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  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. $6.750 (plus shipping and PayPal). Please email raymondsinger@gmail.com with any questions. Kind regards, Ray
  3. 16 points
    Over time, I tried new light sources. I only share for enjoy. Jirotaro Naokatsu ko-wakizashi One of my favorite blades
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  6. 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.
  7. 14 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 13 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 …
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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.
  15. 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
  16. 11 points
    The little Tansu in my study room.
  17. 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 !!
  18. 11 points
    The bottom sword doesn't rest ther it was out to show the sori...it has its own stand
  19. 11 points
    Lucky to get the right one..
  20. 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.
  21. 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
  22. 10 points
    Hello, Just to share with you this nice tsuba signed Echizen Kinai saku with Mount Fuji and bird.
  23. 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
  24. 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
  25. 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
  26. 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
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. 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
  30. 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.
  31. 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.
  32. 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?
  33. 9 points
    Like many of us this year, a Non Profit Org (Youth For Understanding USA) important to me is having a brutal time dealing with Covid and the international lockdowns. The NMB could also use some support too. The first $50 from this sale goes to NMB. The rest will go to Youth for Understanding as soon as I confirm the buyer receives and keeps the tsuba. Up for Sale is a very enjoyable tsuba that the NBTHK Hozon papers say is Shoami. I felt it is Akasaka, due to the 3 layer construction and other evidence. Either way, I've enjoyed owning. Size: 7.65cm x 7.2cm x 5mm PRICE: $425 + shipping. PM me any questions, though I've had some difficulties with NMBs message system recently. Please be patient. Curran
  34. 9 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. 9 points
    If you are interested in WW2 Fukumoto Amahide, his Seki workshop and support tosho, I have done a compilation and Brian has posted on Downloads. Hope it will be of use. Mal
  36. 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
  37. 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.
  38. 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
  39. 9 points
    No, I can't say I do know everything...even in my chosen speciality of fine metalwork. But to suggest that I'm just like you, and 'still learning' misses a pretty significant difference. What I offer is based on my 40 years of craft specific experience, literally 100's of XRF analyses and 100's of restoration jobs on some of the very finest Japanese metalwork available (not ebay dross). There's nothing that immediately comes to mind with regard to shibuichi that remains vague or a mystery to me. I absolutely would not say, at this stage, that there is anything lost from how shibuichi was made or worked, certainly not in my understanding of the subject. And to reiterate, this is based on 40 years experience as a professional Goldsmith, training in Japan, countless hours of scientific analysis and 1000's of pages of textual research. I will state unequivocally that when newly made and traditionally patinated shibuichi alloys exhibit a grey tone. The exact shade of grey, nezumi-iro, is dependant on the actual silver percentage AND how long the alloy mix was held at liquidus, or allowed to stew when fully melted. For a detailed explanation on the making and processing of shibuichi you can watch this film we just posted last week. Shibuichi exhibits a finely granular surface structure, a bit like a stone wall, with particles of silver seemingly embedded in a copper matrix. This structure is what gives rise to the characteristic 'nashiji' surface effect in shibuichi. It also means that when the silver and/or copper particles are acted upon by pollutants they can each develop different oxides, chlorides and sulphides. Silver can develop a layer of silver sulphide and then the shibuichi turns very dark, almost back. Or, it may develop silver chlorides, and turn the patina decidedly green. The copper component can become redder or blacker...,or even more green than the tone silver chloride causes, at which point there's a real corrosion problem, again, depending on the pollutants in the immediate environment of the shibuichi. I've worked on a number of very fine shibuichi pieces, Unno Shomin, Unno Moritoshi, Kaigyokusai Kazuhisa et al, where they've been needed to be dismantled to some degree. Panels in frames, boxes, stands with feet etc, and often found that their lovely greenish or brown tinted shibuichi patina wasn't in evidence in the areas that had been covered or otherwise protected from the atmosphere or handling. On those, untouched, surfaces the patina was unchanged and perfectly grey, and often startlingly fresh, as though done the day before. As a specialist, with the additional advantage of greater scientific and metallurgical insights (I stand on the shoulders of others here) than those that were available to Edo workers I'm advantaged in having a better understand the mechanisms by which all of this comes about. But, after a couple of hundred years of using the alloy Japanese metalsmiths of the Edo period knew what effects were stable and what would likely happen to pieces over time. I've even read accounts in period diaries that mention the need to have tosogu periodically refinished, so some degree of ongoing maintenance was not uncommon but deliberately applying effects that would lead to damage or the 'muddying' of the work's visual impact simply isn't something that I've found any evidence for. To summerise, shibuichi is grey, of various tones dependant on silver content. But, beyond the exact control of the maker the final patina colour can also be affected by the melting time and conditions. Any other hints of colour are the result of later interactions between the surface patina and immediate environmental conditions. Some of these later developments in the surface patina are stable, while some are ongoing and will result, eventually, in significant surface degradation. Adam, I'm also very curious to know why you think that "Some of the skills are also lost." I assume this is with reference to the subject at hand, shibuichi, or why else would you mention it?
  40. 9 points
    All, Several topics have become entangled here, so please bear with me. Firstly - the whole leather situation. Japan was in fact a large user of leather despite the fact that the raw skins and the leather workers were regarded as unclean. Several native sources were used including deer and horses but the supply was totally inadequate and hides needed to be imported. Quantities of buffalo skins came in from China and SE Asia that was converted into rawhide or nerigawa. Sakakibara Kozan states that that produced in Nagato and Suwo were best. In 1604 and 1635 it is recorded that some 250,000 deer skins were imported from Siam and Cambodia (Yoneo Ishii, www.asjapan.org/web.php/lectures/2002/04). Large quantities of rawhide, including that made from buffalo skin, when suitably lacquered, was used in the making of armour. as did deer skins. It seems that when processed into something it was no longer defiling. A softer white leather was a speciality of Himeiji. Deer skins were first washed in the local river and then dried.The stiff rawhide was then treated by trampling with rape seed oil for hours to give the soft white leather. This was then usually treated in three ways: firstly by smoking to give fusube gawa. This involved fastening the skin on a drum above a small furnace in which was burnt either straw or pine needles. The former gave yellow colours, the latter browns. The leather could be patterned by folding, binding with cords or pasting paper cut-outs on the surface. Fusube gawa was mainly used in situations where rubbing could occur such as the linings of armour. The second method was by stencilling to give e-gawa, often in patterns involving shi shi lions amid peony foliage in blue with flowers in red. The third method was to dye the leather.A common pattern, shobu gawa, involved rows of stylized iris leaves and flowers in white on an indigo dyed ground. This was done by carving the patterns in relief in wooden battens and binding them onto the leather wrapped around a drum. When dyed in indigo, the wood patterns prevented the dye reaching the leather under them giving a white pattern on the blue ground. See: 'Leather in Warfare' edited by Quita Mould, Conference proceedings, Royal Armouries ISBN 9780948092763 I forgot the cuir bouilli bit. In reality it was just moulded rawhide. To make a helmet or mask, the hide was stretched over a wooden block carved to the required shape and dried. Where the leather needed to be concave, small nails were hammered in. When fully dry and translucent it then underwent a long lacquering process to prevent it absorbing moisture. For helmets, several shapes were made and nested together, either glued or sewn with rawhide thongs. I have one such helmet which has 4 layers of hide making up the thickness. Provided the lacquer kept the moisture out it made excellent armour, but if cracked, the hide swelled and soften and the piece was ruined. Ian Bottomleyi
  41. 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!
  42. 9 points
    Hi John This is a great question and I have asked it myself many years ago. Jussi is the best source for this but let me give it a crack. Many define the O-Kissaki as the shape that appeared in the Nanbokucho period however, there is evidence that some (very few) schools made extended kissaki before that time. The shapes of swords that came after the Mongol invasions attributed to the new shape of swords but even at the time of the early Kamakura some sword schools were experimenting with new styles. To define O-Kissaki I wish to note that I will omit the converted Naginata Naoshi blades, indeed some Naginata that were converted to larger Kissaki are wonderful and imposing in Sugata but they do not count. I will focus on swords with Kissaki that extend 4 cm and above with specific width over 2.5 cm in width. There will be Aoe blades that are longer in Kissaki but more slender (these are more extended Chu-Kissaki), I am open to the other members rebuttal on these measures. The Ideal O-Kissaki is over 3 cm in width and over 4 cm in length not exceeding 7.5 cm, in my opinion (Sadamune, Chogi, Motoshige, etc) There is evidence of Ko-Hoki (later Heian Ko-Hoki) making blades with extended Kissaki, this is a nice reference since we know that Masamune and Norishige used Ko-Hoki as a reference to their own eventual styles of Sugata, although the most beautiful Masamune (all Mumei so I leave that for another discussion) do not have overly extended Kissaki, they are just right so to say. Continuing into early Kamakura and there are very few examples from Ichimonji and Yamato that show extended kissaki but these may also be reshaped blades, hard to tell. Moving into the Mid-Kamakura we get Miike swords(love Miike myself), robust and powerful with intimidating shape that show the features of extended kissaki (still before the Mongol invasions of 1274 and 1281). But then we move to the golden age of sword constructs where almost every school begins to show O-Kissaki construction. Out of anticipation of the returning Mongol invasions no doubt, but impressive Sugata with massive Kissaki. Ichimonji (later schools), Mihara, Sairen in Chikuzen, and finally leading into the Soshu schools that really perfected the O-Kissaki and lent their skill to Soden Bizen. In my opinion the most magnificent O-Kissaki stem from Sadamune (Soshu) and then, (Soden-Bizen) Chogi, Kanemitsu, etc during the Nanbokucho. Were they preparing for another Mongol invasion, had the Japanese learnt more about armour from their enemies and then incorporated the best aspects into their construction at the time so the swords needed to answer that development? I am sure the armour groups here can answer that. What does become clear is that the next time we see the beauty of O-Kissaki after the Nanbokucho is during the Shin-Shinto period and that should be of note as to the use of such blades where Kiyomaro made outstanding Sugata that broke the status quo. In addition to O-Kissaki I think take into account the Kasane and Motohaba / Sakihaba as that tells you a lot about the robustness of the sword, for example, if you see Chogi (or Miike for that matter) it is not only about the O-Kissaki but the blade itself is wide and thick. Aoe has extended Chu-Kissaki that some mistake for O-Kissaki but this school is clear in its intention, some (few) late Nanbokucho follow the trends of Soden-Bizen and earlier blades are Chu-Kissaki and then extended Chu-kissaki and earlier ones will be Ko-kissaki. Conclusion, if you wan the best Koto O-Kissaki look at Soden-Bizen blades.
  43. 8 points
    Up for sale is a Wakizashi attributed to Sendai Kunikane with Koshirae and NBTHK Hozon. Beautiful blade with stunning Masame hada and Suguha hamon. NBTHK doesn't say which generation Kunikane, but the quality of the forging hints at one of the earlier generations. Nagasa is 48.8cm, 6X31mm at the machi, 4X21mm at the yokote. Unaltered and in very good polish. Comes with a nice kosherae and shirasaya to complete the package. Shipping to the US only. $4000 net to me gets it to your door.
  44. 8 points
    Malcolm was recently offering some mekugi-nuki for sale; this prompted me to search around the house and do a historical shot. Five are Shinchū. The oldest one is in separate pieces and could well stretch back to the Edo Period. (The two iron ones are probably specifically for matchlocks. They can also act as a key to turn a Bisen breech screw.)
  45. 8 points
    I thought this blade might be of some interest to collectors of Gunto and Showato. It is a 43" (Nagasa!) O-tachi by Hikosaburo Akihide. It must be among his first swords made when he was only 18 years old. He made it to comerate his brothers safe return from the war. Akihide was a pivotal figure in the Japanese Sword world leading up to and including the war years. He trained many smiths, and facilitated the production of many of the swords we have in our collections. Anyway, this beast is now in the capable hands of Mr. Benson (It should give him a good workout). If possible I'll bring it to Chicago and /or post photos when I get it back. Jim M.
  46. 8 points
    G'day Guys, Unfortunately where I live it is seasonally very dry and dusty and then very hot and humid, so I never leave my swords out. I keep my sword collection in a set of drawers I had specially made for the job. Cheers, Bryce
  47. 8 points
    This is in my collection. It is in overall good conditions with no rust, a nice brass patina and still a good portion of the hira covered with lacquer. Also it has a Tokubetsu Hozon paper by NBTHK. Regards Luca
  48. 8 points
  49. 8 points
    Adam if you do not want to receive comments to your post do not post. If you post any member of NMB is entitled to give his opinion on the topic, regardless of the fact that you like it or not. From your profile it seem that you joined NMB about three months ago, since then your posts have become increasingly intolerant of criticism on what you post. If you cannot withstand negative opinions, or opinions diverging from yours you are on the wrong blog. Personally I am here to learn from more experienced collectors. If this involves being corrected, even in harsh terms, fine, I have shoulders strong enough to bear it. I prefer onest opinions to flattery. Luca
  50. 8 points
    Thomas S, 1. Your English is perfect. 2. Michael Hagenbusch had one of the best European collections, built with the help of top Japanese dealers like Kurokawa san and Iida san. He was also chairman of NBTHK EB and very close to the NBTHK Honbu and knew a lot through those associations. I am sure you learnt a lot from seeing his collection and it is a pity it was recently dispersed. I wish I could have seen it, but it was a bit before my time and I also did not travel to Germany for these sessions (work, family, etc) despite being a member. 3. Your pursuit of better and better blades is understandable. It is like an addiction - once you “know” quality and your eyes can detect it, you tend to gravitate to it. Unfortunately that is often proportional to financial stress. That is where the shrewdness, careful planning and budgeting and trying not to lose (too much) money, which the original post implied, all come into play. Of course, often this comes with experience. 4. I believe one can be honest and be a good collector or member of such forums and societies. It is better that way, even if one makes less money. Works from a collector point of view but less so (if at all) from a dealer point of view, even though it is practised by some dealers. Sometimes lines get blurred and collectors become dealers and vice versa. In other words, honesty and integrity might become challenging when people aim to consistently and repeatedly generate profits from trading swords, as that is not (always) possible if you are a collector (since usually there are at least a couple of dealers’ profit margins embedded in the price you have paid, save for the exceedingly and increasingly rare military veteran bring-backs). 5. I think the most liberating act is to realise that a moment comes when one’s taste and knowledge far exceed one’s financial ability. Then it becomes futile to chase all the great blades and is more imperative to study and view items even when they belong to others and museums. Having a few good items does not shackle you. What mentally fetters one is the “hunting”, the obsession with owning, the instinct to accumulate and hoard, the desire to spend when one has a few spare £/€/$/¥ (i.e. “itchy hands”). That is when mistakes can creep in. The above are merely my perspectives and others can approach the subject very differently. Overall, what always prevails is consistent studying and self-improvement, which should mitigate chances of being “mislead” inadvertently or deliberately by others.
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