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Matsunoki last won the day on June 26

Matsunoki had the most liked content!


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About Matsunoki

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    A small village in East Anglia UK
  • Interests
    The history and arts of Japan especially the swords of Japan and fine Meiji works of art. Shooting (clays). The gym. Fresh air and wild places.

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    Colin H

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  1. Hi Tsuku you ask two questions really- firstly your topic title asks “what makes a collection good” ……I would say one that makes you really happy. But then secondly you rephrase a little and ask “…what makes…a truly outstanding collection” which is a bit different and I would say one that contains examples of the finest [whatevers] ever made. The first can perhaps be achieved without being a multimillionaire and brings much fun and pleasure. The second usually requires much ££££, is far more stressful and imo less enjoyable just my thoughts……
  2. I’m confused…..nothing unusual there. I think Ford was saying the dragon/ken was “glued” to the kozuka body with the matsuyani. The actual dragon/ken I think was a cast made from Bizen yaki clay….which looks very much like russet iron if fired in a certain way. Ford….is that what you are saying? All the best Colin
  3. Hello again Mike I reckon there is a good chance the material in question is the dense fine “red” clay that is famously used in making Bizen ceramics. The particle size means it can take a very fine moulding and from the images the colour looks about right. It’s also very robust. Have a look at…… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bizen_ware and see what you think. All the best. Colin
  4. Hi Christian please excuse my ignorance…..but what is matsuyani? I’ve not encountered that before…..but there is a lot I’ve not encountered before!! I still reckon a straight shortish blade worn across the back would be easier…..no chance of snagging or encountering friction on a curved saya……but then again I’m not a Ninja😊😊😊 so what do I know ? thanks for looking,
  5. Hi Dale….what is this actual design representing?
  6. As apparent from MichaelR’s sad story, friendship and money often don’t mix well and it can be very painful. I speak as an ex dealer in many things Japanese but over the years I formed my own collection of various things….netsuke, cloisonné, metalwork etc. As a dealer my philosophy was to offer nice items at sensible prices and be happy with a reasonable profit. I always preferred to sell to other dealers. Over the last two or three years I’ve sold all my collections…..all of it ……and now just enjoy swords again. I sold all of it to the small number of dealers who I had both bought from and sold to over the years. The reason I went that route - not all dealers are rogues. Those closer to the top of the tree are usually exceptionally knowledgeable, have a superb customer base and are keen to acquire good things especially if they come from a private collection - dealers have no emotional ties to either me (nor I to them) or the items - the money is “there and then”…..no waiting (that was my condition) - no auctioneers delays, commissions, unsolds etc - dealers generally don’t whine when they make a mistake….they know it happens now and then I’d had some superb fun putting the collections together…I was selling the items not the memories. I took a loss on some things, made a gain on others and roughly recouped the outlay overall. I was happy with that. As years seem to pass more quickly now I will soon be confronted by the need to sell swords…..that’s a different ballgame nowadays…..hmmmmmm All the best.Colin
  7. Throughout history, which is littered with constant human violence and warfare, “specialists” have always existed no matter what culture or era ….and they continue to do so today……Rangers, SAS, SBS, MI5, CIA etc. It is entirely reasoanble to assume that the same thing happened in feudal Japan. Reading through this thread much credence is given to “opinions” which seem to be taken as fact. Quotations from published literature….which are again simply opinions. “Ninja-to didn’t exist” “ninja invented in 1950s” etc etc The type of weapon you carry depends on what you are trying to achieve and the situation in which you wish to achieve it. A long katana has obvious drawbacks in a confined space, a yari is tricky if climbing walls etc etc Unless we were there we can only speculate and keep an open mind (in my “opinion!”) However (and only for entertainment) I would like to describe a sword I owned many years ago that now, looking back with a little bit more knowledge, had some features that could align to what is sometimes perceived as a Ninja-to. The blade was about 20” long, totally straight, stout with a simple but strong gunome hamon. Ko kissaki. The saya was matt black lacquer with a definite slightly rough texture. It had two kurigata….one as usual and one at bottom of saya. The tsuba was small a rounded diamond shape in black iron with no decoration. No kogai , kozuka etc. the short tsuka had black same, black Ito and black iron fuchikashira. Although short, the tsuka/nakago had two mekugi ana. Back then the big question was always “is it signed” so an operation to remove the tsuka commenced. It took a long time and much hammering with wooden blocks etc It was unsigned but ubu but had been securely glued into the tsuka with what appeared to be a type of lacquer….hence the trouble removing it. It was a grubby total sleeper so not tampered with until it fell into my hands. If I was climbing a wall or something similar this sword worn securely over my back (two kurigata)and easy to draw (straight blade) would fit the bill maybe. Who knows. Wish I had taken photos back then. You’ll have to use your imagination. All the best. Colin
  8. Hello Michael Thank you for your comprehensive reply. For sure I am one of the older grumpier less energetic ones….I understand that very well! Things have certainly changed in many ways since the days of my first collecting adventures. Yes technology has often replaced face to face and has undoubtedly damaged the Arms Fairs (I haven’t been for ages). I have bought swords from Japan but I don’t like it! Buying a sword when all you can see is a strong hadori polish fills me with unease….but I accept that’s how it is now. We must just ask more questions and hope for accurate answers….and then hope it actually gets here! Anyway no point debating….that’s how it is. I disagree with the statement regarding the reasons for not facilitating “for sale” or advertising. Allowing this to happen or acting as facilitator but not actually getting involved would not make the Token “commercial”. But…..that’s how it is. Regarding Members selling to one another….I have no idea who the members are or where they are. Yes if I came to a meeting I would meet a few but the logistics of travel make this exceptionally unappealing. That brings me on to the topic of inter-member contact……I bet I’m not alone …..Paz was mentioning feeling lonely in his hobby. If we do nothing else can we not get our members in touch with one another….provided they want to? Again do we need to set something up if this Forum has a club facility built in? I look with envy at our American (and other) friends…..the discussions and contacts within this Forum….. I fully appreciate that a sword “event” is a non-starter for all the reasons we have both highlighted. Given the lack of volunteers and active participants a solution that requires little such resource (this Forum??) is desirable…but that brings us back to the lack of active participation………please don’t expect me to sort out anything vaguely technical…..but I will try to write something interesting for the journal. I’m sure I can entertain some people and doubtless upset others🙂🙂🙂 Thank you again for your time replying. kind regards. Colin
  9. Sorry baba….you’ve lost me mate! Am I losing the game or the plot?…..or both?
  10. Brian please see my point 6 below. Hi Paul….blimey time flies does it not? It was a superb event but as you say, difficult to repeat now financially and with the sparse volunteer resources not to mention sponsorship etc. I’ve joined the UKToken because I want to support it - I believe this organisation is essential on many fronts….leading, teaching, sharing etc and also because we are moving forwards into an ever increasing climate of legislation regarding what is seen as offensive weapon ownership etc However despite the successful efforts you mention regarding regional meetings I do believe other opportunities may exist to increase membership, inter-member contact and communication and funding…..not to mention learning. Just a couple of suggestions which I have floated already and where I can’t see anything apart from benefits to both the Society and its members. I thus come back to them and would like to know the reasons why they are held back. This is in no way a criticism of anyone or of the considerable efforts being put in by the same few people (as usual…..it’s always the same folk doing the spadework) 1. Allow advertising and “for sales” in the Journal 2. Consider publishing a separate “for sale” list more frequently than the journal 3. Officially and visibly widen the current Token mission statement to include Gendai and Shinsakuto. Maybe even military swords. The interest is huge in these fields and I do not understand the need to specifically focus on antiques swords. Whether we like it or not that does still sound a bit elitist? 4. Maybe have a table at the Birmingham Arms Fair or London Arms Fair to both try and attract new members and to allow members to offer swords for sale or trade for a fee 5. Allow members to access a list of other willing members giving basic contact details to facilitate discussions/interaction etc. As I mentioned to you, I just spent a fantastic day with a fellow member and I’m sure other members would derive similar pleasures from such 121 contacts in the absence of being able to attend official meetings. 6. Open a discussion with Brian on this forum. He recently muted the possibility of using the “Club” facility to in effect set up specific closed sub-forums. Could the Token benefit from the superb opportunities for communication that this forum allows? By all means take this discussion off this Forum…..although I would love to know how many other members are “hiding” on here! Get involved ……it’s fun! (Well, mostly!) All the best Colin
  11. Going back many many years I recall an event organised by the UK Token at the Swallow Hotel in London. I reckon at least 35 years ago. It was I guess similar to the many USA sword shows that I envy. I vividly remember a large room full of tables with swords for sale…..by dealers and collectors. Swords were “on show” as were fittings and armour. I believe there were lectures and demos as well…..but I was too preoccupied with the “for sale” room! It was a massive success I believe….but of course took much organising. I’m not sure if such an event could be staged now for many disparate reasons…..resources, enthusiasm etc but I do wonder if our Token Society could include a “for sale” section in its journals which might generate extra income which might fund other activities and generate a hell of a lot more interest and contact/interaction between members, especially those living in far flung wastelands (like me). Lets be honest, nothing gets us going as much as the opportunity to actually buy something….if we are speaking the truth. Also focusing on whether to buy or not also makes us study and research. At that event something made me smile. A dealer said to me something like “what the hell do I know, a Kabuto I just sold for £2k just resold for £6k”. We all love a bargain don’t we🙂? Im sure this has been kicked around before…apologies for resurrecting it. All the best Colin
  12. Surprised no one has mentioned that (imvho) it also depends heavily on how good the polisher was. It is he after all that puts the final edge on the hamon….unless the smith himself did it?
  13. Hi Paz like you I am a token member but sadly nearly twice your age! what follows are simply my views and opinions which I realise and accept don’t count for much Your question is a simple one but yet it goes to the very heart of enjoying this subject ie “what am I actually looking at?”, “what can I see?”, “what is there that I can’t see?” and more worryingly “what is being concealed?” Important to remember that the smith will determine what the hamon is and the activity within it. It is the polisher that will determine what we can (easily) see. A trained and time served polisher is a mixture of sheer genius and magician. They can take a grey steel bar with scratches and chips and transform it into a lovely sword. However as in Star Wars, there is a dark side where many serious flaws can be hidden…..often driven by ££££. Your sword was in sashikomi polish, an “older traditional style” where largely the actual hamon is gently enhanced to enable all its activities to be easily seen. In appearance it is “softer”, more subtle but imo beautiful. That could be the simple reason your hamon did not leap off the blade at you. The fashion nowadays (which I personally struggle with and don’t understand) is the keisho/Hadori style where one of the final polishing stages involves using a rougher stone to impart the “white” effect on the hamon thus creating a dramatic clash between the colour of hamon and the ji. However it can make it damned difficult to see what the hamon actually is. You are looking at the polishers “interpretation of the actual hamon”……which could vary dramatically from what the actual hamon really is. Many people prefer this drama but it sure adds to the difficulties when viewing a blade. This technique can be used to create the illusion of a hamon which has dropped off the blade, also to create the illusion of a boshi when it shoots straight off the end and even to conceal hagiri and other flaws. When you are looking at many images both on this forum and on Japanese dealers sites you are usually looking at a polishing effect which tells us very little about the hamon and other tempering activities. It is then necessary to hold the blade in suitable lighting and peer at it whilst twisting and turning it in the hope that you can see what is underneath ie see what the smith created. You can gather I’m not a fan!……but that’s the current trend! So, my advice, don’t judge a blade based on the polish….the polish can be gentle or harsh, appropriate or inappropriate, well done or less so. Look through what you first see to see what is really there and if you can’t see what is really there…walk away. Here is a link to a super site, I recommend you read everything on it. https://nihontoantiques.com/Japanese-art-sword-restoration/polishing-techniques/ Enjoy your journey. All the best. Colin
  14. Matsunoki

    Some fun finds

    Tiger not hiding in bamboo as usual? Nice tsuba though.
  15. Thanks Ray. Interesting and somewhat shocking in some examples.
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