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mas4t0 last won the day on May 7

mas4t0 had the most liked content!


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About mas4t0

  • Birthday 05/06/1991

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  • Location:
    Leeds, England
  • Interests
    Fine Art, Tosogu, Nihonto, Koshirae.

    Training and Competing in:
    Martial Arts, Combat Sports, Strength Sports, Triathlon.

    English, French, Cajun, Mauritian, Indian and Thai Cuisine.

    Cognitive Science, Computer Science, Evolutionary Psychology, Behavioural Economics, Metallurgy, Natural Sciences.

    Venture Capital, Software Engineering, Mechanical Engineering.


    I'd be lying by omission if I didn't mention an interest in languages, but my track record suggests I'm too intept to ever gain fluency in anything other than English.

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    Mark H

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  1. It's from Art of the Samurai: Japanese Arms and Armor, 1156-1868 (Metropolitan Museum of Art) It's been out of print for a few years, but it's available to download for free as a PDF from the MET website. https://www.metmuseum.org/art/metpublications/Art_of_the_Samurai_Japanese_Arms_and_Armor_1156_1868
  2. I think this is well captured by another quote from Ogawa Morihiro (on the same page as the quote above). Before the Meiji era, when swords were still used as practical weapons of war, a fine blade was so esteemed that a samurai would make virtually any sacrifice in order to obtain a great sword that would protect him on the battlefield. The sword — often called the "spirit of the samurai” — was also the most coveted of gifts, to be given or exchanged on auspicious occasions and special events. In addition, after victory in battle generals often presented renowned swords to their commanders who had achieved military success, regarded as the highest honour by the recipient. Indeed, just one superior sword conveyed more meaning, and more prestige, than gifts of large domains or any quantity of gold, silver, paintings, and other treasures. The following is one example illustrating the scope of the samurai's obsession with swords. It concerns the tachi named “Ikkoku Kanemitsu” (One Province Kanemitsu) in the possession of the family of Duke Yamanouchi, formerly lords of Tosa han, which is designated an Important Cultural Property. In the early Edo period, this sword, by Bizen Kanemitsu, was highly reputed as a very great sword indeed. Having heard of it, Tokugawa Yorinobu, son of Tokugawa leyasu and the ancestor-founder of the Kishū Tokugawa family, asked Tōdō Takatora, a famous general under leyasu, to obtain the sword for him from the Yamanouchi family. The story goes that Yamanouchi Tadayoshi refused the request, to which Tōdō Takatora replied, “Even though you say that, if it were a command of the shogun you would have to give up the sword." Tadayoshi countered, saying that he "would return the whole province of Tosa” — an area covering the whole of present-day Kōchi Prefecture and nearly priceless in value — but would “never part with the great sword by Kanemitsu.” Swords made by famous smiths were, accordingly, extremely difficult to obtain, and for that reason fakes purporting to be the work of famous smiths have been made even since ancient times. In the Kanchi-in Bon Meizukushi — a 1423 copy of a Kamakura-period treatise on swords, kept in the Kyōo Gukoku-ji, Kyōto — it is recorded that cleverly made fakes of blades by the early Kamakura period swordsmith Bungo no Kuni Yukihira were in circulation, and it explains how the fakes could be recognised. In another instance, there were apparently so many blades purported to be the work of the famous seventeenth century smith Kotetsu, it was often said that if you see one hundred swords with his signature then without doubt you have seen one hundred fakes. I realise that this is well known to all participants in this thread, but it might be of interest to some people reading along.
  3. I think it is important that we take an integrative approach and consider the blade in its proper context; at least all the parts of a sword (blade, koshirae, etc) and ideally also the other accoutrements such as kimono or armour, bows, etc. Additionally it isn't really fair to compare to painting as a whole. The Japanese sword is one part of a unique culture and aesthetic. How successful would we expect an Ancient Egypt exhibition to be if only swords were displayed? This isn't to deride the Japanese sword in any way, but rather to illustrate that it is punching well above its weight as an art object. Comparison to suiboku-ga (sumi-e) is perhaps fairer, where there are defined boundaries and limitations. Some of the finest art in all domains comes from the creative and innovative ways an artist overcomes the constraints of their medium. I think this quote from Ogawa Morihiro is perhaps worth sharing: If the Japanese sword can be likened to a picture, it would relate aesthetically to the black ink paintings known as suiboku-ga. The bright and dark, clearly polished jigane would be analogous to the paper, and the yakiba, with the appearance of white blossoming flowers, for example, would represent how the black ink is said to display "five colours," meaning the impression of colour derived through variations in tone. In order to preserve this essential beauty and carry the polished sword, a scabbard of soft wood is made to contain the blade. To strengthen the scabbard, and to protect the blade against humidity, the scabbard is covered overall with lacquer. The other components of a sword mounting (discussed more fully in the essay titled "Sword Mountings and Fittings" in this volume) include a hilt (tsuka), whereby the sword is gripped in the hands, which is typically wrapped with ray-skin and bound with cords or leather to protect it from fracture under violent impact. The ends of the wooden portions of the scabbard are protected by metal fittings, and a tsuba (sword guard) is attached, protecting the palms of the hands and aiding adjustments to the overall balance. Accordingly, the Japanese sword can be said to represent the essence of several traditional crafts and fine arts represented by three specialist groups: swordsmiths, polishers, and the makers of sword mountings and fittings.
  4. What's the discolouration just above the habaki? The blade edge looks almost scalloped in areas and there's some unusual reflections along the face of the blade which give the impression of a wavy surface. I'm not sure if it's the camera, the lighting or the blade.
  5. I wouldn't be too concerned; buffing shouldn't have done too much harm. It obviously isn't a good thing to have done, but buffing with a cloth is very different to grinding the blade on a stone. Given that it has clearly been buffed I wouldn't be surprised if the person had done other damage to the blade.
  6. Does it matter whether the categories are strictly correct, or only that a useful taxonomy is established? A taxonomy describes, names and classifies things based on shared characteristics and helps us categorize, organize and communicate information more clearly and efficiently. The benefits of the taxonomy stem from the information embedded within the data structure itself. It's far more useful to group animals by taxonomic rank (kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species) than to group them by their colour. We can identify an unknown animal as a beetle based on phenotypic traits without ever having seen a member of that species before. A very brief glance will tell us that it's an animal, an arthropod and an insect (from the order Coleoptera). This taxonomic information contains a lot of embedded information. Without any prior experience with this species, we can guess with high probability that it has undergone complete metamorphosis and was previously an egg, a larva and a pupa before reaching adulthood. We also know with certainty that it can't asexually reproduce and many other things that I won't bore you with. That got quite entomology heavy, but I'm sure you can see the parallels to sword kantei. I'm much better at insect identification than I'll ever be at sword kantei, but it is the same process and the taxonomy is doing most of the heavy lifting in both cases. My point being that the taxonomy is of great value regardless of whether or not it is strictly correct (whether in a historical or genetic sense). It also greatly increases repeatability and reproducibility of judgements, I guess it's debatable whether it increases reliability or only increases consensus.
  7. mas4t0

    Tsuba reading

    Yeah, that’s what I thought too!
  8. This is likely to be the key piece of evidence. Hopefully this will be enough to have them release it, but if not I'm sure it'll be very valuable in court. In my (limited) experience, these people are quite readily persuaded by expert opinions given from a position of authority (which they recognise as valid).
  9. Kindle books have some solid DRM to prevent copyright infringement, so you can't do much without removing the copy protection. There's a free piece of software available from Amazon called Kindle Create which allows authors to quickly and easily convert documents into properly formatted e-books and publish them on Amazon. It takes under an hour to go from a word document to a published e-book. If Yurie's contract with Alpha allows for this, it would be best to re-publish the e-book this way. I could do the work in Kindle Create for her (obviously at no charge) and send her the files, but she'd need to publish it from her account.
  10. Matt, It would be best to first decide which style of koshirae you're going for. If you already have tosogu then their era, school, level of opulence, etc will help you determine the appropriate style of koshirae and thereby the reasonable options for the saya. An overall koshirae can turn out quite poorly if you focus myopically on individual component parts. A reference book with lots of examples would be the best place to go for inspiration, but you'll see a few examples here: https://www.nihonto.com/uchigatana-koshirae/ https://markussesko.com/2014/10/ Here's some specific examples I'm sure you'll enjoy: https://yuhindo.com/goto-mitsunobu-yokoya-nobusada-daisho/ https://yuhindo.com/hoshizukiyo-kencho/ https://yuhindo.com/mutsu-no-kami-tadayoshi/ https://yuhindo.com/hatakeda-moriie/ https://yuhindo.com/rai-kunitoshi-4/ https://yuhindo.com/imagawa-shizu-meito/ https://yuhindo.com/kanemoto-katana/ https://yuhindo.com/ko-yamashiro-gojo-tachi/ https://yuhindo.com/awataguchi-yoshimitsu/ https://yuhindo.com/samonji/
  11. +1 I'd very much appreciate some more thoughts and opinions on these lots. I've only been studying Japanese armour for a few months, so I won't muddy the waters with my twaddle.
  12. The profile is reminiscent of a German (Wusthof, etc) kitchen knife. The tang is in the Japanese style, and would be used with a wa handle. It's a somewhat unusual combination as Japanese double bevel kitchen knives such as Gyuto and Sujihiki (but obviously not Nakiri, Santoku, etc) are generally based on the French profile (Sabatier, etc) and European knives generally have Western style handles. It's even more unusual that it was pretending to be a kogatana.
  13. https://web.archive.org/web/20170328123936/http://www.n-p-s.net:80/musubi4.htm
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