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JPenn

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About JPenn

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    Chu Saku
  • Birthday September 11

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    newfoundimpetus

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    Philadelphia

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    Charles Penn
  1. Thank you for all of your input.
  2. One in my possession, the other offered by Aoi Art. Both are humble pieces of low value, Aoi's at $224, mine acquired at a small fraction of that. While I buy nothing for investment value, this tsuba appealed to me as a chance to handle a handworked, non-cast fitting at low cost. I figured it as a Meiji piece worth no more than the $40 I paid for it. Needless to say I was surprised to see a very, very similar hamidashi tsuba for sale among Aoi's superb offerings. Would their assessment and valuation of this as 'Late-Edo' be accurate? Aoi's piece: http://www.aoi-art.com/fittings/tsuba/F08679-3.html My piece is shown as an attachment. This tsuba also makes me wonder about how tosogu were sold in the period. I've assumed anything of real value was made-to-order, but did shops mass-produce fittings in popular styles? I know of 'shiiremono' made in the Meiji era to just be sold as trinkets, and I actually find that to be a fascinating subject that deserves an article to be written on it at least someday. Thoughts? J. Penn (PS: my apologies if discussion of low-value items is considered offensive.)
  3. Please, in the interest of learning, tell me what would make that blade + fittings a 'rape' to buy at $800? It's fairly unremarkable-looking, mumei and suriage... but is there THAT little a value for anything that's not perfect-polished art with papers? FWIW I wouldn't buy it compared to other things I've seen at that value but it's a few hundred dollars worth of history to me, and the blade isn't brutalized like most of what you see on ebay. Sometimes I feel like most collectors would be pleased to throw away and destroy most of the remarkable historical bounty that Japanese swords are. But there is no other arms-collecting field where pieces centuries old in better-than-relic condition are so easily available! Pardon my heresy here but this is something that has been bothering me for years as I've read about and followed interest in this hobby. There's also the thread running concurrently about the naginata-naoshi with the absurd Toba-Fushimi story. Sure, that story is BS of the worst variety- but if I walked upon it with $30 I'd buy it in a second, if just for the fun of researching the sugata and mei and determining some history based on that. Yes, I know it'll sell for a few hundred. But posts there are implying it's not even worth the $30. Okay, let's take all these hundreds of years old artifacts to our local iron scrapper! Sorry to ruin the little joke that started this thread with some seriousness. But perhaps an easily-forgotten thread like this is is the best place to vent a very different opinion such as mine. An opinion I've formed with an understanding of the expense of restoration of pieces (which is the reason for the general massive divide in value of pieces) but also some perspective of collecting in other fields. Am I ignorant? Of course I am- this hobby is so deep a field that even a lifetime of study is only beginning to comprehend it. But these items are hundreds of years old now and I feel it's time to consider a historical value as well as the standards of artistic value that have been held for hundreds of years. If this statement is out of line, I will accept this post being removed by the moderation. Respectfully, J. Penn
  4. A thank you, Curran. I've seen many and handled a few of this sort of tsuba myself (not thousands, though!) and had assumed an older age than shiiremono, for they are cut and hammered plates with sculpted soft-metal decoration applied. This is, of course, a method of construction done (at much higher quality) in genuine samurai-era tsuba. As opposed to cast-iron lumps. I stand very corrected about these shiiremono, however. J. Penn
  5. They could be either. Cast reproductions were made in Japan in the the latter part of the 19th century as trinkets often sold to tourists. Cast reproductions are made in China today for the purpose of deceiving buyers. Both will exhibit poor quality features. I will defer the mei translation to other forum users more experienced in Japanese language.
  6. Based on my limited experience, I am inclined to concur that these are cast repros, based on the poor-appearing quality of the detail and metal and form of the pieces. The appearance of the seppa dai of the first one is very similar to a repro piece I once owned. I regret having not photographed it for comparison. J. Penn
  7. If you do not mind me asking, what is the 'tell' of this piece being shiiremono? I currently understand shiiremono as being pieces made Meiiji (or maybe very late Tokugawa) and later as trinkets largely sold to tourists, and not made to be mounted on swords. These seem very often to have been made of cast iron. In the past, I've owned (fortunately, not at high cost) a couple such pieces I've evaluated as shiiremono- dark (not chocolatey brown) cast iron with mold lines, lumpy bubbly poor-detailed surfaces, sloppy file marks on the seppa dai surface, a look as if they've never been mounted and poor proportions compared to tsuba known to be genuine (too thick for their diameter). While not of exceptional craftsmanship #6 doesn't have any of the tells of the shiiremono I've handled before. I humbly ask, in hopes to expand my knowledge, what makes this piece 'recieved goods'? J. Penn
  8. Humbly, I present the only tsuba I currently own. J. Charles Penn
  9. Hello. I'd like to introduce myself. I've been interested in this subject for quite a long time. History in general and pre-modern Japanese history in particular has fascinated me since my childhood- classic coffee-table books such as Bottomley/Hopson's 'Arms and Armor of the Samurai' and Stephen Turnbull books were my bedside reading interest and Koei's Nobunaga's Ambition games were my Super Mario Brothers. Having an opportunity to see taiga dramas such as Taiheiki and Nobunaga: King of Zipangu on late night 'leased-time' programming as a young one was fascinating also. The men and deeds of these times were the heroes and fantasies of my childhood. Historical Japanese arms are a nearly incredible material legacy, with a quantity and variety of surviving pieces unequaled on Earth. Where else can one regularly find treasures over three, four centuries old? The idea of collecting nihonto is staggering and even humbling in its age and depth of knowledge. Even after ten years of some internet and book study (I know many names on this site well, from places such as Sword Forum and Richard Stein's tremendously informative site I was very glad to find a decade ago) I know I can only begin to comprehend this subject that scholars have been growing for centuries. The Second World War is another subject that I've been fascinated with for life, and as a re-enactor who interacts with the public I also study it with strong interest. And one result of that war, for better or worse, was the massive diaspora of antique Japanese arms around the world and especially to my home country of the United States. I believe it is our opportunity and even our duty to preserve this historically freakish material legacy of authentic Japanese arms, at all levels of merit of art and craftsmanship. And what a craft it is! I can only hope to be a careful steward of this legacy. J. Charles Penn
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