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Mantis dude

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Everything posted by Mantis dude

  1. For a culture that can be so regimented and so many rules apply there seems to be one that almost always does and one that any collector needs to learn..... There is an exception to every rule or its true until it isn't. Then again in my mind it isn't Mino unless it has a praying mantis or insect. Ok and maybe deer but I think that is a warped personal bias. Those ancient bastard smiths make this hard- do they know what they are doing to us collectors hundreds of years later? (I say that with all the respect in the world)
  2. Hi all, I have been trying to catch up on some of the board posts and I recall reading about ko- mino nanako being circular rather than up/down. Does this apply to Edo work? I saw this tsuba which looks like the nanako is up down (I have no affiliation to this seller or piece). http://www.ebay.com/itm/a061-Edo-Japane ... 258bc8f28a I guess 1. am I correctly seeing the direction of the nanako 2. does the nanako pattern make a difference in later works? Thanks.
  3. you guys are taking the term sword porn too literally..... you all need a hobby
  4. maybe someone has some woolly mammoth hair and you can use that to restore the patina......See what happens when you start breaking out the fossils
  5. Red rust is active rust and must be eliminated. Bone is softer than the iron but harder than the rust so it will not damage your item. Always be careful along gold or inlays. It does take work though but it is the conservative route. Spraying something on there to remove can be risky since you don't know exactly what the chemicals are going to do. I am sure there are some directions out there on how to clean a tsuba. Perhaps someone can recommend a set to use. Best of Luck. Ken (aka the mantis dude aka Ken on the east coast).
  6. Hi, just thought I would add that looking at a tsuba in sunlight can help spot that very bad red rust or at least that has been my experience. Well I think I remember seeing the sun with all these storms can't remember. Years ago I found a lot of broken ivory on ebay. The piano keys are a great shape to use for rust removal. Good luck. Ken
  7. HI Andi, I am going to give you answer that I hate to get but it is the only way I know how to give it. First off I will state that I am not an expert in this topic. What I believe you are looking for is called wabi sabi- a stylistic way the Japanese incorporate their art that conveys a sense of age and use. It is a feeling given off by an art object so there isn't a formula. What it takes is developing your eye for it. That takes time viewing pieces and getting a sense. There is a balance and naturalistic look that some pieces have while others look clunky, out of balance and the design doesn't give that same feeling. One simple thing to look for is red rust. Red rust is active rust and is a bad thing. It means that the piece's patina is not "in control", the metal is still rusting and it can't be in balance. When you become familiar with schools you will also notice some schools use the technique and some don't. I am sure more will chime in but this is one of those topics where it just takes time. A lot of tsuba appreciation is that it takes time to view pieces, it helps gain insight into what makes a design good vs bad. In the Haynes auction catalogs, in the beginning intro there was a repeat of some famous writings by Dr. Torigoyes book "Tsuba Geijutsu Ko"(a treatise on the Aesthetic of Tsuba) and I believe it has been reprinted in part in other books or newsletters- I got up and looked up the name of the book. Every time I read it I have a better understanding as I view more tsuba. So I gave an answer that doesn't really answer your question but still I think it has to be said as much as I hate to say it. I am sure others can critique a specific tsuba better but don't get discouraged just understand it isn't simply memorizing an answer. Best of luck.
  8. I debated cropping or not cropping just to show the S curve..... see what being lazy started. Just a general thought- historically I think the glossing over or passing of inaccurate construction information had its roots in control of information. A collector needs to know styles, basic or observable construction techniques, and other identifiable characteristics to help him classify the tsuba. Different schools used different techniques and if you were more knowledgeable you could use those identifiers to tell individual smiths if you knew the techniques used by a particular smith. Some Goto identifiers have been published where one generation does "this" with his shishi versus a different generation does that (I wish I had translations on those books). But even then the information was not widely known. Perhaps a few books were written but it still wasn't widely available. Construction of a tsuba on the other hand was knowledge that was passed down from teacher to student and were much more guarded secrets that were not shared with the outside world. It was an even smaller base of people that knew how to construct the tsuba. Now that there is more sophistication and obviously there are some technical people that have more understanding of how metals work or respond to various treatments there is more opportunity to write down those processes. I bet even many metal workers in the past couldn't explain why something happened but they knew the result of an action. The best illustration I can think of is I remember reading in forging a sword heat it until it is the color of the autumn sun (or something like that). The student would learn what that looked liked and the good ones could replicate it, the unskilled students struggled with it or a mistake occurred when they got this wrong. Today you may know that that point might be 500 degrees and can be measured (Purely made up temps just for illustration - I am a non technical person). So the knowledge available to us can provide more insight on a technical level. But this information was not written down. It also didn't necessarily hinder the study of the art. Although I will definitely agree that some of this newly discovered or disseminated knowledge can help with insight into the studies for identification or appreciation, I also think a lot of that information is not required. Just a basic idea maybe good enough. What knowledge is needed for understanding at least in part is a matter of individual focus and provides opportunities to take studies in different directions and perspectives. I guess it gets back to my earlier point- Haynes's book which is really a translation of an older text is about the characteristics of schools with information on some smiths. It has maybe 10 pages in the back on construction just to give a very basic understanding. Christian I think your questions are way beyond the scope of that book.
  9. Jean, While I can appreciate what you are saying and I am not going to pursue much of this conversation since I am not a fabricator. I think you have to consider what a book is about- you are looking or talking about technical issues for forging iron/steel/etc but that isn't what the book is about. I am not looking to learn how to forge a tsuba and that isn't the purpose of the book. In the second line you quote I look at what you point out as semantics. I took it to read more that forging of the iron can be and was often a separate process from forming the tsuba. It could be done by different people. In fact, that is the whole issue surrounding factory plates. With the formations of the road system, trading and specialization occurred where iron could be make by 1 group purchased by artisans and turned into a sword fitting. Again I think the statement is more from the point of a non-technical point of view of how things were done than a precise statement on how to actually make iron. And the last statement you made can also fit into that viewpoint or it can be just a mistype. Don't get me wrong I am not defending wrong information or the dissemination of wrong info, but I also think that books are written with different focuses. I am never going to be forging iron or any other metal and I am not really looking for that technical an explanation. You on the other hand obviously have great interest in that topic which I think is great. And that I also think that knowledge can be useful, certainly Ford has helped me understand certain things with his perspective as someone that actually works with metal. I don't always care how it is made but I do want to know what it looks like. I have encountered this issue in other subjects and I guess as an author you have to find the balance based on what you are trying to say and who your audience is. Too technical an explanation can detract if it isn't a treatise on a technical subject and vice versa, if you are looking for technical data, an overview or general textbook isn't going to give you the information you want. That's just my 2 cents on it. I want to relate a similar type story that I need to get off my chest. As you may or may not know, I have a slight affinity for Praying Mantis themed fittings. I made a website including pics and added a section on fakes so people could avoid them. I don't get a lot of emails from the site but 99% are.....wait for it......Where can I buy a reproduction? I shake my head every time and respond with a quick, sorry don't know I try to avoid them. The Interpretation isn't what I expected with that section. Never underestimate the human races ability to interpret something different than what you intended. Happy New Year all.
  10. Just to add something I was thinking about is the "S" folding. I believe I have seen this and might even have an example but can't think which tsuba it is or maybe saw it online. but imagine the S turned on its side and then flattened. so the end of the S is banged down to the middle on the top and the other end of the S is on the middle bottom, getting rid of the space in the curves. you can seem the lamination folds when this is done. Actually there is a page I remember seeing in "tsuba an aesthetic study by ......Torigoye & Haynes...... ". I attached the page but this is a cheap investment book from the NCJSC. The back pages have some description on how tsuba are forged as well as finished. I also think Marckus Sesko has been putting out some good books in english. I have the handbook of sword fittings related terms and it helps give examples of what the terms are talking about. I haven't totally gone through the "handbook", it is on my table of books to go through but looking at it now, it is as close to a primer as I have seen. Plus it isn't huge and I believe relatively inexpensive- as I flip through it- I am recommending this strongly as a primer to have. Using that book along with other books with more detailed pics may give you more of what you are seeking.
  11. I have struggled with many of the same questions. As I don't have a mentor and I don't get a lot of opportunities to meet with others, it makes studying/learning hard. As some have said, nothing beats hands on study! Since I am not aware of a definitive beginners guide to tsuba, I always thought it would be a great book to have. Some features like YAKITE SHITATE you can start to recognize since it is characteristic of some schools. Search the term or schools that have that feature. Some pictures are better than others and you might start to notice what they are talking about, although if you held it in hand, it would probably become a bit more self evident. I would love to get a lesson on Mito, Nara, Aizu Shoami and shiremono tsuba. Especially since there is a lot of pieces out there. Factory plate plays a role in all those schools. Early on I came to the conclusion that I will always be a beginner. With that in mind, I sort of accept that I will get a little knowledge here and a little knowledge there. Sometimes I surprise myself that I know something, but I know I have major gaps. I understand my access is limited therefore my learning will be limited. Eventually knowledge does migrate into the brain. It also doesn't help that many books have more information in them but there is one problem it is written in a language I don't read. When I do get the chance to handle an item sometimes it will help things click and the readings from books become clearer. Part of my attitude comes on realizing the "experts" spend a lifetime of studying so you can't expect to have all the answers like it was a spelling test- memorize this and then you will know. It is a different type of knowledge, more based on life experience, as much as books. That is just my take on it and it seems to work for me. I still enjoy the hobby. The other piece to studying fittings is the meaning behind them and that is a lot easier to learn or obtain knowledge about. Themes and legends are repeated in many mediums, so you may find a netsuke that can clue you in to a tsuba theme, etc. There is a ton of knowledge out there. ok back to my coffee- happy New Year all and good luck.
  12. Thanks Chris, wasn't sure if I was missing something or not. all the best.
  13. Hi All, I for some reason am just having trouble with translating this auction. Perhaps someone can help me with the translation? It reminds me of a different tsuba so I might be able to find a maker through translating this one http://page14.auctions.yahoo.co.jp/jp/a ... s353999806 Thanks for all your help. I think I blew my nose one too many times and can't concentrate any longer. Thanks for any help and all the best.
  14. from the late meiji camping wars..... cub scouts battled girl scouts....It was reported there were cookies everywhere with ripped merit badges on their uniforms. Some say the diabetic downfall of both groups was a direct result from these battles...... I need to get some sleep..........
  15. Mantis dude


    Dragonflies are wimps...............Mantis rule!!!!!
  16. Hi Gabriel, I was reviewing this post and figured I answer a little. I don't know the exact name for basket weave but it is actually fairly common to many schools. that tsuba is also in the Kaga Kinko taiken. But I know of tsuba with basket weave papered to Shoami, seem them in choshu school, etc. So while I agree it makes a nice effect, you can find it in many schools. All the best. Ken P.S. I would obviously love to have that tsuba. One of my favorite schools is Kaga. The fact they like to use a lot of mantids in their design is just a bonus!
  17. A tsuba collectors version of Colonel Klink
  18. Hey Ford, You surprised me and added more to your post. As I privately emailed you, this tsuba is actually in the Kaga Taikan. So you totally hit it on the head. Good opportunity to learn and expose myself to something new. Thanks for the help and setting me in the correct direction. Thanks. Ken
  19. Thanks for the input. And Arnold, that is one of the things that bothered me- the nunome looks very fresh so to speak. Just another thing not clicking for me. It does seem that adding decorations to older pieces isn't unheard of and in fact seems to happen often enough to not make it a rare occurrence. I guess a big factor would be when was the decoration added? A question I am asking myself is why is nanako so rare on iron? Is iron too hard/tedious for most to do nanako? Thanks.
  20. Hi all, I am looking at this tsuba and trying to figure out how good is it? http://page16.auctions.yahoo.co.jp/jp/auction/u55289299 I think the nanako looks fairly good. Not sure about the inlay and haven't dealt with this type of inlay although I have seen some similar. Something isn't total clicking for me and I don't know why but when this happens usually others can point out things to me- I just can't always break it down into specifics. a few things that bother me, the inlay on the wheel is just on the front of the plate and on better work I usually see it going around the side. The area around the nakaga ana is also bothering me, perhaps it has been colored? Maybe the photos themselves aren't helping. I am thinking the price is off but then again sometimes when I am not familiar with a school/ technique I can be wrong. Appreciate comments- thanks. Ken
  21. Mantis dude


    I am adding this I thought I sort of recognized this tsuba- this is a tsuba previously posted by that guy Shan (was he banished?) and old posting is on it out there titled Post subject: What is this then? Just to confirm though it is a mantis and wheel pertaining to the chinese legend of the chariot and mantis. It is a very common akasaka design although the wheel has changed a bit over the years. If I like it a lot, you may have to sell it to me. (didn't everyone get the memo on the mantis dude's right to first refusal?). But I won't evoke my right to purchase. Enjoy it. Just figured I confirm what most of you were saying in spite of silly things like a bell insect....Mantis rule!!!!!! for the full legend you can see it on my website http://kamakiriken.webs.com/index.htm under Japanese symbolism section
  22. Hi all, I was wondering if someone had an idea of how parts of this tsuba could have been worn down, ie how the sword was worn. It is hard for me not to think that a samurai's thumb rested on the mantis (at 12 o'clock) wearing it down over the years. I would assume it is a tanto or wakazashi size copper tsuba at 2 1/2" x 2 5/16". While I hate to see a piece not pristine, it is hard not to appreciate the time it might have taken for this piece to have been worn down and that is was worn and enjoyed. [/url] Thanks
  23. Hi all, I will chime back but first an important lesson so you all can send me mantis items: how to recognize a praying mantis on nihonto: Heads are usually triangular in shape and then antennae come off of that. Bees and/wasps can actually have the exact same shape head so you have to look at the body. A bee/wasp body will almost always have the thorax (bottom part of body) pointing down or bent in some fashion while a Mantis will be relatively straight. Mantis have wings although they are usually displayed against the body. The third identifier and can be a big determiner of mantid vs. grasshopper/other insect is the claw hooked of the mantis. Grasshoppers will have front legs touching the ground, mantis will have those front deadly "legs" raised in some form. The mantis on the guard is 12 oclock on the first pic. The lower body curves around as if a seppa was underneath it. I think there are 2 different evaluations going on for this piece and the arguments are getting blurred in some posts. Condition of the piece which is obviously crap and as Mariusz has stated the execution for the piece. As you guys know I have based my collecting around this one insect. I haven't see a piece like this so I am intrigued for that reason alone. There does seem to be some representations of mantids and other insects in a more comical or kitchie way for lack of better descriptor. I have seen enough to think this is a stylistic thing. So I am trying to picture this tsuba before it was trashed. The nanako reminds me of some sukashi guards I have seen (they were discussed one time) which was most likely country smith work. I don't know the answer to this but it might be an apple oranges thing comparing it to a formal wear piece that was posted. By the way where did that pic come from? Of course I love the formal one and would love to own it. I look for all types of examples. I am curious if things like the solder from someone mucking with it later? It is so hard to look at a piece when it is trashed. But as I stare at it more which I didn't do as much when I first saw it- the bodies of the insects themselves isn't very crisp wonder if they were cast? It is not uncommon for me to see the same depiction on guards which I associate with lower quality work (although not always) so having not seen it just raised my eyebrows. Thanks for comments. Ps. I added a nice tsuba just to show I know what a nice formal tsuba can be.
  24. Hi all, I came across this ebay auction and would have loved to have seen it in its glory days. The question is there any help for it? Any of you that know me, know that I love praying mantis themed fittings and this is an unique depiction- too bad the mantis is worn. Thanks. http://www.ebay.com/itm/330993555917?ss ... 1438.l2648
  25. Mantis dude

    For study

    I remember at a sword group meeting we were discussing the fine detail the Japanese were able to create. A surgeon said he had worked with some Japanese surgeons and that they used breathing techniques and some other Zen like ways to operate instead of just using the magnification glasses. He was impressed with what they could do without the amplification. While I am sure using optics would be helpful, I can also see having the discipline to concentrate and/or focus on the object at hand would be obtainable (within reason- not saying there were killer ninja optometrists)
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