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Showing content with the highest reputation since 01/17/2020 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
    I'm back! The Tadayoshi did indeed make many styles of Hamon ---and the world recognised signature pieces were suguha. But not just any suguha….THE suguha. The forgers jumped on this bandwagon, and anything with suguha was faked into gimei Tadayoshi with varying degrees of signature quality from that akin to a 2 year old drawing in sand with a chopstick, to the Hizen Kaji itself adding the signatures. Some rare genuine pieces are in the more flamboyant choji midare, gunome etc and I suspect were special orders. The Oshigata books are full of them, but they rarely surface in the flesh, and when they do, they command very high prices and great care is necessary. The bulk of the works we see are therefore suguha- and in really nice suguha with some fine, often missed, ashi sometimes (4th and 5th if I recall correctly), and nijuba (2nd Gen), bright nioiguchi (2nd gen), nie deki in dark nie (1st gen) , flawless (3rd Gen)and so forth. Since the wilder hamon are buried deep in collections and rarely seen, the tendency is to assume they are gimei when they do show up. If you see a suguha sword, most jump straight to the Tadayoshi and if the hamon is lifeless, then clearly NOT the work of this school. The reality is that far more suguha gimei are out there, and unfortunately, some 85% of the overall Tadayoshi swords/oshigata/images I come across are in my opinion outright gimei, maybe 10% are in the 'not sure' bracket, and 5% have me drooling. The 10 % is the grey ‘floating world’ of gimei and all sorts of theories expound, but they can be really, really good. In short, its not JUST the signature, but the message the whole sword puts out. No I am not high! What I do when I see the wild hamon type swords is to put a great big question mark in the equation. In fact, the best approach is to not have any sword fever at all, and start with a gimei approach, the aim being to find signs that prove it is genuine and try to take the hoarder/gold fever attitude out of the equation as the heart beats faster. So the question is.... is this sword genuine. Since I presume no-one bought it who commented, it is now an easy option to say probably gimei, feel good about it and move on, but I don’t think that does this sword justice. I once saw an old collector at the SFO show years ago sit for two days behind the dealers table with a single sword he was contemplating buying – just getting to know it and listen to it he said! The sword, from what I can see (which isn't much) , doesn't have any obvious flaws and looks nice quality with a good colour to the steel. It gives an impression of quality, not junk. In no particular order...... The almost O-Kissaki and boshi is great with a Hizen type kaeri (I think that is what is there- an even tightish turnback without the wavy midare carried into the actual turn itself?). It’s a stoutly (very stout) proportioned sword, with an unusually short nakago and a signature that fills the nakago…… almost tsunobi tanto style --- so if it is only JUST a wakizashi in cutting length, then that's good news because there seemed to be a penchant for tsunobi (oversize 1 shaku 1 sun) tanto within this school (ie you don't often see small tanto, but you do see technically short wakizashi over 1 shaku, with tanto type proportions – tsunobi tanto), hence the rather short nakago ** (more later). Koshirae is possibly changed but ---glimpse of a Hizen Namban type of tsuba, a glimpse of lovely menuki in quality shakudo and gold, a glimpse of a silver dragon kanamono on the dried up saya ripe for restoration. Kind of points to a higher value owner than a hunter killer impoverished Samurai. Onto the nakago ----- well the nakago shape is good for the early generations, rounded V shaped nakagojiri, yasurimei are good quality, patina suggests maybe early Edo, if you go with a tsunobi tanto, then signature size and placement is kind of Ok. So I am thinking Hizen kaji work and haven't really seen anything to say it isn't yet. I love the powerful blade shape, and the short nakago maybe significant as the nakago wouldn’t be long enough to chop through your Xmas Turkey or opponents thigh bone in one stroke. The all important Mei. What I don't like: One chisel stroke in the Zen kanji runs into the nakago-mune. Hmmm. I would have been more comfortable if the mekugi-ana had pieced the left chisel strokes. Kind of suggests that the mei was added AFTER the mekugi ana and squeezed into place. I don't know what they did in this respect, but was told by an old Japanese sword master a few years back that the sword was a utility weapon, and was made into a sword after the smith made it. So you would expect the entire sword blade including the signature to be made first, and the hole placed later by the person fitting the koshirae who was more concerned with fitting the tsuka than the smiths signature. Not sure on this point but it makes sense........( Incidentally he also said once a sword was chipped or damaged, it was retired from use since your life depended on its structural integrity. I would suggest that depended on the depths of your pockets. I digress but all those Sengoku Jidai battle blades we collectors hold in high esteem with hakobori he thought of as junk!). What else is not right ......Kanji spacing is a little suspect but hard to discern on an oblique picture. The bottom TADA and YOSHI seem wider apart than the upper kanji ---almost as if they are set apart from the rest of the signature to say – “look at me ---- and don’t look anywhere else”- could be the angle but it is a question mark in the process. I usually run on 3 strikes and you are out--- right now we have a (probably) tsunobi tanto shape ( ** more later) but not a problem , with a wilder hamon than usual, again not a problem but care should be exercised, possibly awkward spaced kanji (maybe a problem) and a stroke runoff the edge (problem). What I do like : the vertical stroke in the kanji Tada is exactly correctly placed for X smith. The kanji are well cut, and let’s face it, up there with the actual smiths. Whoever applied this signature was in the upper end of his knowledge of this school, whether it was a master himself, or very good faker, or ......... the kaji itself. None of the kanji are out of place for this school in terms of shape and stroke ---none that I have spotted yet! We now take a while to let this sink in before returning to the kanji, and digress a little. The same Iaido master in Tokyo told me (and who am I to doubt him), that the castles in the castle towns were also repositories for weapons. Swords were stockpiled in times of peace for times of war. Thousands of them. And significantly many/most/all? were unsigned as they were churned out by the deshi and masters for the stockpile. The finest pieces went as gifts or were sold, the rest into the stockpile – unsigned. When hard times fell upon the Samurai (1800's onwards) and the CEO (Daimyo) was looking for cutbacks --- guess where the stockpiled swords ended up! Back in circulation ... but mumei swords were plentiful and what was required were swords made, and more significantly signed, by the masters (who were now dead). Add this to the grey production lines that the Daimyo did not control , and hey presto the actual 4th Gen sword with a faux 4th gen signature becomes reality... kaji made 'gimei'. Yup --- this throws a big spanner in the sword world... thank goodness it isn't rife in the armour world! I have that sword – a 4th gen blade, with a 4th gen signature, dated 1819 (8th gen was around 14years old). Un-papered of course but everything screams 4th gen except the inscribed date (which if anyone is aware is smack in the middle of the leaderless Kaji as the 8th gen was still too young, and the 6th & 7th recently departed this world)! Back to the ** short nakago issue. The same Iaido Master also told me that if you ever see a disproportioned (in length) nakago on a wakizashi size sword, it is PROBABLY a merchants sword. Remember they didn't fight, and could not wear a katana being limited to wakizashi. They carried fine pieces, high quality, but of little real fighting use due to the shortened tsuka. There was simply no need for a larger tsuka because if the merchant ever put his hand on it, he would probably be cut down in the blink of an eye. Best not touch it! They could afford the masters works and the flamboyant hamon, and often glamorous koshirae, and wanted the signed pieces. I am also thinking no self respecting trained killer of a samurai is going to put a silver kanamono dragon on his ro-iro saya. Incidentally the old Iaido Master’s grandfather was friendly with a local Daimyo, and they both had a passion for swords (he showed me the photo at his house one evening). Anyway, the Iado Sensei inherited the old family house, and had it restored. He found over 160 swords stashed in the attic and was slowly selling them off (I bought a few over the years) including a really nice Shodai Tadayoshi leaf yari that papered– and the usual bunch of (subsequent) gimei other smiths – stick to what you know! So that is where I am at with this sword --- possibly a tsunobi tanto, (someone is now going to post its length as 1 shaku 9 sun or something, rather than 1 shaku 0 Sun 8 Bu and shoot me down ! ), possibly a merchants sword in nice koshirae, and I would give it a shot at 80% genuine 1st gen and worthy of more research -note I did not say Shinsa in Japan as the last few swords I sent a while back to the NBTHK came back Horyu (undetermined). Did I say 1st gen? Slip of the pen but it got everyone’s attention. I am still pouring over the oshigata references, but I like it and am actually leaning towards 1st gen C1621 or a good gimei (not run of the mill). The ONE kanji that really cracks the Shodai question is the top of the HI kanji and the number of strokes top right – which was 3 for the Shodai and 2 for the other smiths – and that is the kanji we don’t see here (funny old thing)! The only solace is that had there been a couple of serious bidders, it could have hit a much higher price way outside of my now wife limited retirement budget of $4 per month. Had I seen it earlier and posted this, I guess the price would have been a lot higher than the rather pitiful $2,000 (sob sob). It is not 100% gimei and IMHO worthy of further research, and despite my setbacks with the NBTHK, even (dare I say it) worthy of Shinsa, otherwise known as “passing the buck” Hopefully some insight into suguha hamon, and gimei/shoshin appraisal (of Tadayoshi). Don’t you just hate it when a potential bargain slips past in the night! Rog
  31. 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.
  32. 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 😃
  33. 10 points
    I find sometimes, the smaller things that draw me to Nihonto, are quite joyous. This is a thoughtful gift from my brother, with many thanks. Looking at Tamahgane, not only did it draw me closer to Nihonto, the forging process and knowledge/skill needed, but to family as well. For this, I am thankful! I wish, I could capture the middle stone's deep sea blue, or midnight sky color, and imagine the possibilities... beautiful. Just thought I would share. Happy and safe Holiday season to all.
  34. 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.
  35. 10 points
    Hello, Just to share with you this nice tsuba signed Echizen Kinai saku with Mount Fuji and bird.
  36. 10 points
    This is a link to a little film we just finished up. It features a fairly typical Soten tsuba that I gave a bit of TLC to. It may be a little basic for the specialist audience here but you may enjoy the images anyway, and they're really big and you're all getting on a bit now so eyesight is no doubt not what it once was 😆😉
  37. 10 points
    Hi all just used an old japanse worn out butchers table to display love seeing all you pictures, great initiatives have a great day erwin
  38. 10 points
    Hello This forum has been a pleasure to read and I very much appreciate all the knowledge here, for a new collector like me it has been a great resource Wanted to post a picture of my first blade, a katana. Yamashiro Minamoto Kunimichi Tokubetsu Hozon papers and sayagaki by Sato Kanzan Wondering about the meaning of the kikumon on the nakago was this a common practice? Thanks Jason
  39. 10 points
    Hi Adam. I have enjoyed your posts and you post pictures of a lot of your things, which are really quite nice. I hope that you stick around. I have tried to avoid the "fray" which often emerges in these threads, other than offering a jibe or two in a humorous way if possible. In your recent post, you seem to be asking for some feedback as to what you might change to improve the situation. The majority of NMB people never or rarely get into these conflicts. There is a small number that gets into more than their fair share of arguments that get personal, sometimes rather quickly. I have not done a proper study of the posts that lead up to these fracases, either yours or generally; I will leave that to a retired psychiatrist. However, I have observed that there are a few traits found in posts that can reliably induce conflict. You might ask yourself if any of these apply to you. 1. Making definitive statements about either a topic that is uncertain or an area that the poster does not know well. 2. Being argumentative and arguing small points that are either not important or are completely inconsequential. 3. Being overly critical about items that NMB members have decided to share (not only can this one hurt the victim, but it can also be expensive). 4. Getting defensive when others disagree or criticize. 5. Assuming a superior attitude or prescriptive judgement on what is good and what is not. These are just some of the common posts that might trigger a conflagration. Items 1 and 2 are mostly irritating, but items 3-5 can often be taken personally. Many of us do one or another of these on the odd occasion but there have been only a few people, including the dearly departed Ray, who do these things with regularity. Once that happens, the patience of the others wears thin and the responses to even a single transgression can be swift. I hope you find this useful, as it is intended to be constructive. Cheers, Bob
  40. 10 points
    Brian, looks like you have found an Amachi gendaito. There were 3 brothers?: eldest? Masatsune middle? Kanenaga youngest? or son? Yoshimasa. All made Seki showato and these are seen with nakirishi mei signatures, but I seem to remember reading that all were trained gendaitosho and also made gendaito, or put it this way...I definitely remember seeing each smith's swords with nakirishimei by Seki gunto cutter but ALSO self cut high quality mei...like yours. I had one by in the 1980s (when Steven was a boy) by Kanenaga so did some research (not much). Here is a page of that research with the 3 mei. At least it is a start...I think you will find heaps of info/pics/mei etc with on-line search etc. Oh, edit to add...two of the Amachi swords I had in hand had identical mounts to yours...probably had an "in house" mounter.
  41. 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.
  42. 10 points
    Unfortunatly i lost some of the oshigatas i made by storing it in the cloud (i cleaned up the storage - it seems i do it very carefully). These are the six oshigata i have found in record for some of the swords in my collection. Maybe you find it usefull and you have selfmade Oshigata? I would enjoy it if you show it. The NMB has a very good remembrance in the world wide web. Making these oshigatas is a good training for me to study the details of a sword. From left to right: 1. Muromachi Sadanobu Wakizashi 2. Muromachi Mino Wakizashi (mumei) 3. Nanbokucho Kuninobu Tachi 4. Koto Senjuin (possible Uda) Wakizashi 5. Koto Chikushi Naginata 6. Gendai-to Morinobu Katana
  43. 10 points
    Let me start by saying that Guido Schiller is a huge wind up merchant and is probably not in any way good for my health. He 'generously' sent me a link to this thread suggesting it'd amuse me. So...here I am🤪 I had a good look at the images before reading any opinions. I formed my own 'take' on the set completely independently of those posted previously here. My first impression, and it remains so, it that the entire koshirae is original. The copper metalwork workmanship is unmistakably 'en-suite'. The only feature that stands out, in an awkward way, is, to my eyes, the rough file marks and outline of the kogai atari on the fuchi. The same feature on the other side, for the kozuka, appears to be neatly and delicately shaped and filed. But, significantly, it also clearly has traces of silvering still present in the textured area. This is quite absent on the other side, the rough one. Now, as has been pointed out, there's no way copper implements like the kogai and kozuka, even the steel blade, could create that sort of 'yasuri-mei' pattern in copper. So we can safely rule our wear. Adam (Babu) stated quite emphatically, early on in this thread that This is incorrect, as the descriptive term 'yasuri-mei' might suggest. In fact, a filed ground is a fairly common feature on tosogu. We see it most frequently on the soft metal liners of hitsu-ana on tsuba, for example. It appears specifically to have been applied where there was a possibility of some 'metal to metal' contact. This type of finish hides well minor scuff marks that would otherwise be glaringly obvious and unsightly on a polished ground. So we have one anomaly in an otherwise perfectly matched and well preserved period piece. I would suggest that the absence of any traces of silvering might mean that someone worked on that area sometime after the whole koshirae was first completed. The work carried out is clearly not as careful or skilled than the original work. The 'yasuri-mei' on the untouched side are very even and quite fine, and the out-line is neat and a pleasing curve, and was silver, which would have echoed the moon on the habaki and looked quite stylish when the kogai was withdrawn, a nice 'surprise'. To create all of that elegantly takes a great dal of hand skill, experience and attention to minute detail. Whoever attempted to rework the other side simply wasn't good enough to match the level of skill required. They lost control of the outline, the shape became less than elegant, and the file marks are uneven, with occasional lines noticeably deeper, which in turn creates a less refined effect. And the silvering wasn't re-applied. We can speculate as to why this additional work was carried out, possibly there was a blemish of some sort, a knick or some verdigris for example...I've seen far worse as the result of well meaning restoration by inexpert restorers. There you have it, my opinion, for what it's worth, and including previously unnoticed and crucial evidence, to wit the traces of silvering. 🤓 I should like to add that no amount of experience as an engineer, in modern times, will provide any insight at all into the subtitles of hand working copper, or any of the metals, ferrous and non, at this level of finesse in the Japanese tradition. So can we please all agree not to toss irrelevant credentials about on this forum like they might actually mean something? They don't, and are only being used to claim some authority where none exists. I'd go so far as to say that it's a bit like claiming special insight into Rembrandt's technique because you've been a painter and decorator for 40 years. I bet some of you wish now that you'd let sleeping dogs lie...🙊 oh, and just for the record, as part of my training to become a master goldsmith...a real qualified one with papers 'n s**t, I had to study metallurgy, and gemmology. But the most valuable skill one learns on the way to becoming a master craftsman, like Drurer, Da Vinci, Bernini, Holbein et al, is that of seeing....and then trying to understand accurately what it is you see.
  44. 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.
  45. 10 points
    Wow. Where to start..... You aren’t going to sell a $12k sword here without at least an intro and details such as where you are and decent references. With a description straight from Showa22 I think, and old papers, we really expect more effort. Why wasn’t it submitted for new papers?
  46. 9 points
    You are asking two possibly complicated questions: value and equivalence. Its not a high value art sword, or even a high value antique, but value is subjective. Despite the funky signature, it does look like an authentic Japanese sword, possibly several hundred years old. Sub $500 on today's market, would be my guess. But I think everyone on this board would cringe at it being called a Walmart sword. Its a real Japanese sword (at least, it looks like one from the pictures), so it has real history, and at one point it had real utility and value. In the hands of a properly trained togishi (polisher), its old glory could well be restored. This is nothing you can buy at Walmart. And we get so many people on the board who proudly post their first purchase, only to find out that it is a Chinese-made replica. You are already through that minefield unscathed, so that's why it feels wrong to write this off as some mass-produced piece of junk. The other thing is: if you (or us) get into the habit of denigrating these old swords, its a very short step to abusing them, subjecting them to the old "sandpaper polish", or otherwise trashing them with the justification that they are "junk".
  47. 9 points
    Hi Axel & Jean, Masaru Emoto is 20th / 21st Century. The popular reference may come from a late Edo period publication called "Hokuetsu Seppu" Snow Stories of North Etsu Province, a kind of Encyclopaedia compiled by a merchant called Suzuki Bokushi in 1837. Hokuetsu Seppu contains studies into Snow crystals by Doi Toshitsura, Daimyo of Koga. He wrote a book called Sekka Zusetsu (A Study of Snowflakes) in 1832. How apt a title for today........🤪 https://dl.ndl.go.jp/info:ndljp/pid/2536974
  48. 9 points
    For a nice Japanese military display, there is nothing nicer than to have a collection of WW2 Japanese medals with the display. Japanese medals are arguably some of the most ornate and beautiful ever made, most of pure silver. Particularly if they are in their original presentation boxes, some have original papers. I have spent years finding the best examples, of campaigns, celebrating the Emperor, killed in action, wounded in action etc etc. When I have worked out a value, they will be in the for sale section. And free gifts with purchase thrown in as well.
  49. 9 points
    Hi all thought I would share deffently the best sword I have owed. Hard to believe this is a war time Smith. Would love to here everyones thoughts on this one Thanks Brodie
  50. 9 points
    Honesty and collecting, is that even possible? The first step towards honesty would be to say: no! As a collector, I have to know that emotions and passion are valuable, but unfortunately also dangerous companions. They can blind you and trick you into lying to yourself. Then there is money, a lot of money. An explosive mix! Then there is greed, status, recognition. Some things affect you more, some things affect you less. But it affects you. Knowledge is important, but relative. Even after 30 years I sometimes have a blade in front of me and a big question mark over me. But even 30 years are relative. About 20 years ago I called a collector near me whom I didn't know personally before. I was interested in meeting. The first thing he told me on the phone was that he has been collecting for 25 years. On site I quickly realized that he had actually been collecting for a long time. He also had a high opinion of his swords. In fact, he knew next to nothing, unfortunately, only what others had said about some of his swords. For example, as soon as I took a closer look at a particular blade, I noticed his suspicion. Well that was 20 years ago and this collector has been collecting for 45 years. As I hear from him now and then, I know that he hasn't really developed since then. But do I really have the right to judge it? Everyone pursues this hobby for a variety of reasons. And may everyone be happy with it in his own way. My goal was less to collect, but to study the Nihonto. I hated getting three different opinions from three different "professionals". So I had to study and, above all, train my eye. Yes, books are good, but they are of limited help in the beginning. That's why I don't like the often read phrase "buy yourself books first". It is more important to see blades. Lots of blades, and especially good blades. I did that at meetings of the NBTHK EB. I'd seen a lot of blades before, but they weren't the same. It was like a revelation! I started all over again and really began to learn. But in addition to "seeing" it is damn important to "let your pants down" and fill out and hand in your Kantei slip of paper. I learned a lot here, especially when I was wrong. But Mr. Hagenbusch always tried to deduce why you wrote down xy although it was yz. But unfortunately this Kantei game was not always popular with other members. Yes, I have collected. I was a hunter. I had good pieces and wanted better ones. I was never really satisfied. That´s the dark side... But more than 10 years ago I made a cut and sold almost everything. That gives me a freedom that I don't want to miss anymore! I enjoy seeing good blades and continuing to learn. I don't have to "own" it anymore. It gives me a certain unpredictability in judging blades. But in the end I want to be honest here too. You can't get rid of the virus. And when I see good blades, the little devils on my shoulder give everything. So much for passion and emotions. That was a couple of thoughts from me. Please excuse my bad english!
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