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RichardP

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Everything posted by RichardP

  1. Would be slick if the case had a knurled dial on its face that could be turned, gradually changing the angle of the mounts / position of the lights...
  2. Hey Paul! Knowledgeable folks should be along to help you out shortly—they’ll probably be better able to help you if you provide a little more pics/information. A picture of the blade from above, against a plain background, would help to determine if your sword has the shape/silhouette consistent with Hizen workmanship. (The signature seems to be Hizen Kuni Ju Tada Somethin’.) What’re the blade dimensions? Your sword is signed on the side one would expect for Hizen wakizashi, so if this is instead katana-length, it probably raises some questions about the legitimacy of the mei. The chisel-marks in the mei look pretty rough to my eyes and the patina seems odd, but I’m a rank newbie so don’t worry just yet! I hope the experts can give you some good news. Closer pics of the steel may get you more confident responses, and the forum requires all posts to be signed. Good luck!
  3. The kasane appears substantially narrower than the nakago— Is this sword therefore tired? Does this narrowing allow us to rule out shinshinto as too recent?
  4. Another Kobayashi Kiyochika— My understanding is that this portrays the last moments of Hosokawa Gracia, after it has become clear that all was lost and she would soon be in the clutches of Ishida Mitsunari (her husband, Hosokawa Tadaoki, was off on campaign with Tokugawa Ieyasu). I believe the official version of her death is that her newly-adopted Catholicism—with its prohibition on suicide—prevented her from taking her own life, so she asked her retainers to be the ones to kill her, then to burn the place down and kill themselves. (Apparently a Jesuit witness left a more cynical account, stating that it was her husband, on his way out the door to join the fighting, who took the retainers aside and instructed them that if all appeared lost, they were to kill his wife, kill themselves, and burn the place down.) I really like this very different version that is (I think!) being portrayed by Kiyochika: The lady sits with a sash tied about her knees to maintain decorum in her death throes, having just finished her death poem. A dagger lies on a table next to her. Her retainers stand guard in the foreground, but it is the lady herself who will be taking her own life, by her own hand. Not sure if this is what Kiyochika is actually communicating—seems kind of subversive, right? Been meaning to retain Mr. Sesko’s services and have translations done... (This is mounted, but I had them use museum glass and acid-free paper, and it doesn’t see sunlight.)
  5. Me three! Hoping I’m not muddying the waters, but there’s this, from Mr. Hofhine’s site: “If the blade has a hamon such as sanbon-sugi or some togari-ba, a sashikomi finish may also be preferable. This is because the hamon consisting of many narrow, high, widely separated peaks, may not fit well into a keisho wave form...” (http://ipolishswords.com/Keisho.html) Regarding this polish, would it be fair to criticize the suguha element as overexposed? (The suguha seems to cut through the peaks and overpower them, resulting in what seems like two overlapping hamons, rather than a single harmonious one—or am I well off base?) Here’s Mr. Brockbank on sanbonsugi: https://yuhindo.com/kanemoto-katana/
  6. This thread is pretty amazing...
  7. In fairness, this one doesn’t decisively prove the point, either. But is your reaction “this horimono is exactly where it should be”, or “ye gods, that’s a lot of lipstick”?
  8. The squiggle-like carvings you mention are Sanskrit, I believe. It’s my understanding that horimono were sometimes used to conceal flaws—something to consider, especially if the horimono seems oddly placed. Despite how gorgeous and intricate some of the workmanship is, I have a hard time not thinking of the phrase “gilding the lily” (just my uncultured opinion).
  9. Aw man, that would make for a great saidan-mei: “On Tenpo 14, cut through two sofas and a barcalounger.”
  10. Isn’t there a blade with a seven-body cutting attestation that’s taken (at least semi) seriously?
  11. “...and I believe that the kissaki of the blade is pinched in some way so as to keep the rest of the whole blade suspended in a neutral space” That’s something I’ve often wondered—what is it that keeps the tip from pendulum-ing laterally?
  12. RichardP

    Lacing

    I’m sure someone knowledgeable will chime in shortly, but Ian Bottomley’s book “Arms and Armor of the Samurai” has a huge amount of information on this topic, including diagrams (and is a great read, besides).
  13. Ahhhh, the clouds are lifting! Something like so: (Now that makes sense! I imagined I could see a pinhole in the wall of the mekugi-ana; thanks for such a clear explanation, Geraint!)
  14. In Nakahara & Martin’s Facts and Fundamentals, their discussion of orikaeshi-mei (p.78) concludes with the observation that authentic examples are likely to exhibit a “clear needle-sized hole through the fold of the turned-back mei.” And sure enough, the photographic example on the next page (fig. 91) shows an inverted mei with what I assume to be the original mekugi-ana, in the wall of which is what appears to be a tiny needle hole... I’m unable to find any other mention of this phenomenon in the NMB “Search” function or the wider Interwebs. Is there any controversy as to the truth of this? What was the purpose of the hole? Was a wire placed into it prior to bending the mei? (I’m imagining something along the lines of filling a pipe with sand before bending it, to keep it from folding in on itself—but I can’t imagine why it would be necessary in this application.) Does the presence of a pinhole give an indication of when the orikaeshi-mei was performed? Thanks!
  15. Interesting—if it were filled with lead shot it would make a very classy blackjack!
  16. Very nice! Any danger of flooding with the layout of your basement? (Would have to be a deluge to damage items mounted on the wall, but it would be terrible to have that tansu or anything else on the floor damaged...)
  17. Wow—one more mekugi-ana and that nakago is going to be in two pieces!
  18. Interesting—thanks, Barry! I’ve been trying your technique of focusing on a card, and then manually locking focus at that depth. Found a Bluetooth remote shutter for $10. The articles I’m finding on back-button focus seem geared towards DSLR cameras, though—is there a photo app you’re using that creates that function for iPhones? Thinking of firing up the old carbide caving lamp, it puts out some nice warm light... Cheers! Richard
  19. Camera on the wife’s new iPhoneX really captures some detail... Cheers! Richard
  20. Probably not to everyone’s taste, but if you might enjoy watching meticulously animated dolls navigate haunted, beautiful worlds, here ya go! “The Demon”: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=oWsHwPoiyfI&t=5s “Dojoji Temple”: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=xprfFZI9GjI&t=800s “The Breaking of Branches is Forbidden”: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6AJKWG4SjCk&t=426s Regards, Richard
  21. RichardP

    Katana help

    Is the nakago shinogi curving in and out, or is it just my imagination? (If so, is this of any kantei significance?) Regards, Richard
  22. Dunno if this has been posted previously (didn’t find it with Search function), but pretty neat: http://www.kuniyoshiproject.com/Skillfully%20Tempered%20Sharp%20Blades.htm Regards, Richard
  23. Beautiful! I’m wondering—has anyone attempted an oshigata using stencils and an airbrush?
  24. No, not o-suriage—just suriage. That’s the original mei on the katana, and whoever fashioned the tip for it in its new life as a wakizashi also shortened the bottom of the nakago to hide that it had once been a katana. So they had to raise the machi to compensate, and that’s why the shinogi goes weird there. But whoever did all that went out of their way to preserve the mei, figuring it was a sufficient selling point to compensate for it being on the wrong side... Am I way off base here? Regards, Richard
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