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Jussi Ekholm

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Everything posted by Jussi Ekholm

  1. Just got my magazine in mail, wonderful feature article
  2. I know some people might have very negative view on the old papers while others will have quite positive. I'd be somewhere in the middle grounds, I feel they are a one valid opinion given to the item. As far as "Jūyō" quality goes, I'd wager most very high quality items with old papers residing in Japan would have been already converted to the new NBTHK system. That is just following what I feel as common sense. Of course there could be that 1 in 1000 item that still comes out every now and then. Outside of Japan I would have bit more relaxed view on items however note that it might be incredibly difficult to tell when the item has left Japan. On sending tsuba and other fittings to modern NBTHK shinsa in Japan, note that current fee for Hozon is 17,000 yen (c.130€), and you'll need to add all the other expenses related to submission for that. I am not too well versed in tsuba market as I don't own single one nor look to buy one at the moment, however if I would be planning for an international submission of tsuba for shinsa, I would save it for good quality ones even at the basic Hozon level. If I would own a tsuba with green papers and it would be an ok one, I think I might not feel the need to send it for modern shinsa. Granted if I would be living in Japan I feel I might want multiple opinions from different organizations and people for my items, for learning and fun. I am just not a fan of sending expensive items internationally, and in modern day the costs are quite high (well tsuba can be shipped in smaller packages compared to swords ).
  3. Could you perhaps get a bit clearer picture of the signature? I would think it could be late Muromachi period sword from Mino province with the smith being Kane X (signature 兼X作). Unfortunately I cannot clearly identify the middle character from the picture. I have few potential guesses for the character but as I am not totally sure I would rather wait for a clearer image first.
  4. I can't find the actual source right now but I am fairly positive Markus Sesko has written a bit about historical prices of some fittings, if my memory is not playing tricks on me (I know Markus has done so on swords). Some fittings such as Gotō school sets etc. were way above your average samurai back in the day. I know some Gotō family origami have valuations that they gave to the pieces.
  5. Awesome job Glen. As tsuba and other fittings are not my forte, if you guys find any errors you can message me and I will correct it for the next update. I was trying to look into the Nanban tsuba that is being discussed, unfortunately I can't get the text typed in today and trying to figure it out. It has been attributed to Momoyama period by NBTHK. The size of it is 7,4 cm X 7,3 cm.
  6. I think for me the most important thing about collecting is passion. I don't really care about the "level" of the collection but it is easy to see passion of the collector. You don't really need big ticket items as long as you are happy for what you have. I've been watching some trading card collecting videos from Youtube lately and you can easily see how much passion some of the collectors have and can be hyped for example on 50$ card even if they are owning 5000$ cards etc. I know investing has creeped into many forms of collecting and I just feel pure collecting is a joy to see. I used to collect ice hockey cards when I was a kid, however I've understood that I can not enter trading card collecting anymore as I feel I do not have the needed passion for it nor the sports the cards are based on. Likewise in Japanese swords I know I will only seek to research, focus and even possibly occasionally collect those items that I have the passion for. As far as stories go, I would rather hear from the person collecting than the items he/she has collected. It is very fascinating to hear whya person has made the decisisions he has in collecting, while looking at the items alone you could perhaps not understand the reasoning behind them.
  7. That is how it is commonly how change in signature side is thought to have evolved that when swords were starting to be worn through the belt in opposite direction from before. However it would have been just as easy to mount blade in various ways regardless on how it was signed. As well as there were forms of suspension and ways of tying katana to be slung from waist like a tachi. I think most dealers in Japan know what premium NBTHK papers bring to table compared to others in financial sense. I personally like NTHK papers and it is nice that they provide more info in their paper than NTHK so you can follow their logic more easily. However on big name items I would definately go to NBTHK. While I am not too focused on financial side of the hobby, I see the financial upside just so much larger with NBTHK compared to other organizations. However I must say there is of course potential in NTHK papered items, and they can often be acquired for lower cost. Although I couldn't afford a certain partially signed tachi that had NTHK papers with Japanese dealer some years ago, I am still kicking myself a bit over it as it went on to get NBTHK papers to different smith of the same school and price doubled... I know you hear often buy the sword not the papers etc. but authentication brings certain amount of confidence to the field. Regardless of the organization authenticating they do carry value in market point of view. Having few different opinions on an item is in my opinion better than one even if they would be different. Personally I am wondering how Japanese dealer would not send a quality item to NBTHK (as I feel it greatly adds marketability to the item) but people have different views on things. And like on my example above there was that tachi with NTHK papers up for sale at Japanese dealer site for several years, so I guess I wasn't the only one standing idle. Smith like Tomomitsu is a great attribution and the blade most likely shows something good in the opinion of shinsa team.
  8. I think it is indeed Umetada but using these kanji - 梅忠 See few references here: (unfortunately couldn't find NBTHK paper for mumei using this kanji fast) https://www.kandatoukodo.com/tousougu/tsuba42.html https://tokka.biz/fittings/TS720.html
  9. Thank you for the pictures John, that makes it lot clearer. I think it makes things interesting. I know that you should focus on the details on the sword rather than doing speculative stuff but I'll give some reasoning here. As the sword seems to have been signed on sashi omote side (way katana are generally signed) and the signature has been folded over. Based on the 15 signed ōdachi & tachi I have on record for Tomomitsu, he signed his swords on haki-omote side (way tachi are normally signed). I attach here an example of orikaeshi-mei by Tomomitsu and you can see the signature is folded on the opposite side as on the sword we are discussing. Signing tachi on sashi-omote side was never really a big thing in Bizen and signature on this side started to appear more during the early Muromachi period. And as the signature seems to have been thought important enough to fold over I would think it could have been made by a good smith. NTHK going for Tomomitsu is a small headscratcher for me personally as due to this type of orikaeshi-mei I would look more in towards early Muromachi if thinking of Bizen. Of course that could be totally ignored in evaluation but I think it is important factor. Unfortunately I can't say too much about details on the blade from the pictures (and I am not skilled enough in detail stuff anyway). However based on the shape & size, orikaeshi-mei and horimono I think it is an interesting item.
  10. I am not a koshirae guy but I think that style is called kawa-tsutsumi (covered in leather). To my eye that tachi koshirae in overall might be the most collectible thing out of the lot.
  11. There are many good vendors in the UK too. I think UK guys can give good recommendations and info but mostly in private messages as publically discussing stuff like this can be bit problematic. In my personal opinion I do not think Lanes Armoury is geared towards "hardcore" Japanese sword collectors but more towards militaria guys want to get a Japanese sword. I do not mean bad with that comment even though I agree that it can be taken very negatively.
  12. I know I commented to you on another forum but in general I'd be stunned if they sell the items in the ballpark of their asking prices (which I am sure they do as they have been running business for a long time). I am not a business savvy person and my hats off to them as they seem to show they can pull it off.
  13. Welcome to the forum John! I agree what others have said about sending to NBTHK, if sending items to shinsa in Japan would be easier for me, I would try to get several attributions to the 2 mumei swords in my collection. In my opinion that is an interesting sword, what kind of measurements it has? I am having hard time figuring out if it has orikaeshi-mei (folded over signature) or gaku-mei (inserted signature), as it is so corroded I can't see anything (I know Ray is like a detective in figuring these out). Do you happen to have a picture of the end of the tang?
  14. Yes it is most likely from Bizen province if the signature is good (and I would not personally doubt it too much). There were lots and lots of Sukesada smiths working in the late Muromachi period and if the signature does not have "personal name" it will be very difficult to identify unless the work is spectacular from which experts can agree on which Sukesada most likely made the particular item.
  15. Finally found the topic as I remembered it was quite recent. Mark S. documented the changes that came with polishing by Woody. 0,1 cm in length and 5 grams in weight. I think one good indicator of how much the sword has changed from original in thickness is the difference between nakagokasane and motokasane. Here is an image of an old tachi from Nanbokuchō period I used to have. Nakagokasane was 8 mm, motokasane was 5,6 mm and motoshinogikasane 6,8 mm. While the picture is not optimal I think it shows the wear quite well.
  16. Here is a verified example by this smith dated to same year 1450, from Jūyō 34 session. Now what is interesting that in this he is signing with the form 寳徳 that is alternative way of signing the era (it was featured in Japaneseswordindex). Historically both styles were used however I am not sure if the smith would sign the year in different form in his career? Unfortunately I only have this one Hōtoku era signature from Hidekage in my records. https://www.aoijapan.net/tachi-bishu-osafune-hidekage-34th-nbthk-juyo-paper/
  17. You can also ditch going towards Sudo Kunitsugu route even though was suggested for researching in original sales ad as he wrote Kuni is very peculiar and original way.
  18. I think you are very close, to me it seems like Hōtoku (宝徳) 2 - 1450.
  19. I think the problem comes with the number of submissions & passes for lower tier items. NBTHK actually releases the numbers and I did dig them up in 2020 for this thread: In 2019 for Hozon & Tokubetsu Hozon items there were 10,500+ passes In 2018 for Hozon & Tokubetsu Hozon items there were 10,300+ passes Compared to 2019 Jūyō - 138 items 2018 Jūyō - 168 items Just the amount of time required to take good pictures of that amount of blades / items is a lot. Then add in all the processing to digital form and adding info etc. I do know NBTHK does has their own registry of all the items passed from which they can verify the authenticity of the papers (never done that myself but I believe it is possible). Also the English translations of certain parts of Tōken Bijutsu are accessible for free to everyone in their website from early 2012 up to this day, while lacking pictures featured in the magazine I still think one can find useful info in there: https://www.touken.or.jp/english/TokenBijutsuTranslation/backnumber.html
  20. Here are 3 Jūyō swords for reference mei. Unfortunately I don't know the smith well enough to say anything for certain.
  21. The last one was priced for 850k yen. Just noticed again it was attributed towards Kinjū in sayagaki. Even though I was really looking at that one when it was available I had forgotten about the sayagaki. I think it had some issues in the condition, it is sometimes hard to compare the pictures as some sellers use different techniques and possibly digitally enchance the pictures. I think this seller has quite honest pictures in general although sometimes they show the flaws in not too flattering way.
  22. Like others have said above it is very nice sword. I feel the quality is definately there as it looks very nice in the pictures. However as I am personally very focused on shape & size, I would rather choose different type of Nanbokuchō item. Here are 6 other Ōmiya attributed mumei katana that are/were around this same price point for comparison purposes. http://www.nipponto.com/Sword/detailomiyaden.html https://web.archive.org/web/20160817205440/http:/www.nihontocraft.com:80/Japanese_Sword_Bizen_Omiya_Katana.html https://www.aoijapan.net/katana-mumei-unsigned-attributed-as-oomiya-school/ https://eirakudo.shop/token/tachikatana/detail/852780 https://www.aoijapan.net/katana-mumei-omiya/ https://www.nipponto.co.jp/swords6/NT330431.htm Of these I would personally go for the last two, and even though the last one is in rougher condition it is my personal favorite as it has grand shape and size. Only negative thing size wise is the short length but that is often encountered with very wide swords.
  23. Dale have you ever encountered this term in Japanese tsuba sources? 兜師 Like Piers I would think they might be classified under armor maker tsuba but of course tsuba are not my focus. I would rather think those as having the design of kabuto or the design was inspired by kabuto. Here is one example by very late Myochin maker. https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EH5CNRIX0AAyB5O?format=jpg&name=large Edit: Added few examples https://blog.goo.ne.jp/tsuba_001/e/e146d09399c6ce3476c3b1b7ceebe693 https://www.nipponto.co.jp/swords6/TB202388.htm
  24. I think you have characters correctly in section 2. I hope more skilled language folks will chime in for confirmation. I think 瑞祥 in the description means auspicious, which I believe means for good luck in the future etc. While searching auspicious patterns with google, this image has two patterns in your tsuba in the middle row:
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