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Everything posted by RichardP

  1. RichardP


    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).
  2. 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!)
  3. 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!
  4. Interesting—if it were filled with lead shot it would make a very classy blackjack!
  5. 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...)
  6. Wow—one more mekugi-ana and that nakago is going to be in two pieces!
  7. 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
  8. Camera on the wife’s new iPhoneX really captures some detail... Cheers! Richard
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. Beautiful! I’m wondering—has anyone attempted an oshigata using stencils and an airbrush?
  13. 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
  14. Wow—I knew Nihonto was deep waters, but still, that’s amazing! I’m guessing Chris and Jason are correct and this wak was maybe fashioned from a broken katana, given the katana-mei, the inelegant nakago, the foldy tip and strange kissaki, and the boshi that resides only in my fond imagination... Even IF flipped coins do apparently land on their sides from time to time and the folding isn’t conclusive evidence of lack of hardening, when coupled with the other problems it doesn’t bode well, does it? Thanks for the input guys! Richard
  15. Hello All! A fellow online is selling this wakizashi and as he tells me he’s open to literally any offer, I thought I’d share his pictures here in hopes that some of you would share your impressions with me. Mr. Singer was kind enough to help me translate the mei—“Morihisa”. Even from the blurry photos I can see what look like some sizable ware, but most alarming of course is the tip, which appears to actually be folded back on itself. My initial thoughts were that this blade was either never properly heat-treated or had been through a fire or something, as no hardened steel would just fold like that. But then I remembered I know bugger-all about nihonto metallurgy and would do well to at least run it by youse guys before I simply dismissed the blade. Is there a ghost of a hamon visible? I think I can make one out in the close-up pictures, and it even looks like sufficient boshi that the damaged tip could be repaired with room to spare—but I still can’t get over that folded tip. Can’t make out any hada. The shape seems odd, too—like it started out shobu-zukuri and then someone decided to add a yokote. Hard to make out sugata or sori from these pictures... As far as the nakago goes, I can’t make out any yasurime—or maybe a hint of Kiri? The nakago-shinogi looks like it makes a little wiggle as it leaves the nakago, so, o-suriage (and I’m just imagining the yasurime?) The nakago-jiri makes me think o-suriage as well... And I’m puzzled that this wakizashi is signed katana-mei. The only Morihisa I can find are not Hizen smiths, so what’s his name doing on the wrong side of the blade? The patina seems pretty good at least, right? There could be big ol’ hagire all through this thing, of course. But it would be a looong car-ride to get it in hand—and I just can’t get over that folded tip... Thank you All so much for being so generous with your expertise! Regards, Richard
  16. Hi All— So I think the second kanji is “Hisa”, but I’m stumped as to the first. Mune? Tada? (Dunno what the story is with the shirasaya, it looks like someone made it in their garage.) Thanks! Richard
  17. This leads me to wonder, how does one go about getting a non-art sword sharpened? (I am assuming that togishi who polish art swords don’t spend their time putting fresh edges on Chinese-made shinken...?)Thanks, Richard
  18. Hello All- Just stumbled over this interesting podcast, don’t see that it’s been mentioned here before http://samuraipodcast.com Of particular interest was Episodes 43 and 44, “Samurai Armor: An Interview with Trevor Absolon”: http://samuraipodcast.com/ep43-samurai-armor-an-interview-with-trevor-absolon-part-1 He reappears for Episodes 51 and 52, “Shady Ethics in the Japanese Antique Armor Trade”: http://samuraipodcast.com/ep51-shady-ethics-in-the-Japanese-antique-armor-trade-p1 Regards, Richard
  19. Hello All, This just popped up on my local Craigslist—never seen gunto mounts with a tsunagi and I wonder where the blade is living now? Anyway, the leather looks good to me but I am very ignorant of all things gunto. Is this a Type 98? Is it an example worthy of scooping up ($200), or would you all give it a pass? I’ve been looking for similar examples online, but have had a hard time finding gunto koshirae that doesn’t include a blade as well... Thank you! Richard
  20. Yes!! Thank you Raymond, don’t know why I wasn’t finding it a moment ago... Like Mr. Sesko’s others, a fascinating article. But I’m still curious as to what rhyme or reason, if any, lay behind assigning smiths honorariums that didn’t correspond with the regions they worked in.
  21. Hello All- Thanks for this great site! Would someone be kind enough to share their knowledge of how the process of assigning titles to swordsmiths worked? From the threads here, and some great articles over at Mr. Sesko’s site, my understanding is that the process began early in the Shinto period and consisted of a Kyoto bureaucracy that awarded titles to smiths upon request, provided the smith was suitably accomplished (and paid a fee). Is the above generally correct? Were the names just plucked out of the air by whichever official was in charge at the time? (For instance, why would a Hizen smith be awarded the title of “Ise Daijo”, when Ise wasn’t even on the same island? Were distant areas chosen intentionally—something akin to “his name is known as far away as Ise Province?) I got the impression from one article—my apologies, I haven’t been able to find it to link to it—that the process became more cynical and corrupted as time went on, and that titles eventually came to signify little other than a smith’s marketing acumen...? Thanks again!
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