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Gakusee

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Gakusee last won the day on July 22

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About Gakusee

  • Rank
    Sai Jo Saku

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location:
    UK
  • Interests
    Koto swords in order of personal preference: Bizen, Soshu, Yamashiro

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  • Name
    Michael S

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  1. James, all is looking very nice, well thought-through and stylish. There is only one thing bugging me: are you going to leave the walls with this sort of crude plasterwork? Or are you going to smooth them? Or are all the all walls going to be covered with cases, so the uneven surface underneath will not be visible? I am very envious of all your skills - woodwork, electrics, etc.
  2. No, I do not. This is not counting the Chinese replica wall hanger which I bought as a student and is still in my dad’s flat. As as regards genuine nihonto, in fact I have sold the first four blades I acquired in order to upgrade my collection. My goal is to own not more than 10 swords and even that is probably too many. So I try to not become emotionally attached to blades or objects which are not of strong familial sentimental value.
  3. Thanks for the interesting recollections and reflections of how it went. It allows us to almost feel the atmosphere and vicariously be present there through you
  4. Well done Piers and thank you! I would be grateful if you could share some images and lessons learnt from these NBTHK meetings. i am a Life member but alas have never been to an NBTHK meeting or conference in Japan (or anywhere in the world for that matter)! thank you again!
  5. Georg, thank you for sharing your journey with us. Similarly to you, we are enjoying the ride and look forward to the end destination. Please do not get discouraged by a few detractions and distractions on the way there.
  6. Well, Michael This background is very helpful: you seem to like old, historic items with proved or provable history / provenance. I am with you personally on Kamakura, even though I venture either side too (Heian and Nanbokucho). Bear in mind that with Kamakura and older, you often have to compromise on condition issues (eg here there are some lamination seam ware on one side of the hamon, which I personally can live with, but some members who prefer younger swords, eg Shinto etc, would not accept). If you are not focused on a certain school or schools and not fixated on how a blade looks like, as long as it is in a good condition, then you could go for any blade that ticks the boxes mentioned above. Personally, I like this Ko-Bizen Tochika a lot, but that is because I like Bizen. What the bonus features here are: the preserved mei, the highly rated provenance and Honami certificate. I shall leave aside the tachi koshirae as it is nice but not super nice. The Honami who appraised it is the highly rated Kojo (big bonus) and the family is an offshoot of the very famous Matsudaira clan (bonus). The sword description in the Juyo paper talks of fabulous choji and excellent deki, so the judges did think rather highly of the sword. As mentioned before, they compare it to Hatakeda (the founder, Moriie, had such glamorous kawazuko choji) and Saburo Kunimune (another Bizen great with expressive hamon). Such comparisons are also a subtle nod to the reader that the blade is from the early 1200s perhaps (they do mention that the blade does not date later than mid Kamakura). The smith himself is not very famous but this blade seems to be one of his tour de force creations. He does not have many blades left to us but those that remain (fewer than ten) have JuBI and JuBu grade items among them and are split between suguha and flamboyant and active hamon. Honma sensei, in his book Kanto Hibisho, speaks favourably of this very sword and compares it to the JuBi and JuBu examples. Fujishiro has also included it in his book. So, clearly this is a famous, well researched and well documented blade that has been reviewed by Honami Kojo, Fujishiro sensei, Honma sensei, the NBTHK shinsa panel, Tanobe sensei (if I were you, I would get his sayagaki of this sword professionally translated by Markus Sesko) etc. Well, it does not get any better than that documentation wise. At this level, you need to trust the dealer as you are not seeing the blade in hand. The photos are all right but sometimes obscure certain details. The oshigata Tsuruta draws for sale are not usually too precise and tend to exaggerate some activities but of course oshigata are works of art and interpretation. So, do allow for some condition issue that might pop up when you get the blade but again I suspect for the age of the blade it will be acceptable. Ask for a video of the sword, ask for daylight photos of the sword, ask for someone you trust to review it in hand if possible. But anyway, with this sword, you get a lot of research done by others in your behalf. Personally, I am surprised that such a caliber sword ended with Tsuruta. But anyhow, do your own research with some of the pointers above and sleep on it.
  7. Namesake / Michael My opinion is already in the other thread. I have looked at many Ko-Bizen, own one, etc. This blade is very good BUT you must know what you are buying before venturing into something like that. If you are asking for [moral] support and views on the blade and others justifying to you whether you should buy it, it seems to me you are not ready yet to swim in these [deep] waters… if you truly have such funds, then pause, look around, compare and decide what type of Ko-Bizen (or whether it is Ko-Bizen you desire in the first place) you are after and then by which smith. And then perhaps decide whether you want it with provenance and koshirae or not. Someone buying at such level would need to evaluate the smith, condition, provenance, length, other bells & whistles etc etc. You would need to know what you want / expect of the blade and whether it is meeting your requirements (eg do you like the hamon and want flamboyant choji, or does it need to be an “old blade”, do you want a blade with a mei etc).
  8. One needs to be very careful with Aoi and its listings. Usually there are some inadvertent mistakes but also there is the usual dealer spin to reality. Firstly, as Kirill is saying, Ko-Bizen spans from Heian / roughly 1100 to approximately 1240. Plus or minus a decade or two. So, you have occasionally Ko-Bizen which are well into Kamakura and have different dimensions (increasing sori in monouchi) and hamon (more flamboyant) to the ‘usual’, old Ko-Bizen, which on the whole tended to be more uncontrived than here. So, this type of nioiguchi and hamon speak of later Ko-Bizen as a rule. Next, onto the smith. Well, this smith is believed to be a descendant of Masatsune, who did have a more flamboyant hamon. Interestingly, the setsumei here references flamboyance similar to Hatakeda Moriie and Saburo Kunimune, who would have overlapped with Tochika, at least partially, in creative period. Fujishiro in his book starts by saying that he is usually associated with 1190 as starting period, then quotes several eras but concludes the smith most likely worked during the Ichimonji school period. There are not many swords left by him and some are in suguha but some are very flamboyant and exciting. He has blades which were kokuho pre-war and now JuBu, so clearly highly rated. As to the blade, yes it is TokuJu and published by Fujishiro. The Honami Kojo origami is highly valuable and it has a historic provenance. The hamon is very nice, it is zaimei , so these are the positive attributes. One will need to evaluate whether one is happy with the condition (it has some rather deep ware). But it surely is a special sword, valued very highly. It shows that the overall merits far outweigh the condition issues.
  9. So, on the topic of yari..... This is almost a separate subject and one should not extrapolate from sword knowledge and make assumptions about it being a votive blade, etc. In Muromachi, it was common for some senior samurai to wield omi yari. In fact, I personally owned an omi yari by nidai Muramasa (see below), which was 51 cm in length and around 2.5cm in motohaba. Sue-Bizen (eg nidai Yoshimitsu,Tadamitsu), various Shimada guys (Yoshisuke), Muramasa (as already mentioned), Nobutaka (Seki), etc etc particularly in the period 1450-1540 forged such larger weapons (over 50cm nagasa and often with motobaba 2.5-2.8cm). Many have been accepted at Juyo level. So, in the grand scheme of things, this post's yari is not so big, even if it is a larger and more impressive one in general. I do look forward to seeing some photos of it. Below, my former yari.
  10. How did we decide on the 'chemical' treatment of the hamon? The photos are not clear and are taken at an odd angle for assessment. Also, while not the perfect candidate for a sashikomi polish, some sort of sashikomi-like polish could have been applied and that is a polish which makes the hamon stand out more.
  11. See here: https://markussesko.com/2018/11/07/goto-soroi-kanagu/
  12. We should also not forget that: - items were often lost / broken / replaced / sold - dealers from Meiji period onwards to the present day regularly sell Tosogu separately as they have realised they can make more money that way - when a high-end tsuba is sold separately (which was a part of an en suite koshirae), and that is one of the most often done divestments, then dealers sometimes try to substitute something which broadly fits but is a different metal or configuration or just a different level of quality. A culprit with often put-together koshirae is Aoe Japan. - over the lifetime of a sword, it probably saw a number of different koshirae to suit the tastes of its respective owners. The truly en suites are normally in richer / important / Daimyo families. Those had the means and will to preserve the package intact. In fact, after Daimyo started selling off the family jewels ( between Haitorei and postWWII impoverished Japan) there have been various “sets” that have passed through quite high papers with the NBTHK. When I look at the published ones, indeed often the elements complement each other rather than replicate the same motif
  13. Well, I think you should keep them. I do not use mine much but when I do, I like the oshigata and the narrative
  14. Yes, that was lucky that everything is translated and well researched now. The daimyo provenance is quite fortunate too, unless Jiri knew about it of course.
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