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WillFalstaff

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Everything posted by WillFalstaff

  1. Get Yurie’s book. I have Connoisseur’s and Facts and Fundamentals, but find that her book is a great third opinion. I also like her chronological method.
  2. I don’t know. Sounds too good to be true, but the price point, if it stays below 1K, might be worth it if you like the blade and horimono. I doubt its what the mei claims it is.
  3. This is an item for sale (now on Hold—no, I’m not the buyer) from th Facebook Nihonto Group. It’s a wakizashi and it has a very strange metal ito wrapping, meaning the metal around the rayskin is flat metal made to look like fiber. Anybody have any info on this type of tsuka maki? Custom work? Chinese shenanigans?
  4. And don’t forget, libraries also may have some good sources and they can transfer books inter-library. Usually colleges and universities tend to have good books. You don’t get to keep them, but can always extend your check-out. I found the MET book Grey mentioned in the Lone Star college system, here in the Houston area. Great piece.
  5. I like the idea. I know there’s some folks here around here in the Houston area. Back in CT, friends and I who collected European swords (modern remakes) usually got together and talked, drank, and used (cuttesting, Liechtenaur school practice, etc.). Of course, nihonto gatherings would have to have safety and security as number one, due to some pieces members would bring being $$$$. Aside from that, I think a relaxed chit-chat environment and improvisational learning are good atmosphere for a laid-back club. Kind of like NMB in real life.
  6. That’s the most frustrating part in researching smiths; this was “smith name”, but he had 4 smith’s who also used his name the following decades, and oh yeah, he had two previous names, one not recorded. Oh, and another smith from the northern provinces also signed blades by that name for 10 years. Good luck with he identification! Every historian’s (nightmare) dream come true.
  7. First thing that caught my eye was the pronounced funbari. Usually I have to look to see it on a blade. Very nice blade, though. @omidaijo I’ll be downloading your book as soon as our new house is finished and we close on it. I swear!
  8. I must have missed that part (or forgot it). I did take that book out from the Lone Star library system a few months ago. I guess I need to check it out again.
  9. Of course, you will take better pictures of the details of the blade right? RIGHT?!
  10. That nakago is . . . something else. I also suspect f%#&ery has been had here, but I’m no expert.
  11. @mas4t0 What book are these excerpts from, Mark? I’ve been delving into Japanese visual arts lately. I got 101 Great Samurai Prints by Utagawa Kuniyoshi (woodblock prints) and have been meaning to also explore suiboku-ga.
  12. @Jussi Ekholm Absolutely agree! Fun for nerds like us! I think the value is now manifold higher with 5 pages of in depth opinions as well as hard data of one kind or another. My original intent with the post, though not clear at first, is to organize in some way the data and experiences of board members where it is more easily accessible. If online data had weight like gold, this thread would be heading to Fort Knox.
  13. This is the good "blowback" of this post. We're not just addressing the difficulties of grading, but also the other factors that would otherwise take years to hear and internalize when it comes to the nihonto world (at least to us, westerners) and the filtering of the associated jargon.
  14. Hi Vieira, Here is how tamahagane steel is made:
  15. Excellent, Michael! I knew you couldn’t resist! Great reasoning and deduction. Using examples in Japan is a great foundation.
  16. Yeah, I just zoomed in and did a careful study. I do see what you are describing. I know that horimono were often added later (sometimes much later) to blades, so this might be the case with this one.
  17. Can of worms: opened! I hesitate to alter the original question any further just because it broke the dam of knowledge so well. One thing glaringly evident are the cultural differences in how to evaluate smiths. I do think "museum grade" is a red herring here. I think my gaijin brain wants a methodology of ranking that goes against the historical grain of generations of Japanese experts. I just don't feel settled by hearing something like "you can't compare two schools" or "some were okay, some were not; but he was a famous smith". Maybe I need to make something like this: Then I need basic elements to judge a work by (just off the top of my head): -execution of Hada (tight, uniform) -execution of Hamon (consistent nioi-guchi, clear ha-buchi) -sori (does it lend well to other aspects of the blade?) -kissaki (size/shape matching sugata and sori) - . . . Above all, I think a great smith needs to have shown consistent production of fine blades.
  18. Interesting. I'm having a hard time processing how blades from different schools can't be compared to find the better one. Sounds like everything in the universe is quantifiable, except nihonto. I guess defining characteristics that make one blade superior over another is needed here. I keep thinking back to a samurai in the Muromachi period and how he'd rank swords. I think he'd start with "Can this take the stress of battle and not snap? How long can it hold it's edge? Can I look at it at home and see the spirit inside?" @Nihontocollector752 So clearly there is a ranking. Bad and good. Amazing to Incredible. That's a start. What makes the blade bad? What makes the blade good? I think the missing ingredient here is consensus. I also think maybe some dogmatism slips in and rears it's ugly head when we need to start to "kill our darlings".
  19. Sorry guys for staying mum for a few days, I was knocked out by a mystery virus. It wasn't the famous one we've all come to hate. I think my question is highlighting a subject that seems to be fairly important to decipher. There seems to be two world views on this subject: 1. There can be rankings for smiths and the quality of their work by noted groups of experts (NBTHK, NTHK, etc.) 2. These rankings are not often shared on a personal level by collectors. Both of these can be correct, but should be separated. I think I'll update my posting to reflect this. So, let's put personal taste to the side and look at this from a dispassionate objective view. Here's an analogy: A literary editor receives two manuscripts. He reads both, and from the first few pages he can already tell that one is from a sophomore in High School, the other is from a seasoned writer with published works under her belt. Taking this to the realm of swords, a person who has been involved with judging swords can tell an inferior smith (possibly an apprentice) from a smith that has figured out how to create blades that exhibit qualities that make a blade better than some other ones. In this way, I think smiths can be compared to another, and one can be agreed upon by a group of judges one is better than another one. I think this is the point of shinsa, other than trying to identify mumei blades. I think the eye of the beholder belongs to the appreciator of the art. I do also believe smiths themselves tended to (and still do) rank their own works, whether they put their mei on the blade or let it go off to the polishing land as mumei is an example. I think @Peter Bleed brought up a good point about putting aside personal taste when judging quality.
  20. You may want to go the above route, but if you got a bit of time and use a chopstick temporarily, you can order smoked bamboo from Namikawa (as well as a few other things to justify shipping $$). That's what I did, then made my own pegs. The smoked bamboo won't change as easily due to relative humidity like untreated bamboo (or any other wood) will.
  21. Well, it does look aged. The hamachi is small so it's been polished more than a few times. The horimono attest to this also, at least on the Ura side, judging by the pictures. Ubu. Sometimes you can tell fire damage on the nakago, though the blade could have taken fire damage on the body only. Having a few out of condition blades, I can attest to how well corrosion of many kinds can hide hamon. A couple of mine (80% covered in rust of one type or another or staining) began showing traces of hamon after repeated uchiko ball treatments. It's got a nice sugata.
  22. Jacques, so what are your personal favorites? Which pieces always make you pause and look, whether you own them or not?
  23. @Jussi Ekholm and @sabiji - all difficult things are worth doing, more so than easy things! @Nihontocollector752, @saipan59, and @b.hennick Thank you for the lists. Thank you for your lists!
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