted – 140 passed Jūyō 63 Tōsō – 35 submitted – 6 passed Jūyō 63 Tōsōgu – 279 submitted – 29 passed 2016 Hozon Tōken – 7,455 submitted – 4,913 passed Hozon Tōsō – 351 submitted – 196 passed Hozon Tōsōgu – 4,123 submitted – 2,753 passed Tokubetsu Hozon Tōken – 2,771 submitted – 1,893 passed Tokubetsu Hozon Tōsō – 135 submitted – 89 passed Tokubetsu Hozon Tōsōgu – 1,022 submitted – 763 passed Jūyō 62 Tōken – 875 submitted – 149 passed Jūyō 62 Tōsō – 54 submitted – 9 passed Jūyō 62 Tōsōgu – 274 submitted – 29 passed Tokubetsu Jūyō 24 Tōken – 326 submitted – 71 passed Tokubetsu Jūyō 24 Tōsō – 10 submitted – 2 passed Tokubetsu Jūyō 24 Tōsōgu – 27 submitted – 5 passed 2015 Hozon Tōken – 6,984 submitted – 4,594 passed Hozon Tōsō – 367 submitted – 218 passed Hozon Tōsōgu – 3,948 submitted – 2,613 passed Tokubetsu Hozon Tōken – 2,450 submitted – 1,648 passed Tokubetsu Hozon Tōsō – 152 submitted – 107 passed Tokubetsu Hozon Tōsōgu – 940 submitted – 754 passed Jūyō 61 Tōken – 826 submitted – 165 passed Jūyō 61 Tōsō – 49 submitted – 11 passed Jūyō 61 Tōsōgu – 277 submitted – 37 passed
  17. 12 points
    As the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor approaches, thought I would share some pages from a WW2 Japanese publication, detailing their attack. The book contains the strategy, officers, transparent overlays of recon photos, maps etc. I have offered this to the Pearl Harbor Museum, but no reply. Hope you Japanese military buffs enjoy. More photo's can be posted if there is interest.
  18. 12 points
    I live near the auction site and had an opportunity to examine the sword in hand. The blade details were obscured by gunk, but no visible flaws. What appears as possible ware in the photos is gunk on the blade. Very nice shape and good length. But the selling price was a reflection of the fact that astute observers identified this as a probable kamakura nagamaki/naginata blade. See Brian's post above. There are hints of great age in the auction photos. The smaller grove evident on the tang is almost gone, polished down, on the blade(shown clearly on one of the photos on the auction site but not reproduced in this post) and one hole on the tang is clearly not drilled but probably chiseled. The tang also showed great age and was much thicker than the blade indicating a significant number of polishes. The condition of the blade obscured most of the hamon but portions were evident showing what appeared to be a gunome pattern. Impossible to say if the hamon is intact on the entire blade. Still the selling price was more than I was willing to pay due to the cost and uncertainty of restoration/shinsa outcome. I have no knowledge of the identity of the successful bidder and whether that bidder inspected the blade in person,. There was only one day of viewing prior to the auction \and when I was there only one other person looked at the blades. One lesson to be learned is that NOTHING can replace a personal inspection of a blade. Auction pictures/descriptions can be very deceptive making a blade appear much better or worse than it actually is.
  19. 12 points
    This film shows swords being presented by the CO of the 13th Field Coy , Major Carmichael to members of his Company . This occurred at Rabaul on New Britain . The Japanese had dug an extensive tunnel system ( 150 miles according to one report ) at Rabaul and the swords were stored in the tunnels under guard to keep them safe from souvenir hunters. There is a photograph in the Australian War Memorial ( number 98687 ) showing Capt Williams of the 11th Division Headquarters issuing swords to a unit which appears to be at the mouth of one of these tunnels. The photo caption states that there were 7000 swords issued to troops at Rabaul as souvenirs . Years ago I bought a sword off a man who said that they found a back way into the area of the tunnels where the swords were stored . He and his mates drove a jeep into the tunnel, loaded it up with swords pistols and binoculars and drove out again.. Records show that there were 53212 Army troops ( including 3661 officers ) 16218 Naval troops ( including 1222 officers ) and 19861 civilians on Rabaul at the end of the war . If all the above figures are correct then it means that about nearly eight percent of ( or one in every thirteen ) Japanese had a sword with them. There is a list dated 2 Nov 1945 which sets out how the swords were to be allocated . Larger units such as infantry battalions received from 250 to 350 swords depending on their size .Small outfits were allocated smaller amounts commensurate with their size . For example the 11th Div postal unit only received four . The 13th Field company who appear in the film received 96 swords . It was interesting to me that all of them seemed to have tags with the owners name on them and some seemed to have multiple tags . Many years ago I came across a sword which had been bought back by a very senior 11th Division officer . This had a piece of paper with it saying that it was the best sword on Rabaul The blade was signed Kunihiro ( Horikawa ) and it was dated 1606 . It had been carried by a Japanese Captain and was in average quality shin gunto mounts with no mon. Unfortunately it was not for sale so never became part of the Brooks collection. Ian Brooks
  20. 12 points
    For the record: I have entertained this whole discussion because we are a discussion forum. And what is posted is in the interests of collecting. I don’t delete what I don’t agree with, and keep what I do. That said, it would be great if we could all collect top swords only. Ubu swords in great condition, signed and polished. But that’s not reality in this hobby. The majority of us will strive for that, but end up with suriage Shinto or average swords in average condition. And as long as we don’t let our ambitions stay there, and at least study better swords, that is fine. As long as you enjoy your collection, That is just fine. As long as we do no harm to swords we come across, that is just fine. As long as we respect the culture and history of what we are collecting, that is just fine. This is not an either/or situation. Strive for the swords Ray advocates, but collect what you are able to and never feel embarrassed of what you own. This forum will never become elitist or exclusionary. The fact that many members here started out with nothing and ended up with fine papered swords means we are doing something right. Unless I win the lottery, a juyo isn’t in my future. But I enjoy what I own and see some beauty in all of them. Discussion and advice on how to collect is welcome. But let me stress that denigrating anyone or insulting them because of their collecting choices is a fast way out of here.
  21. 12 points
    All Guys and Gals, Sword Freaks and Geeks - Please send out good thoughts, vibes, wishes, etc. today for good success with Brian's surgery. Hope he has a successful surgery and pain relief with quick recovery. Rich
  22. 11 points
    Dear All. In this post Christmas lull I thought some of you might appreciate this. In 1905 The Japan Society in London organised an exhibition of Japanese arms and armour. Contributors include both Siegfried Bing and Lasenby Liberty, both key figures in the Art Nouveau movement, as well as some of the great names in early collecting; Behrens, Dobree, Huish, Garbutt and Church to name but a few. The collection is a snapshot of what was considered at the time to be the best, we might wish to see a different emphasis. There are quite a few blades with horimono and the plates are really too small to make progress with these. A lot of the koshirae are very late and flashy but tsuba fair better both in terms of the plates and the quality. Scholarship was in its infancy and some of the captions to the plates raise an eyebrow here and there. In short it is probably not on everyone's wish list. Just as well, copies are hard to come by. So when one turned up in an unexpected place and for a very reasonable sum I was very happy to get it. Even more so as of the limited number produced, 250 copies, this one is no. 24 and bears a book plate which shows that it came form the library of H Seymour Trower, another early collector and a significant contributor to the exhibition. As I have interests in fin de siècle art and design and the history of collecting this one really ticks a lot of boxes. All the best.
  23. 11 points
    A recent acquisition.... All the fittings have a Japanese number 9, even the locking clip.
  24. 11 points
    The little Tansu in my study room.
  25. 11 points
    Custom case with dehumidifier and locked glass front doors - over blade LED lights and I can sit and look at them all day !!
  26. 11 points
    The bottom sword doesn't rest ther it was out to show the sori...it has its own stand
  27. 11 points
  28. 11 points
    I have been quite vocal on the NMB about certain practices I see that goes against the spirit of education that these types of forums and societies should be about when it comes to the collection of Nihonto and Tosogu. I get called names and berated for being a loudmouth anarchist so let me try an approach that perhaps goes above the intellect of most beginners and will no doubt ruffle the feathers of dubious sellers of which there are some online. A note on collecting swords: I began collecting swords some 20 years ago, in that time I had very little information on what a good Nihonto was and as a University student definitely did not have the budget to buy what I buy today. So, the inevitable happened, I went into martial arts, Kendo and Iaido which eventually led me to buy Chinese made Paul Chen swords and later Bugei versions of the same for Tameshigiri. I thought “What a great sword” later I was introduced to a fellow called Don Bayney who explained the difference between Nihonto and China made swords used for Tameshigiri. He showed me a traditionally forged Gendai blade and I immediately saw a difference in the steel, I was hooked. I couldn’t afford that sword so the next time I went around to his small store he had a Mantetsu waiting, rusted and in terrible shape he lauded its historical significance (even mentioned the railway) and then sold it to me, caked in rust for 250 British pounds. I was over the moon. Fast forward to today and I can say that the fact it took me 13 odd years to get woke about what a good Nihonto is, is a crime on the community and the only reason I am still into swords after being burned to a crisp for 13 years prior is because I know if you keep looking you will see and have the chance to buy great swords one day. It may only be one but if you keep at it you will get the one someday. To date the most I have shelled out on a Nihonto has been for my Fukuoka Ichimonji TJuyo which was considerably more than the Mantetsu all that time ago, Incidentally, I held onto the Mantetsu, eventually got it polished, found the right fittings for it, had it remounted and sold for 4500 USD (I should have put 250 GBP in Amazon quite frankly, but you know, hindsight). In his article Collecting nihontō – what, how and who? The author Guido Schiller explains: “The collector who boasts "I don't know anything about nihontō; I just buy what I like" makes a statement that is not very profound. Of course he buys what he likes. If he doesn't buy what he likes, what does he buy? If he doesn't buy what he likes, he had better not collect. The collector who doesn't know anything about nihontō will benefit by learning.” The first step to collecting must and always will be learning. How do we learn if not by observing the mistakes of others and trying our best to ask the right questions in order not to make cock-ups. Learn, buy books and speak to those that have experience in order to learn so that you can build an internal library of what you envisage your collecting journey to be. The direction may change over time but that is OK, as long as the direction is onward and upward. Collect as an investment, it is a rule I have always lived by and this rule teaches one to respect the hard decision. The hard decision is when someone who knows more than you tells you that you just bought a turd and no matter how much gold you try to dip it in, it is going to be at its core a turd. When an investment is going south and the analyst is telling you there is no means to recovery because of these fundamental facts you know you can either hang on for the ride down or you can cut the loss and put the money into something better later (or sooner) and the market always exists it just depends where you play in this market. Collecting as an investment also shows you respect yourself and your money. Even though I burn bridges I can acknowledge that on the NMB I have met great mentors and some real crooks to boot. “Often dealers, and some collectors, too, advise neophytes in maxim form: "buy your experience". It's a variant of "learn by your mistakes". They mean by this that the toll for mistakes exacted by the purse makes the most unforgettable lesson of all. This advice is tinged with cynicism. It is true, of course, that experience is a great teacher and we must all learn from her, but there is no wisdom in buying first and discovering the mistake second. As the Chinese sages reasoned, the experience by which one learns need not be one's own. One can learn from the experiences of others and save oneself costly errors. The capsule advice of the numismatists "buy the book before the coin" is much sounder advice. The coin book distinguishes the genuine from the counterfeit and gives dates, identification marks, and values. The coin collector avoids mistakes at the small cost of the book and the time to study its pages. In the same way the cost of a good library on nihontō is in most cases much less than that of the purchase of one nihontō that was priced for fine quality, but was actually inferior.” Guido Schiller NB: The cost of a good library will set you back up to 25K USD so take the direction in pace. What is possible is buying a good book or 2 every month. There have been members on the board that state one should research before buying an item. Well research, knowledge is like financing, it is relative. The reason people come to the NMB is to be educated so if the sellers are selling one thing and teaching another well, that 13 year degree I have received kind of a mute decade to be honest. Research is important but more important is being taught how to research (will do something on that later) There are elements to evaluating a good sword and these rules should be followed with conviction: - is the Sugata right? - Look at the Jigane and the condition of the steel - Observe the Hamon - Look at the condition of the Nakago On the Sugata the sword is the sum of all, all, its parts and that includes the Nakago and the Mei should it have one. Never say that the Nakago of a sword is not important, it is the fundamental area that rests in the hands of any warrior and their mark is left on it for generations. When it comes to value and should you be paying X or Y for said sword that has its own scale. For example to make the field level we should look at what makes an item of antiquity valuable: https://www.sothebys.com/en/series/the-value-of-art Do not take my word for it, above are detailed rationale from the industry experts. In my next post I would like to talk about Suriage swords and then about Mumei swords. I hope I have not ruffled too many feathers.
  29. 11 points
    Gentlemen, Before you get too carried away with master plans to send or not send to Japan or whatever can I suggest a good first step might be to let someone with some experience look at it in hand? Steve if you pm me your contact details I will try and put you in touch with a member of the Token of GB who is closest to you. In hand they can better judge what it is and condition and advise you on the next step. Regards Paul
  30. 10 points
    Our regional NBTHK meeting Saturday evening, 12 December 2020. This blade has a very early Mié registration card, suggesting it may have been kept in a Jinja there. The Saya attributes it to Yamato work, 6th century. The blade has no Yaki. The Nakago is quite frail so we were requested not to pick it up without Habaki and Tsuka fitted. Photos follow with luck.
  31. 10 points
    Thanks Ray.👍 I posted it on Facebook « Nihonto Group » and got within 12 hours 5 positive answers, all willing to buy it at once 😃
  32. 10 points
    Hi. The mei Tetsuō(銕王) was a pen name of Moritaka盛高(RJT smith)in Kumamoto . Thanks Hidas for the pic.
  33. 10 points
    Hello, Just to share with you this nice tsuba signed Echizen Kinai saku with Mount Fuji and bird.
  34. 10 points
    Congratulations Piers. It's certainly the same compared to the tang that Jacques showed us. Picking up a sword in a book is a rare luck.
  35. 10 points
    You are both correct. But I don’t think I’m the same kind of collector as you are. You obviously are art collectors. I am not. I’m a history collector. For me, what the sword has been through is as important, even more important than its quality. I see a lot of Juyo swords on the web. They are beautiful, but are they really that more beautiful? What makes the difference is who made the,, who possessed it, etc... and let’s face it, you never see a Juyo that belonged to Samurai X, it’s always a great warrior, a Daimyo, from a great name... To me, it doesn’t matter that much. When I teach history at school, I always like to try and establish a relationship between my students and History . I show Them objects, tell them everyday life stories of that time. I try and make History alive by mixing it with Storytelling. I think that when a link is established, things get more personal and relatable. For me, swords are the same. I’m a dreamer. I far prefer a simple koshirae with iron fittings to a gilded, adorned Tsuba and saya. Those speak more of everyday's life, of Everyman. But don’t you think that this is the beauty of a hobby? We are all here, sharing the same love for swords, but for different reasons. You get to meet people with an incredible knowledge in art, or steel properties, or the knowledge of stamps for the WW2 collector. This is just like being a kid in a candy store here. Everyone can get his helping of his favorite sweet and compare. This is also why we need to respect everyone's view or opinion here. No one is right or wrong, we all see different perspectives of a same passion.
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