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Valric last won the day on April 9 2019

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About Valric

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    Jo Jo Saku

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    Christopher H.

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  1. Could be slightly machi-okuri. You'd need to check where the smith generally begins his hamon.
  2. Return it as fast as you can. That is one ugly, undisclosed fukure. That's not a small kizu, especially in Shinto.
  3. The video showcase format is a great way of knowing what you're buying - far better than photos in my opinion. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSARnI8V-1s&feature=emb_logo If I were you I wouldn't sell it at a loss. You should be patient and recoup what you have invested into it. This is a mighty fine koto sword and I see no reason why you shouldn't factor in the cost of the polish. That Ichimonji has to be one of the best koto sword I've seen offered on NMB, up there with Jean's sales. Hada and hamon, simply superb.
  4. Some nuggets: Late muromachi, Seki methods spread and dominate during Shinto times, leading to loss of school-level variations. Brief Momoyama effort to resurect the old methods, fades quickly. Some of it lives on in Hizen in a parallel universe. Shinto peace times reinforce the non-utilitarian aspect of swords, craft is driven by fades and fashions which are disconnected from function. Centralized Tamahagane production leads to loss of regional specificity in iron Reduction in demand for swords during Shinto times leads smashes the right tail of the distribution of geniuses which would have turned grand-masters. Shinshinto Masahide revival starts from scratch after observations that swords are no longer functional. Two generation, destruction test on Naotane swords reveal that the Masahide school wasn't successful in returning functionality. Mozart Kyomaro manages to reproduce some of the beauty of old Koto but then dies young and full of debt. Sword ban strangulates the craft even further... Amongst all these, I think the most underrated is probably 5.
  5. I see a coronavirus Tsuba. I see interesting similarities between snowflakes and family Mon.
  6. Good catch. Yes, antai. The old terminology confusion creeps up once more. Pitch black antai composed of very dense nie.
  7. I have seen a Nosada Uchigatana in Rai style with stunning utsuri at the DTI 2019 which like you describe, was near pitch black in contrast and could be seen from a mile away. In fact Nosada's copies of Rai are so convincing that it happens, once and a while, to see a mumei "likely Nosada" posing as Rai with old papers. One of the signs to distinguish between both is that Nosada often added a subtle little blob in his otherwise perfect suguha Hamon as his trademark. Little blob in Suguha + pitch black Utsuri point to Nosada. The high quality of Rai imitations are in my experience limited to Nosada and not further generations, where the nie becomes much more faded and the metal ressembles more and more what we traditionally associate with Seki.
  8. 8 swords, and selling 4 successfully all sounds quite healthy to me. if you've been able to recoup, buy and sell, and kindle your passion this way then more power to you. You're also correct in stating that the 500$ range is the less risky of all brackets, due to the liquidity of the market and the numerous "deal hunters" you'll find on Ebay. Spice up a description, add blurry photos, mention Grandpa Binmore GI bringback as well as a mysterious tsuba and it'll move on to the next with little friction. As soon as you break out of the the EBAY treasure hunter range then this is where the minefield begins.
  9. Kanemoto is classic target for gimei. This blade is either gimei, or "another Kanemoto" which is the Japanese way to go about it. Magoruku (first gen Kanemoto) had a great reputation for creating sharp, no-nonsense blades, which were in fashion by the more austere martial artists of the time, and even today. You'll find them associated with tea ceremony influences, bearing Higo koshirae, for instance, and quite popular with the Hosokawa. Muromachi Seki Magoroku and Nosada were very talented and shine far above what we usually associate with Seki works and can be considered the founders of the Mino tradition (unlike Shizu offshoots, which were clearly Soshu, or Kinju, but that's another topic). The first generations of Kanemoto worked in a "sanbonsugi" hamon which shows three little spikes in a repeating pattern. The first generation had a very organic expression of theme which is highly valued today, and as you move down the line it becomes more regular and ultimately less interesting. As for the Tsuba, couple hundred bucks on AOI or paperweights in Japan bought by the kilo. If I'm not mistaken you've been hoarding all sorts of Ebay freak circus blades, and it could be time to consider a trip to Japan, books, or other education tools to sharpen your eyes. "Buy before you learn on EBAY" will put you into a dire predicament...
  10. Taima, Echizen Rai, Enju, Morikage... Probably time to consolidate and move to one first tier masterwork. Taima upgrades to Yukimitsu Echizen Rai/Enju to Rai or Awataguchi Morikage to Chogi, Kencho, or Kanemitsu PS: the Taima has a fine shape.
  11. Saito: Foremost polisher for Soshu work, this is where Masamune and top work by his students should go. Also highly skilled in Hitatsura work. Dodo: Excellent with Bizen masterpieces, top sashikomi artist, very well suited for swords with Choji. These polishers, especially the top one, will not take just any sword and will need an introduction by someone in the milieu who can vouch for you. You give the sword, you wait, and one day you get the sword back and a bill. And if the sword isn't up to their standards, or you've shown yourself to be insensitive to Japanese norms ("Can you polish this Shimada tanto?" "Can I get a discount because the existing polish is still ok? How about we make the polish this way. I just want hadori work, please. It's been two years, where is my sword?"), you probably will wait five years or more or get your sword back without work done. Add to that, you will need an intermediary to navigate these delicate social waters, who will be risking his own standing within Japanese society by vouching for you. As a more local and less cryptic alternative, I wholeheartedly recommend Ted Tenold as probably the best outside Japan. His abilities are recognized by Japanese experts who comment positively on the quality of his polish on fine swords. These are just broad recommendations, and this topic is vast and deserves an in-depth analysis by someone with in the milieu. The best route is always to ask Tanobe-Sensei what polisher he recommends for the job.
  12. Interesting tangent Kirill, repackage it as its own thread and let's have a go at it. It's not good to let these things sit and simmer in vaguely-related threads where they're unlikely to gather replies, data and counter-arguments. It's a worthy topic.
  13. Thank you Paul for this interesting topic. Michael sets out the big dream. There are a few cut-throat billionaires in Japan who can't even get there and money isn't the problem. It's a strange country. Here we'd just put everything in auction and let them bleed each other out to "price find" the piece. I don't know if this is only with sword because of their special cultural role or say, it extends to pottery and whatnot. Now we also have "quirks" in our aspirations, things which go off the beaten path or things we know just don't fit into the canvas. I'd love one day find a fine exemplar of Nosada's work paired with a Higo koshirae. Which is strange given my collection goals I also would love to find a particularly rustic Ko-Hoki. This one at least makes a bit of sense... I love swords with surprising stories. Discover new swords with great stories attached. It's an open-ended dream...no particular requirements here. Oh, and have many friends living close-by sharing the same passion, so that we can study and share today.
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