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Lee Bray

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Everything posted by Lee Bray

  1. They're kicho papers. The seller/dealer probably found them in the trash after someone threw them out after getting new hozon papers. Kicho papers are barely worth the paper they're written on and this type of auction just verifies that.
  2. Most Gassan works have a nakago that show a very high level of skill and attention to detail. The mei shows that same attention to detail and is very artistic, like very good calligraphy. Your sword doesn't show that to me. You generally shouldn't judge a sword on its mei, but Gassan works are somewhat of an exception to that, at least to my mind anyway. A good example - http://www.nihonto.ca/gassan-sadayoshi/
  3. There are fully mounted and properly(? - at least they display hamon) heat treated katana coming out of the forges in China which retail for way under US$200. That's retail prices in the US, so with shipping from China and profit margins, the Chinese forges are selling them for less than $100. This copy of a Shingunto - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2zgYN35Id4 - retails for US$350. It's not perfect, no, but a lot better than the vast majority of obvious fakes we see. Actual cost would be what, $150-$200? So, I think you're right in that the manufacturing costs would be higher but I don't think by very much. I think we've just been lucky so far in that the sword market is small and generally well educated and the Chinese haven't taken full advantage of it. With handbags, watches, DVD's, etc, there is so much more money to be made for a lot less hassle. Hopefully, with increased wealth across China and their promised political reforms, we might see a decrease in all forms of Chinese fakes but then we might also see flying pigs...
  4. They used to say there was a sucker born every minute. With the exponential growth rise in population, it's probably closer to every second, nowadays...
  5. If you check the sellers other items, you'll see he's selling a copy of Fuller & Gregory's Military swords. Maybe that's where the improvements have come from and now they don't need the book... Considering that some forges in China have been making decent production katana for some years, I'm surprised it has taken this long to see fakes of this 'quality'. It does seem that there are still plenty of people who will pay out good money for blatantly obvious fakes so maybe they haven't needed to yet.
  6. Fred Lohman is for modern production swords, not for Nihonto. Even in that field he receives complaints. You can view a modern assembled koshirae(with antique pieces or modern made ones) as a money losing venture or you can view it as supporting the craftsmen who continue the traditions. My sword mentor has had new koshirae made in Japan from antique pieces and seems more than happy with them. Nothing wrong at all with collecting kodugu in boxes but it's nice to see them mounted on what they were made for as well.
  7. The mechanics of any polish determine the "look" of the hamon, no? George, we know your preferences. Some of us are in agreement, depending on the sword. Sashikomi can be manipulated; just read 'The Art of Japanese Sword Polishing' by Setsuo Takaiwa to see how. A vinegar etch of the whole blade could be construed as a 'sashikomi' polish. Is that what you want to see?
  8. Wasn't this blade established as a non traditional Showato? As such, a proper polish would be worth more than the sword so maybe the client, the polisher or both didn't think it was worth the time to do a proper polish.
  9. Ford is currently running an intensive month long teaching course so may not be reading this but Sage is correct. He stated as much on his facebook page some time ago.
  10. Ed - I used to own a Showato with the same W stamp as yours that was signed Hisamichi(nijimei) and dated May, 1945. It came in the remnants of the late 1944 pattern mounts. It was fairly short, about 25 1/2", IIRC, with a second mekugi ana at the butt of the nakago. There was a W stamp in the standard area for a stamp and also one on the mune. Never found out what the stamp meant, unfortunately, so no help there but just thought this info might be an extra clue.
  11. Eggplant, scallop, clam and ginger...it's a recipe on a tsuba...
  12. I have a Koto tachi which is covered in old rust and nicks and looks like junk that has two very large hagire that I took to Japan a couple of years back. It belonged to my father so I wanted to get some opinions on it although I knew it was beyond repair. viewtopic.php?f=1&t=11123&p=95090&hilit=koto+tachi#p95090 I showed it to a very respected trained polisher and he asked if he could open a window as he liked the look of the blade. After opening the window, he reckoned it was late Kamakura/Nambokucho jidai and probably Enju school and that it looked like a significant blade. He wanted to polish it so I left it with him. Unfortunately, life happens and it doesn't look like I'll ever be able to afford to polish it. It's still with him and I'm currently in the process of trying to give it to him; if I can't afford to polish it then hopefully he can and the sword might see some respect. Had I known I could just chop it up and make a tanto... Just saying, Joe...not all junk looking blades are junk.
  13. Donate US$100 to Paul's project and I'll send you these menuki - viewtopic.php?f=4&t=16650 PM me with your intention and shipping address and when we've verified the donation with Paul, I'll ship them out to you at my expense.
  14. Swords to China - cannot. Swords to Hong Kong - no problem. Swords to Taiwan - ?? Swords to Singapore - ?? Check with custom officials via the internet for any country you're shipping to if you think there maybe a problem.
  15. I'd be very wary of kicho, or green, papers. At least with regard to swords. I have a signed, 6th gen. Echizen Shigetaka with kicho papers. It is dated 1663 on the nakago. viewtopic.php?f=1&t=8593&p=75087&hilit=Shigetaka#p75087 Books put 6th gen Shigetaka as working circa 1744. It is gimei. Here is a good explanation of old papers from a knowledgeable member, Kunitaro-sama. viewtopic.php?f=9&t=13981&p=121322&hilit=kicho+fake+papers#p121322 Are all kicho papers false? No. Are many kicho papers false? Seems so, yes.
  16. Lee Bray

    Akasaka?

    And just to show that folk tales have some basis in reality... This little fella took on me and my four dogs, none of them small. The worst of his fate(so far) was to be immortalised on NMB...
  17. Yes, went in the caves and rolled around in the mud pits at the end...much fun... One of our races went through 600m of cave system in the area which had never been accessed except by a few local farmers. Spent three days underground rigging ladders and some short abseils for that race so glad I'm not claustrophic. For the race, I was marshall/tally man at the exit point where I had to wait several hours with the only English speaking local marshall, who became my girlfriend... now ex... She spoke Mandarin with a smattering of Cantonese and fluent in English. My language skills leave me struggling with my native English... After posting earlier, I tried to access some old pics on disc but they've degraded and most of the pics are gone...gutted...
  18. Hi John. Yangshuo has really taken off with the tourist trade. The main drag is now called 'Western Street'. Last time I was there was 7-8 years ago, so probably even more so now. Was there several times as head rigger for adventure races in the area, then the last time with my girlfriend from Guilin and my brother from the UK. Stephen - looks like I've had the dubious distinction of abseiling down the world's largest tsuba, then. I like that... :D Had the pleasure(sarcasm) of having to run up Moon Hill to perform an abseil rescue on a racer who lost his bottle halfway down. By the time I hit the top, I needed rescuing myself.
  19. More or less correct. I've watched them fish this way in Yangshuo, China, where they use a ring around the neck which restricts the gullet. The ring is removed after several fish are caught and the bird rewarded. They use a hinged metal ring as a rope would chafe the neck with the constant movement and being wet.
  20. Hi Jon. Not unique but certainly unusual. The picture below is one I own, with a vine design in gold inlay on the sides. I'm unsure what the shape is called, I've got it somewhere but can't find it at present. I think it is Tate Kaku Gata with uchikaeshi rim, but that's not certain. Probably mid Edo, maybe a little earlier. I've seen one similar on Ed Marshall's site a long while back but it's not there anymore. Can't see the details of the mon on yours but the pattern is commonly known as 'key fret' and more properly known as Raimon, which depicts lightning bolts(thanks to Rich T - viewtopic.php?f=2&t=489&hilit=key+fret+design).
  21. http://www.aoijapan.com/fittings/tsuba A good selection of reasonably priced and genuine tsuba. Shop owner speaks good English and is a pleasure to deal with.
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