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Geraint

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Geraint last won the day on July 21

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  1. Dear Bob. Assuming your pictures are transposed, the Kanayama tsuba is in the form of a cartwheel or kuruma. There is an episode in the Tale Of Genji to which it refers but we will have to wait for George to pin it down. As to the other, well the shape of the ryohitsu and the sepps dai, alignment of the initial drilling around the mimi, not to mention the poor quality of the piercing of the rays......... All the best.
  2. Dear Joe. Don't worry, it's all a bit confusing to start with and we often forget what that feels like. Your blade is a tanto, a blade of less than 30cms from the tip,(kissaki), to the notch on the back where the habaki, (blade collar), sits. It is in a form called hira zukuri which means that the sides are almost flat, usually Japanese swords have a shinogi, a ridge line running along the blade on both sides. The tang, (nakago), has a signature, (mei,) which reads, Soshu no ju Mashiro, that means Masahiro, (the smith's name) living in Soshu, (the name of an area in Japan). The blade is in shirasaya, (plain wooden mounts), and has an integral habaki, (we know that one now). Most swords have a separate metal habaki. Kirill mentions a Soshu like hamon, that's the pattern of the hardened edge which you can see clearly on the one in the link. Swords are a bit like wine, they have regional variations and each maker adds their own flavour to the work He also points out that the mei, is quite possibly a forgery. This is known as gimei and is much more common than we would all like. Many people only collect swords in traditional Japanese polish with certificates of authentication. You have a way to go before we start getting into that but as Kirill also suggests the shape and size of your sword indicates that it might have been made sometime around 1550 to 1600. Go slow, enjoy the journey and keep looking! All the best.
  3. Dear Joe. Yes, this is a real Japanese tanto. It is in shirasaya, the usual way of keeping a blade when it is out of it's mounts. It is signed Soshu ju Masahiro which is a well known name. However many forgeries exist in that a blade by someone else might well have a famous name added. Soshu swords are highly prized and yours has seen the passing of some years judging by the very much reduced shape just above the nakago or tang. It might easily be several hundred years old. You can compare it to another example here and note the differences. http://sanmei.com/contents/media/A24639_W3214C_PUP_E.html Do nothing to this at the moment except a little light oil and don't clean anything. For what you paid this was an absolute bargain and it might be your introduction to the wonderful world of Japanese swords. Congratulations! All the best.
  4. Dear Harry. Well it's a sweet little tanto. Anything with a three kanji mei is hard to narrow down but from the sugata and nakago I would say that Shinshinto is a good starting point. Hawley doesn't get you very far, he lists several Kanehiro working in the Shinto and Shinshinto period but there are no clues to narrow this one down, without province or title you can take your pick. Hopefully one of us has a papered tanto whose mei matches exactly and then you will know. All the best.
  5. Sounds like a result Brian, a naginata and a couple of yari in mounts! Do we get to see the yari too? All the best.
  6. Dear Dave. Forgive me if I misunderstand you. The marks on the nakago we are referring to are the diagonal, deep marks. Usually nakago are finished with finer file marks over the whole nakago, not just these. Cutting tests are recorded with an inscription stating what test were done and who by, the strokes referenced in your link are the type of cuts made during the test. There is no connection with the marks on the nakago on this sword. All the best.
  7. Dear Gareth. On the plus side you have a really nice katana in good condition, polish not withstanding, in nice koshirae. Silver foiled habaki, nice shi shi fittings and attractive saya. Well done! One significant drawback, this might ruin you for collecting WWII swords. All the best, Celt to Celt.
  8. Dear Quinn. It is very common to find a number of smiths using the same name, sometimes with different kanji. For example Hawley lists three Mitsunaga signing with the kanji on the sword in the original post and about 15 more signing with another kanji for naga. All the best.
  9. Dear Peter. From your pictures it is clear that this wakizashi should have an implement called a kogai here, not a kozuka. You are right, this one does not fit, best keep it separate. As regards a replacement, these are not standard parts and fitting new one would be quite tricky. If you notice there are almost what looks like two spaces, the larger would be where the kurikata fits, the smaller would be a little piece that forms and protects the mouth of the kogai slot. These are often made of horn and its loss has probably contributed to the slight splitting of the saya. As to why someone would stuff an obviously oversized kozuka into the kogai slot, well, sometimes by accident; parts get mixed up and whoever puts them back together doesn't know what goes where, sometimes a collector or dealer will spot a nice kogai and sell it off and then stick something in it's place to make the whole thing look more complete. One more observation, the lower end of the nakago seems to have some fire scale on it, this is not a good sign and might men that the blade has been in a fire at some point which would remove the hardened edge. All the best.
  10. Dear Piers. Sweet tosu but to go back to Ian's yari tanto for a moment. Given the relatively small size of the blade I am pretty sure that this started life as a yari but with a modest tang length. The mei is cut high up the nakago because the tang is wider there. I believe the current nakago ana was added when the yari was mounted in this koshirae which accounts for the slight off set in placing. The mekugi ana is very near the fuchi because the straight yari nakago fitting into the curved tanto koshirae soon places the metal outside the centre line of the tsuka, any further away from the fuchi and it would be in danger of missing! This example demonstrates both the high mei and someone wrestling with the nakago ana alignment problem, in this case an off set mekugi ana and a copper insert to bring it into position to fit the tsuka. All the best.
  11. Dear Kenny. Have no concerns about the tsuka, it looks great! All the best.
  12. Dear All. One here by Mishina Yoshiaki. All the best.
  13. Dear Bob. First , thank you for sharing your collection with us, I have really enjoyed seeing them and I know that many others will have as well. As we are now up to item 126 I am late to the party but.... Your tsuba no. 104, the antlers and insect theme. I have just been reading the wonderful, "Late Edo and Meiji Sword Guards and Fittings" catalogue form the Sannenzaka Museum and came across a mitokoromono with the same theme and the explanation which reads, "The two Chinees characters for 'bee' and 'deer' can be read 'horoku' in Chinese derived pronunciation and it indicates 'promotion' or 'success'. The design had been favoured as one of auspicious designs since old days". (sic.) I knew the design from previous examples but had not realised the significance, as must inevitably be the case with so much Japanese art. All the best.
  14. So it's a ko wakizashi, point one, when were they created? From the pictures the nakago looks to be ubu, would you agree? The nakago finish does not look Koto. From what I can see the boshi appears to be in suguha and with this hamon if it were Koto one might expect the hamon to continue into the boshi. One would not expect to see the features associated with several polishes in a Shinshinto blade, nor the features of the boshi, and the optimum time for Shinto ko wakizashi is early Shinto. Allowing for a little narrowing of the blade as a result of polishes then the original sugata would have been a little fuller as would the boshi. Given that all this is based on two, pardoning your photographic skills, rather limited photographs, and that I know nothing this would suggest an early Shinto ko wakizashi. I take it that the hada is obscured, what can you see in the hamon? Over to you. All the best.
  15. Geraint

    Family sword

    We'll both find out when we see some of the nakago, I think the koshirae is quite nice but would love to see some more of that too. Here's hoping! All the best.
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