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Ron STL last won the day on March 16 2020

Ron STL had the most liked content!


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About Ron STL

  • Birthday 12/05/1936

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    St. Louis, Missouri USA
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    Early fittings and early koto swords.

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  1. This afternoon I sat alone with my swords to take a long look at the Naokatsu under discussion, with an eye that it may be a gimei sword as Tom mentioned. I soon could see two kanji that were totally unlike any I could see in the Taikan, ect. These were how JI and Ro (Jiro). "JI" was typically carved quite different than was was seen on this sword. Same with "RO" where the center vertical stroke is carved long and past the bottom of the character. This was discouraging to realize, but them I set out two other authenticated Naokatsu dated close to this sword. I took a picture (attached) of these. From left, on the first sword (dated 1840), ji and ro kanji are as seen in the books. Middle sword, dated 1831, is the one under discussion. The third sword, dated 1830, surprised me. The Jiro kanji are written exactly as seen on the sword we are discussing. I thought this was so interesting and reinforces my confidence in the sword. Of course that pesty kao/kanji will await Mr. Tanobe's comments. Tom, let me know if this "Jiro" was what you saw strange or if there was more. It's all just part of our learning process. Ron STL
  2. Okay, a few shots of the sword sugata and hamon. Not the best, but you can get an idea of what's going on here. Ron STL
  3. Tom, I hope you're wrong on this being gimei (naturally), but after all these years with Naokaatsu a poor judgement could very well strike my aging brain. The mei (your 2nd example) is probably from Fujishiro's Shinshinto Shinto shu, p. 150. I unfortunately sold my copy many years ago (didn't like the print quality) but should get a copy. I discussed an earlier "early dated" Naokatsu with Cary Condell years ago. Cary pointed out the variations of mei by date taken from this book. I did very carefully go over the mei on my new sword very carefully before buying it (came out of UK, a non-collector). The only thing I questioned was that kao/kanji thingee. Now that I have this back in-hand from polish, reading your thoughts here, I really need to spend some quiet time with it, soon. The hamon and jiba will show me little details expected in Jirotaro's work. If I screwed up, I'm embarrassed to do so. I should no better. I'll hopefully find out soon. I've asked Robert Hughs to show this to Tanobe next visit, possibly this month. I'll of course share this afterwards. Guys were asking, so I'll attach the full nakago this posting. Yes, it does carry a special order inscription. If I can get a could shots of the full blade, I'll post those, too. At least we may all learn something from this Jirotaro Naokatsu either way. Ron
  4. Appreciate your thoughts but maybe somebody will come up with it. Always difficult when we non-Japanese to figure out unusual kanji. I thought too, it was a bit unusual for a kao. I wouldn't be surprised it it turns out to mean "saku" or "sakuru" and for some reason, just a unique kanji. Likely Naokatsu had something in mind when carving this character. The enigma continue to be a puzzler. Ron STL
  5. I'll see how a few photos turn out, if clear I'll post it. This is a handsome hirazukuri wakizashi, relatively thick (6.4 mm) that came out of UK and passed on to me. It is a very powerful wakizashi like almost all of Naokatsu's work, Has special order on it which always appeals to me. I have several Jirotaro swords plus Yamons works, plus tsuba made by them and followers. This is why this odd "kao" fascinates me, have never seen a kao associated with Naokatsu before. Ron STL
  6. My apologies if I've already asked about this mystery "kao" that was used on this shodai Naokatsu wakizashi, but if so, I can't locate the post. This wakizashi just returned from polish, so I'm enjoying updated what I see in the sword now that it's restored. This in turn reminded me of the very unusal "kao" that follows the signature of Naokatsu. I am quite familiar with Naokatsu' den but have never come across this kao being used before. I thought it was worth a few key strokes to check if anyone ever has see seen this kao before. This is a special order wakizashi, but I do not think that has anything to do with the use of this kao. If this fails, I may try to get a response from the NBTHK, but that's a longshot. I've found very few people who get into Naokatsu here or anywhere, but who knows.
  7. Thanks John, everyone. I did mention "kyo-kinko" and "Mito" based on some recent shinsa opinions of fittings, but never felt confident to declare that on this set. John, I did come across something that did indeed mention Ishiguro school but again, enough to declare that. To explain this, I'm selecting several items to place in our 2023 KTK catalog, and I often try too hard to describe "unauthenticated" items. I take it too serious, a fault of mine. Everything gets edited anyway, before publication. I have loved this set plus I have some gold flying cranes that go well with them. Meanwhile, I'll check what I found earlier on Ishiguru as a possibility. Thanks guys. Ron STL
  8. Hello I was surprised not to read some comments on this set and thought I'd double-check again. If no thoughts, I'll make a stab at this and be done. Ron STL
  9. Here you see a very nice mumie f/k depicting cranes on shakudo, nanako ji. The shakudo and gold have rich color. Nanako is well made but fairly large size. I've never put these through shinsa. I can see a "kyo-kinko" call on these or possibly "Mito," but there are other more specific calls out there, too. Just looking for a few knowledgeable opinions. Thank guys and gals. Ron STL
  10. Chicago is next week and will no doubt draw a nice crowd. Please stop by my table and say hello. I will have some moderately price goodies for sale like a ko-Uda Tokubetsu Hozon ko-Uda plus lesser items including some books I need to clear out. As I enjoy doing at Chicago, I'll bring several high-end items to share, possibly Hatakida Moriie tachi, Bizen Sanenaga with provenance to Tokugawa family, a fantastic Sa Hiroyasu daito acquired a few years ago from Bob Benson, possibly a mumei naginata-naoshi daito attributed to Bizen Yoshikage, all Juyo items. If not set out, just ask to see. Always fun to share our finest swords and fittings with others. Ron STL
  11. Morita san, thank you for the explanation. I'll pass this on my friend. Ron STL
  12. While this is not sword or tosogu relate it might not be allowed to post, and I understand if so. I just thought it would be of interest, possibly an award or possibly just decorative. Seals are in Tensho seal script. Seems quality work, inside has white slip. Ron STL
  13. This has been quite interesting, to see what ideas were brought out regarding the critter. Thinking about those spots punched into the menuki, they are kind of randomly placed. As was mentioned, this might just be the artistic liberty that was mentioned. This really makes me think weasel, primarily based on it eating a fish (if that is interpreted correctly). All in all, these are rather unique menuki made almost five centuries ago. I always found it amazing that two such small items (menuki) can remain together for centuries. Only in Japan!
  14. Thanks for the interesting comments. I should have mentioned, these menuki are indeed yamagani. Dale's idea that this might depict a palm civet is interesting, considering the punched "spots" on the menuki. As for the critter eating a fish or that this what we see are a depiction of whiskers on a squirrel, I had to look further into that thought. I have a book, one of a series of Japanese Art, that Peter Bleed gave me, on the history of the grapes and squirrel motif that goes back to ancient Greece. I could find only a few illustrations showing squirrels with whiskers, and those are definitely coming from the "cheeks." Most depictions do not show whiskers. Looking again at my menuki I'm hard to see "whiskers" but more likely a fish in the critters mouth. One the close-up I posted you can see the fish being held in the front of the critters mouth. I must agree with Tom about not being Ezo although I'm still puzzled by the silver/gold coloration on the backs. I don't think that resulted from aging yamagani. As Tom put it, the NBTHK would likely leave their opion at "ko-kinko" work. I just find it so interesting to try and understand these somewhat abstract, unrefined-looking early menuki and tsuba. Maybe more thoughts and opinions can be offered here? All help to improve our insight into these things. Ron STL
  15. Looking for your thoughts on these old friends of min. This very old set of menuki have long been a favorite in my collection of menuki. I Had them out again to study them and surprisingly, discovered something unnoticed before. Each animal is eating what appears to be a fish! This helps me to confirm my suspicion the critter is likely a weasel. I've known it was not a squirrel and suspected a weasel or badge, but the tail and body shape resemble more that of a weasel than a badger. Could this relate to a Japanese tale or story? I'm also looking for you opinions on where to place these menuki. Obviously, they have great age. On the backs, which have maie/female posts, you can see remnants of a silvery gold coating on them. This made me think Ezo, but the front shows nothing like this. Also, thinking Ezo one thinks large size menuki. These measure 3.6 cm. In my judgement they could date back to Ezo, at least early Muromachi or even earlier. I hope you find this an intersting pair of menuki, and can share some opinion on both the critter and age/origin of the menuki. Ron STL
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