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Everything posted by GARY WORTHAM

  1. Thanks for the example, Curran. Now that's a very nice looking tsuba, and helps me understand the the early Kamakura design and workmanship. From the book of Robert E. Haynes, the common motifs of plum flowers, cherry flowers, grass, etc., low relief carvings; really backs up your 1st period placement of your tsuba. The above discussed piece, which started this thread, is miles from the example you have provided. I can see how one would be lost in the transition, in linking the two, in the Kamakura school. Gary Wortham
  2. Did my homework and research; since this topic site was viewed 644 time and 23 comments; must be of interest to many. 1] Per the most respected authorities of the book; " Tsuba an Aesthetic Study " the learned, Kazutaro Torigoye & Robert E. Hayes; their below comments are as follows: a] 1st period Kamakura dated from early Muromachi till end of that period. b] 2nd period was an " imitation " of that period; made during the Momoyama period. c] 3rd from early Edo was a " copy of the imitation ". The designs of the 3rd " have Chinese influence ", " leading one to believe these pieces were imported ". d] So, where does this piece fit in ??? Were others of this style, made even further into late Edo period ???? As with many smiths of the later Edo period, who made copies of early works. Is this a copy of the copy of the imitation of the 3rd period ??? 2] I can see, from the books, I have since researched, on this style, why i was inclined to believe the tsuba to be of such nature, as to be that of a Chinese knock off. 3] Purpose of this NMB, for me is to discuss, learn, listen to others, study, research, have others listen to me, and enjoy. All of which has been found on this thread. Thanks ! 4] Looking for the best and you will find it; refers to the positive as well as informative comments, from both Pete, Jacques, Moriyama, Curran, and Ted. Thanks !! 5] My knowledge on this school and subject has added to my future thoughts and ideas; as well as understanding the vast, diverse reaction of others, to attempts to word your own personal thoughts and ideas. 6] Here is the tsuba I had mentioned, and I would welcome any additional help, on the accumulation of it's identify; ex: era, school, age, motif, etc. sukashi mokko plate - iron, with shakudo fukurin. 79mm x 79mm x 3mm. Gary Wortham
  3. Ah yes, as a response to Ford; and we wonder why so many who look at the various topics on the board, seldom venture to comment !! 1] We all have a " little knowledge ", and that makes it us " dangerous" ??? Well, we are all at various levels of advancing education, from our 1st day till our last. I always thought it was good to toss around opinions, learn from others, explore new lines of considerations; without being pounced on or placed in a demeaning presence. How good were each of us, our 1st day, 1st month, 1st year, 1st 10 years, etc. and then at the end, I'm sure much that we knew will again be undone; as I have heard from some of the most learned in this study, express in conversation. 2] As the view of " superficial appreciation " , I gave it my best shot, ; and enjoyed the furtherment of my education, thru the collected positive explanations of all; and know more today, than I did yesterday. Do I consider my engagement of thoughts with others a " huge mistake " ????? I don't think so; just the fashion of it's presentation. 3] As far as the 3 opinions at the SF show, years ago; they were all different schools of different eras. Did I say I " rejected their opinions " or is this a poor choice of words being used. And " he, he, I wouldn't be " ; twangs of insult and demeaning connotations. Impossible to be the same, even if one was correct; two could not be. I do not know the sources, persons involved, and data base used at Christies; and I could never consider them a " resident boffin " till I knew who it was and even then, be unable to determine their basis of evaluation, for the said tsuba and catalog items. The photo was a dead ringer, articulate definition, and referred to an undecorated example existing,but it is older, implying this piece. And I would put this piece's identification up for scrutiny of those mentioned at the show, and feel confident they would agree with the new data shown. 4] So, good discussion, hope all got something out of it; especially the new to the study; and is the core of the philosophy ' when you look for the best, you will find it ", being served ??? Gary Wortham
  4. Ok Guido; I'm up for a discussion. Since most posts, have 1>2 responses per 100 viewing; there are a lot out here, like me, that has random thoughts, and would welcome the ability to express them, for others to think upon, as well as build or bend the evolution of the subject; without the feeling they will be pounced upon. The closeup, seems to show, a lack of real definitive workmanship; which made me feel it could be of a cast nature. I see no bones, folds, or hammer workmanship; which would lead me to a true nihonto piece. The lack of patina, for it's age, also has me in question. Yet, the dry surface may be from the effect of being burned, hence the case in nature of the texture of it's surface. And the crane, it''s poor quality appearance, just doesn't live up to the detailed workmanship, one would expect from the artist of the past. The papers, over the years of collecting; we hear of fake papers, forged papers, poorly attributed papers, etc.; and the ability to reproduce quality paper workmanship is, indeed. an easy task. I believe there are more times than not, in these days, where papers are used to deceive; and only the experts know one from the other, as well as how to confirm their true nature and documentation. So what to trust ??? In my opinion, I trust what I see, try to touch, hear as a collaboration from my fellow collectors; and then it's just the choice of the day; subject to change in the future. I can think of an example of a tsuba, I took to the San Francisco show, years ago; where I presented it in hand, to each of the well known and highly respected authorities on tsuba; and was given a different school, age, and description by each. None of them had the same answer; and it was not till years later; the true definition was found, in a 1980 Christies catalog; and of course, this is always subject to change again. Anyway, so much for my thoughts, Guido, and i would welcome an in depth flow of your thoughts, as well. And to the owner, Davel; I'm sure you have a great tsuba, with true papers; but I hope you appreciate the complexity of this great study and research of Japanese swords and fittings; as well as enjoy the group's discussion and efforts. When Thomas Edison was explaining the fact, that he had thousands of light bulb filaments that did not work, in his search to invent the light bulb; a learned guest expressed the despair, that Thomas must have had, with so many failures. His reply was that none were a failure, but were indeed, each a success, at determining which filaments were not the best choice. Similar to our study, yes Gary Wortham
  5. GREETINGS; I'm not sure what i see,but the metal really has a cast look to it, as well as papers i do not recognize. If it was handed to me, I would say it was a reproduction piece, and that it has weird Chinese fake papers. Hope I am wrong for the owners benefit. Sure would be a great time for he tsuba / paper experts to throw in their thoughts and reasons why !!! Gary Wortham
  6. Greetings to Jon; Many thanks for your additional response and further depth of explanation. No, I wasn't calling you out, no offense taken, and glad to have an intelligent response, since many read, but don't reply. I just wanted to see further into the thoughts, of others such as yourself, on the subject. I've gone to most of the US shows since 1998, and have watched, as the normal changes of evolution, has occurred at the shows; as it does with all other aspects of life. The shows such as San Francisco are still great, need everyones support, and the best way to grow in the masses of those who are in this study together. A previous dialog talked of the lack of the new and younger generation, entering this field; due to expense, time to understand, and available way to participate. This is where the shows shine. Putting one dollar a day, aside in a jar, saves $365.in a year; enough for airfare, shared room, and show entrance. What a great adventure to begin a a newbee. This is where the light turns on for many, and the value of choosing something of merit, as a way of time spent, begins. Ok, enough from me, and I need to pick a subject of sword or fittings for my educational benefit; but where to begin ????? Gary Wortham
  7. Nice selection of diverse responses. I myself, look for the best and live for the positive; and there are those whose response, have similar tones. Yet, I feel in others a sense of negative, and have the worst, as their forefront of thoughts. We are not Samuari, and most are not Japanese on this site; and it makes me wonder, why we are to inherit the code of a culture, we were not from or trained to understand !! Ok, I'll bite; Jon, you said, " Now I truly understand the purpose of this forum " ; please do me the favor of expanding and defining your thoughts to that quote. Thanks to Barry, for your insight; and maybe; I will earn the position and honor from someone in the years to come, to be the next carekeeper of a most deserving piece of history and art. Also, Ian, your thoughts and wisdom are always welcome, and your valuable contributions; are in inside view needed by all; on the countless subjects to be discussed. Gary Wortham
  8. Ok, I've thought about this too much over the years, and listened to more ideas than I can remember. Collectors go to the shows, to buy new items for study, to expand their knowledge, and add additions to their collections. Dealers go to the show to sell and make a profit, to cover their expense, and to buy new acquisitions for sale. The cause of concern I see, from others, is the decreasing # of show attendees, as well as dealer participation. It's the chicken or the egg syndrome. When the # of one decreases, it directly reduces the # of the other; a dangerous impact on the future of this great education, study, and dare I say, hobby !!! How to correct this future event ?? Well, if it's about the money, there are much safer, more effective ways. But it's not. This is a pure, raw form of adventure, intrigue, and challenge; that places those who participate, in a unique position in life. You have only one tour of duty on planet Earth, make it a good one. Dealers should support and understand the buyers, that's their reason for the shows; and you don't always have a buyer. Buyers need to understand the dealers; they need a sale; and a reason to be at the show. The merchandise is limited, a real self limiting problem !!! What we have, is those who have, and those who want. The accumulation over the years, by those who have, have produced great collections, but, if they are locked away, seldom seen, their value of beauty, art, and history; are lost. I feel, one should look inside, see if they are appreciating their treasurers; and if it's just human accumulation, may I be vulgar " hoarding "; maybe it's time to put their treasurers back in the in the pool; for the next generation to discover; as no one can take it with them in the end; and most relatives who inherit these nihonto treasurers; know nothing of their value or even care. it's just a quick sale for the dollars. This is the last and only source of show, dealer, and collector survival. To grow and maintain the study of nihonto, everyone must take an active part, understand the lifeforce of the study, and embrace whatever they feel they need to do to improve the whole. One of my favorite times of the shows, is when the older collector decides to move their treasurers, and basically interviews those whom they feel would deserve, cherish, and respect the responsibility; of their long term pieces; they have held for their live of collecting. Alright, I feel better that I've said my piece. Thanks to all that are involved, in any way with this study. Gary Wortham
  9. Since this is a very interesting and elusive subject matter, I found a beautiful tanto by Moriiye, that was on the Ricecracker web site, for sale, http://www.ricecracker.com ; as an example for others, using the whale baleen on it''s tuska. It's condition is excellent, as well as the use of a multi color method of construction. You can access the old sale site by internet search, [ baleen Japanese swords ], and find Ricecracker link In addition. I found a site on the source, use, and identification of whale baleen in museum collections. [ aic.stanford.edu ] is it's address. or go to the internet, looking for, [ baleen Japanese swords ] to find these 2 subject sites as mentioned. Gary Wortham
  10. I find that unique properties of Japanese sword fittings, always are overlooked, for their exploration; of their source, use, and history. One, being the wrapping of the tsuka. Silk, cloth, leather, etc.; all flash thru over hands, as we examine a sword in it's full dress. Yet, the use of whale baleen, in the wrapping of the tsuka, finds me in deep thought, as to why it was used, how it was produced, and when was it in vogue, and where is it today; I never see it. Is it a regional item as well as era ?????? Over the years of show exploration, I can not remember a time, I held in my hands, such an item. They must be rare, tightfully collected, and just plan not there. I would love to see others examples of their collection, in a photo, with explanations and history. Occasionally, I come across an old catalog of such an item, as in Compton's catalogs; but not in the main stream of the shows, clubs, or collectors. Gary Wortham
  11. Made it to yet another of the great SF shows. Why do I go ??? The great swords; to see, appreciate, and seek to understand. The awesome fittings; their workmanship, their motifs of Japanese folklore, their subtle balance to be associated with a sword of war. The lectures; where else could you find real authorities on swords and fittings, with examples of works discussed. The folks there; great knowledge, wisdom, wit, and warmth. To make new friends, and build on the others; this is a life's work in progress. Sure saw a lot that I would have been proud to own, one day. Have the multi tiered purchase program. Like > want > need > have to have > mine. Thank goodness, i never made it to the pull the trigger point, as I have a major iron in the fire elsewhere. But next year, 2010, is the date, for the new acquisition. It's impossible to say, what I found best. Everyone's taste is unique. I saw fittings, that were worth staring at, for a lost moment in time. Swords of all eras and schools, some related to those in my collection. I sought to understand polishes, shapes, and ages. And schools; I need a mentor, teacher, and guide. But, what's easy and simple to learn; lacks the depth of investment, for those of lifetime study. Enough !!! I didn't take any pictures, and do know how to post them, so I have failed in that aspect; to be redeemed next year. So, others comments and their photos, would be appreciated by all. Gary Wortham
  12. Greetings to David; Thanks for the additional input, with your tsuba, on the use of the butterfly [ mon ] motif on the various fittings. Seems a very old and popular figure; as well as held in high esteem, by the Japanese culture of the past. Gary Wortham
  13. Good question, and it will invoke a lot of diverse response !! 1st: there are no stupid questions, when you don't know something, find out; as there are many others who have the same question, and just never ask. In addition, there are those with answers, itching to provide their thoughts, in exchange for those of others. Like me !! Alright now, here's mine, generalizing, as to the fact, with Japanese swords and smiths, there are exceptions in numbers, to fill volumes. 1; Many sword smith were illiterate and could not sign. Many of these did not enlist the efforts of someone who could sign. 2; Many produced the sword, to be signed at a later date, and never did. 3; Many produced the sword, to be signed and attributed with; date, buyer, cutting test, etc.; for later date and never did. 4; Many schools of smiths produced mass produced blades, held for a buyer, to be signed at the purchase time; leaving other blades, never sold in this fashion; to be absorbed into use, without the need of signature. 5; Swords produced by the smith were not up to his standards of workmanship, to have his signature identified to the blade. 6; Many were employed to produce blades for war, and signatures were of no real relevance. Still of excellent quality and workmanship. 7; And now the wave of others, most welcome thoughts, on the subject. Gary Wortham
  14. Greeting to Ian; Thanks for the additional comments and thoughts. Each of us, no matter our place. in this world of study of the Japanese swords and fittings; come across unique experiences, which others enjoy experiencing, thru the eyes of others. Your contact on this comment, caused me to look up to my book shelf; and feel proud to see the book; Arms and Armor of the Samurai; of whom the author is no other than you. Great, well written, diverse, book; educating one on all aspects of the chronological evolution of the samurai, and their weaponry. Extremely complicated endeavor of study, takes a lifetime and more; and the reason of my choice. Thanks !!!! Gary Wortham So, any comments on the menuki: age, school, smith, material of composition, quality, etc.
  15. Fitting never cease to amaze me in their subtle underlying tones and themes. This pair, that I have had for years, looked of a bug ???, but I felt there must be more to it. Just fell in to the discovery, that they are, indeed, mons of the samurai crest of one of 3 familys; Taira, Seki, or Ikeda II. Attached are the menuki pair; the discovered catalyst kozuka, from online browsing, and an example crest of the Samurai family design. It seems the butterfly has more than historical merit, dating back, to the early family crest, of the Taira clan. As always, additional thoughts and concepts, are always welcome to broaden my knowledge and data base. Gary Wortham ps: Yes, I have the rewrap of the tsuka, in the plans of the future, when finances are in line for this direction.
  16. Hi David; Thanks for appreciating the fittings. I really liked them when I saw the fully mounted Sun nobi tanto; and was a major decision factor in my purchase. I agree with you as to the other menuki being Hotei, but I am in the dark as to why he is being associated with Kazan and Jittoku. Was hoping someone with Japanese heritage would fill in the blanks. This will show you how the one carrying the broom is Jittoku and Kazan with the scroll, very well documented in the internet history. The fuchi and kashira are of the Mino Goto school, signed Yoshinaga, and are a very well cut set, of the typical floral & bug motif, they seem to enjoy as their theme. As to more info on these 2 and there history; search on the internet for them as; Kazan & Jittoku, for their Japanese search response, and as Han-shan and Shih-te for the Chinese historical interpretation. Enjoy !!! Gary Wortham
  17. Yes, to that Brain; This is why I can back to this web-exchange, from the past, and hopefully, a wee bit smarter than before, with more to contribute; to this collection of diverse minds, at all stages of growth, in nihonto study. I am always grateful, when one of such experience and study, such as Clive, listens and chips in his wisdom. If we were without the challenges, to our own current level of knowledge, we would still think the world is flat, and earth is the center of our solar system. Gary Wortham
  18. Most excellent points, Paul !!! I appreciate all points & ideas; made by anyone; positive and negative; and all in between. If the knowledge and identification were already done, easy to do, and no variations of thought; what would be the challenge and sport, to the madness of nihonto study, we pursue. Thanks to Jacques, for the representative examples provided. If we only knew how many others there are; we don't know or have; and will never know. That's another reason why we are here and what we do. Gary Wortham
  19. Hi Jean, Working on photo skills as we speak. Here's 4 new close ups of the 2 mekugi-ana. The original photo showed just the lower, smaller by the signature. Let me know if these photos resolve your questions. And, thanks for the great insite and mental exchange !! Gary Wortham
  20. Hi Jacques & Paul; Well gi-mei and it's surrounding dialog; is one of my most favorite and intriguing conversations. If all of the signatures are signed by the master himself, dai-mei, comparative appearances are very straight forward from resource examples. But, when the master has his students sign for him, dai-saku-mei, it goes into the ozone. Who really knows how many students were permitted to sign; maybe examples on file, or maybe new examples yet to be discovered or not even in our files. Or, the right field direction of gassaku-mei, a jointly made signature by who; master & student, or student & student, or ???. Or, there's more, the signature changes as the years pass. A life of learning and few true experts. And her lies the Hizen Tadayoshi headache. Tough calls. I have a rule of thumb; if I like the blade and it's quality of workmanship, then it has worth. The addition of coming in great koshirae, further enhances the ownership. Usually, one would not dress an ugly, low quality blade in fancy, expensive fittings; and I feels give the blade a better chance, not to be gi-mei. Which is how this blade was fitted, when it came to me. Anyway, great subject for the exercise of the nihonto mind. Gary Wortham
  21. Ok Jean, here's my best effort at the mekugi ana. Gary Wortham
  22. This is a challenging school; lots of info, books, collectors, and dialog. Over the years, this one came to me as a signed & dated, Tadahiro August 1631. Really good looking 63.5cm katana, 1.7cm sori, konuka jihada, with ko maru boshi. The unique hamon, appears as a suguha with choji midare portrayed with a twined gunome choji effect, where the yakigashira is squares. Attached are both sides of the tang; for thoughts, advice, and comments. Gary Wortham [ tang date is shown an open attachment for tang signature ]
  23. Thanks Grey, for the wisdom and insight from your years of experience. I find that to learn, study, advance; requires the mental challenge, and conflicts of the mind, that make one think, stress, anguish, and push to resolve a challenge, that is self inflicted; creating its of unique self sense of reward; which can only be accomplished with the benefits of those like yourself. Talk again. Gary Wortham
  24. Ok Grey, had to think about that for a while, and now, I wonder how in the world, someone would pull out a smith, such as Norihisa, out of a selection, of such vast choices, as is representated by the resource book, of Hawleys smiths ???? How would they pick from the 5 major traditions; a smith of the age, style, workmanship, etc, and on and on. Can't seem to wrap my head around the concept. Gary Wortham
  25. Hi Jean. Looks most definitely nioi deki. Now, where are you going with this ??? Gary Wortham
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