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Mantis dude

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Everything posted by Mantis dude

  1. I have seen them and read about using ground shells but don't think I have seen them whole like that. When you put the saya up to your ear do you hear the ocean? (everyone is a wiseass)
  2. That's what I am thinking. My vote is also Aizu Shoami.
  3. Hi all, A Mantis tsuba, of course I need to chime in! I have a personal interest in this topic but lacking access to hands on material it is hard to come up with answers. Discerning these schools: Mito, Aizu Shoami, Shoami (yep we may hate it, but just Shoami) and I will add Nara (since many mito are copies of Nara) can be difficult. I find the relationship between Mito and Aizu Shoami interesting. Geographically they are next to each other and it may be feasible that tsuba makers went back and forth. As in all the readings say, the answers lies in the plate. From my readings and many examples can be found in the Haynes catalogs, there are tsuba that Mr. Haynes labeled "Revival School" done in the late 1800's that worked the plate and mimi with lots of hammer work, as well as, used the iron on iron inlays and /or Onin school type cutouts. It can be hard to tell sometimes, the makers do some good work, they certainly don't look like factory plates, but what gives it away for lack of a better way to describe is that the plate is overworked, too much is done. You can also find this in Late Heianjo pieces, the plate gives it away- giving it a glossy over worked feel to it. Back to Mito vs. Aizu, I think it might also require comparing them in person with other Mito pieces, perhaps one day I can develop my eye enough to tell. I don't see Mino at all. Here is a pic of some similar/ relevent tsubas - top is Mito, left side is papered shoami, right I am not sure - Mito or Shoami (Hard to tell from pic but I like plate better). Bottom left is Aizu shoami and bottom right is a "Revival School". I can find elements or relevance with Alexander's Tsuba in almost every one. (Sorry if posted pic doesn't show up well) Anyone is more than welcome to send me mantis tsuba for ongoing research :D After all, it takes work to become the Mantis Dude.
  4. Hi all, Can't sleep and actually caught up with posts close enough to actual posting times. While I really don't know, seeing the punch marks sort of reminds me of some sukashi tsuba that were talked about a while ago although they look to be done a bit sloppier? Seeing the posted shoami piece, it may be possible that it was done by a country smith that copied the original design. Purely a guess on my part and certainly one that would be hard if not impossible to prove but just reminds me of the conversation I had on different tsuba. Best.
  5. ok my head has calluses too. There are 3 different kanji terms for praying mantis alone, let alone insects, etc. Still it can be an adventure and for reasons that I don't understand, every once in a while on a mantis tsuba search turns up naked Japanese ladies . While I still avert my eyes, after all I am not Milt, it can give you the pickup to keep on going .
  6. I had some time and got a new printer so I figured I would play with scan features a bit. Here is a pine bonsai menuki from a book fine sword fittings: menuki (2). I didn't do a great job scanning but could get you a better scan if you needed too. The book pic isn't great so the scan is fairly close to the menuki pic in book. A few examples to get you started. I would suggest searching Japanese websites with the kanji characters for bonsai along with the Japanese menuki, tsuba otherwise you will get just bonsai sites. Learning how to search Japanese websites can be a great search tool even if you don't read Japanese. Best of luck.
  7. As a former Bonsai collector, I have occasionally looked at pieces of that subject matter. I don't have any saved images for you but they are out there. I have seen them in pots on tsuba. From what I remember they are not the main subject matter. Although I know I have seen bonsai themed menuki just couldn't tell you where. They are definitely out there. Good luck hunting them down.
  8. Hi all, I know I have been negligent these past few years in sharing and I still have personal reasons for maintaining low profile. But I wanted to share this tsuba that I got early on that always captured my interest, is one of my favorite kinko pieces and I love the patina. The patina might be getting too dark not sure i can really control that? any advice of course is welcome, I think the patina has added more depth to the piece but I assume at some point it will get too dark. but I am mostly just trying to share. Details from my notes are as follows: I will also add, picking it up just now, it is dense (heavy) more so than i remembered or would have thought. Any and all comments are appreciated. Hope some enjoy it. Thanks.
  9. I saw that also and had a similar feeling. plus no mantis so what good are they ..ok I am slightly biased in my collecting habits.
  10. If you or someone could write an article on the topic I think it would have a huge effect on collectors. It is such a large gap in knowledge that needs to be filled. It could help in specific schools, nara vs mito vs aizu shoami vs late edo copies. Since most of us don't have the access to hold hundreds let alone thousands of gurads, this article would be a major help. I hope it can be done. Thanks.
  11. I really wish I had a picture to share. I still remember it was a Japanese gentleman laying out all these tsuba pieces. The expressions on everyone's face said it all. a picture of that would have been great too.... a bunch of guys scratching their heads and drooling. lol.
  12. its always been 2 different worlds. when I started collecting they said swords are hard, fittings even more. There are lot of picture books on fittings but it doesn't seem to be as many translated texts. Swords often are dated, but how many fittings are? I sort of realized a long time ago, I am going to be a beginner for ever. I might get some knowledge but the gaps will be big, I just don't have access to holding pieces. I enjoy it still and this forum is very helpful but I know they won't be holding a spot on the shinsa team for me and I am ok with that.
  13. Hey David, I lived in chestertown and even though it took an hour and half to get there it was a great place to learn. The group has a real history and there was some good guys that have been around a while. The "older crew" would stop in from time to time so you never knew what you could see. I had some old newsletters when they were in their heyday, with Bob Benson and some of the others. It was interesting to read those old newsletters- I still have them. I think in some ways since they had even less information readily available it made the groups closer. Just hearing their stories was fun when you could buy swords by the bucketful, etc. I didn't know Jack well, I don't think he came often when I was there but he did go through a few pieces with me once. If I am thinking of the right guy. Dale was really helpful to me. Shoot, I am so bad with names, there was a retired doctor who was into some fittings- why can't remember his name? oh yeah Dr. Jay G.. Anyway, When I got divorced I moved back to NY so I obviously couldn't go to meetings there anymore. I will always have fond memories as it was the first group where I was able to hold and share pieces. It was always hosted nicely by Steve (I don't know the status of the group now). Since it is more of an informal group than other clubs it was sort of a nice secret. Although reading the old newsletters, it was more formal back then and had a membership of a lot of names of famous/serious American collectors. A far cry from when I got together with John Elyias (the jss us newsletter editor) in Pittsburgh. 2 guys that knew next to nothing but were able to share a few items together as we started our collecting journey. Meeting John for the first time I also realized my Japanese pronunciation is horrendous having only read a few books. To this day, I have to translate Japanese terminology into Ken Japanese and then into English. ok enough of my personal reminiscing. I hope you enjoy it and the group still goes on.
  14. I wish I had a photo of a tsuba a member of the mid atlantic token kai had shared many years ago. It was just beautiful craftsmanship, beautiful clean use of lot of different metals. Then as the owner is taking it out, he flips this undetectable latch and the top plate pops out, spring loaded and becomes a stand leg (was the size of like an oseppa). The "tsuba" stood up to display. It was so well done that when closed the piece you couldn't really even see the seams all around and it was spring loaded. Closed it looked like a fancy tsuba. Tourist piece or not, whatever it was, it was really a true piece of craftsmanship. I remember everyone around the table looking at in awe- it was just so unique and so well done.
  15. charly, not sure what you are using to translate but there are some very helpful guides on the "kanji pages" link at the top of the page. You will get used to the general format of how signatures are written so you will know that most of the time a town's name uses 2 kanji. Therefore, instead of looking for individual kanji letters you can look for kanji words (for lack of a better word). translating by individual kanji can be very time consuming especially when you don't speak Japanese. I have found the guides to be very useful in identifying words that I was totally going down the wrong path with the individual kanji method you are using (nothing wrong with it just poses a lot more options to sort through. The more I have used them to translate the more some translations have gotten easier. In fact, since many terms will be repeated, old translations make it easier for new translations. It can be fun and at times very annoying but when you get a translation done all by yourself, I must say it is very satisfying. Good luck with it all.
  16. Mantis dude

    A fake

    while this seems a bit different always check this site- this guy reproduces tons of different tsuba- not fakes but could easily turn into 1. There are a lot of sub links, sometimes you have to click on them all just to know what is being produced. I post this site every year or so and it is worth checking to see what could be wrongly being sold. sorry just had surgery on wrist otherwise would have tried to get pic to post. too much tyrping for me. http://tsubaryuken.com/12shasinB/12G-48.html http://tsubaryuken.com/05uresuji.html http://tsubaryuken.com/main.html
  17. It looks very sloppy to me. The nanako is done poorly, the inlay looks more like paint than some well positioned inlay. The gold "bleeds" along the edges and the more I look at it, the more it bothers me. I don't know what to think of this but I have seen a lot of "dock" pieces that are at least executed with more precision. Look at how the seppa dai is executed at the bottom. Totally uneven. Seems to me there are plenty of better pieces to be had for the same price. I am finding it hard to justify the multitude of imperfections and poor execution that I would expect from a real piece. Makes it more suspect to me. These imperfections are not wabisabi, its wabiugly in my opinion.
  18. Hi Allan, There are 2 tsuba going off in London by Bonhams but I didn't see any in the Australian auction. Thanks. Ken P.S. Ford has potential since he has worked with the mantis form if memory serves right... as a side note I am impressed with the skill of anyone that can produce work like shown in some of those pictures except for Ford (gotta keep his ego in check). If you have any sense of what skills are displayed then you can't help but appreciate what they do. It was many years ago, might even have been before this site when there was discussion of artists not being able to make a living since what it takes to create a quality item is very expensive. I am glad there are at least some guys that can keep the practices alive. Ford has provided a lot of insight as an artist that sheds light on things that as collectors we just would not have gotten (ok his ego can swell he earned it).
  19. I can't wait till these craftsman mature, find inner peace and use true insect designs of the one and only Kamakiri. Of course, no bias on my end.
  20. I have one that was done and it was theorized that perhaps it was retrofitted to a polearm. Since I never held or really seen one, I don't know but I think there is a reason other than for housing supplies.
  21. Buy a jewelers loupe! I was amazed when I purchased one and what could be seen that I didn't see with my eye. I found a loupe that has 2 powers with each side having its own led light for only a few bucks (under $10) on amazon. It was well worth the few bucks and it is fun to see the details really closeup. Actually gives me even more respect for the artists ability to produce details in such a minute way.
  22. I remember once I did try and do my own restoration. I can't remember where I got the formula, it was on one of the major websites, using chemicals you could get from photography?(I think). I made a batch and stored it in an aluminum bottle that I picked up at CVS for a few bucks. I thought it would make a good container. I used it and I think it did a decent job on the tsuba I was playing with. I put the rest away in a cabinet. Less than 2 months later I was in the cabinet and took a look at the "formula" canister. I am so glad that I had also put it in a plastic bag because the entire bottom was eroded. I mean gone, like it was sitting outside for 50 years in rain puddles. Like I said, it was stored less than 2 months, it just goes to show how dangerous these chemicals or formulas can be. You really want to be careful and better off not mucking with something. It was a reminder it is better to leave things alone since you can easily do more harm than good.
  23. I know for a fact on a silver platter the hallmarks would be related to the maker, silver content and/or date of manufacture (depending on country and era). As for what Franco is claiming, I am still confused - is it a stamp used to widen a hole in an area that doesn't have a hole? or are you saying it is the mark of a guy that might have made a modification to the size of a hole? insert appropriate avatar here. - I am controlling myself from more wiseass answers since I know things get misconstrued and people don't know the level of obnoxiousness NYers can have without meaning any ill will. I don't take things too serious as an fyi In that last linked example it actually looks like my stamps but done on the kashira.
  24. Franco, I mostly only know what I have seen and I haven't seen what you are talking about. I have seen fuchi that look like the hole was widened with a file or such. Regardless, I don't think these hallmarks have anything to do with moving metal or making the hole wider. They are stamped off to the sides. Unless you are saying it is a stamp by someone who made changes to the fitting. But since the fitting isn't signed and the hallmark is underneath that doesn't make much sense to me. Then again, making sense isn't always a requirement, although in these arts there usually is some reason for something. While I stop making sense all the time, I don't think that is the explanation for these hallmarks.
  25. If you look at the stamps placement, I think you will see there isn't the functional use you are describing. There are stamps used for tsuba to move metal but not fuchi. I think I am going to change the terminology of this topic from STAMP to HALLMARK which is most likely a better descriptor and more consistent with the terminology used in other similar looking "stamps". I did actually find a dai stamp on a wwi or wwii Japanese medal but it was different than mine and there was no explanation of the stamp plus it is on an item much later in date, so it gave me no further understanding. I have given up on searching on the internet. I did look at a lot of interesting hallmarks from around the world and even Japanese pottery marks so it wasn't all bad.... the mystery continues
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