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omidaijo last won the day on January 17 2021

omidaijo had the most liked content!


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    Texas, USA
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    Japanese Samurai accoutrements (Armour, Swords, Jizzai, Noh Masks, Polearms)

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    Roger J Robertshaw

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  1. Hi Okan, 100% Gimei! Sword looks nice though.
  2. A sad loss to the world of Nihonto. It reminds us that we are but mortal caretakers to Samurai art and history that will be around for a long time, if, and only if, we share our knowledge as Darcy did.
  3. Hi Bazza, You are still kicking ? That's good news! I might have known you were hoarding all the choji-midare swords under the bed. Hi Hammish.... tks. Its all educated BS! And my father was called Mr Robertshaw--- I prefer Roger since according to my wife, I still have the mind of a 4 year old ! I have been taken to task already -- my spelling of Tsunobi (as in Tsunobi tanto) is incorrect. It should be Sun-nobi or Sunnobi Tanto --- thanks Jean. I stand corrected. Rog
  4. The kabuto chop video was really great. Thanks Luc, I was surprised the zunari kabuto withstood the rather large katana blow if the video was genuine. The cutter was only wearing a pair of glasses and the spectators pretty close by, so safety in the work place was a little lacking. Kind of throws the Kotetsu legend of cutting a kabuto in half out of the window. Incidentally I have an early Edo kabuto with a horizontal sword cut in the back that cuts into one of the high? carbon ridges to a depth of about 2mm. I suspect the wearer would have been surprised, and knocked to the ground for sure. Whilst both the cuts (video and this one) demonstrate the protection afforded by a helmet, the blows would probably render your opponent with a sore neck if not in hospital. Similarly with arm protection - might stop a deep cut and glancing slices, but doesn't stop a bone fracture. Rog
  5. I have several boroscopes and you can usually squeeze the 3 mm dia light head in through the 2 cm opening in the tehen and then spend an hour or two figuring out which way is up and the kanji. Remember to thoroughly clean the endoscope first in case Granny has used it for the purpose it was originally designed. I also restore armour and it takes about 500yds of hemp thread and 4 days to make a decent Ukebari, followed by a week in rehab from going insane! Why would anyone in their right mind cut an ukebari. May as well take a grinder to the kabuto to cut a hole or use the above posted method (love it!). Nice kabuto. Rog
  6. I'm back! The Tadayoshi did indeed make many styles of Hamon ---and the world recognised signature pieces were suguha. But not just any suguha….THE suguha. The forgers jumped on this bandwagon, and anything with suguha was faked into gimei Tadayoshi with varying degrees of signature quality from that akin to a 2 year old drawing in sand with a chopstick, to the Hizen Kaji itself adding the signatures. Some rare genuine pieces are in the more flamboyant choji midare, gunome etc and I suspect were special orders. The Oshigata books are full of them, but they rarely surface in the flesh, and when they do, they command very high prices and great care is necessary. The bulk of the works we see are therefore suguha- and in really nice suguha with some fine, often missed, ashi sometimes (4th and 5th if I recall correctly), and nijuba (2nd Gen), bright nioiguchi (2nd gen), nie deki in dark nie (1st gen) , flawless (3rd Gen)and so forth. Since the wilder hamon are buried deep in collections and rarely seen, the tendency is to assume they are gimei when they do show up. If you see a suguha sword, most jump straight to the Tadayoshi and if the hamon is lifeless, then clearly NOT the work of this school. The reality is that far more suguha gimei are out there, and unfortunately, some 85% of the overall Tadayoshi swords/oshigata/images I come across are in my opinion outright gimei, maybe 10% are in the 'not sure' bracket, and 5% have me drooling. The 10 % is the grey ‘floating world’ of gimei and all sorts of theories expound, but they can be really, really good. In short, its not JUST the signature, but the message the whole sword puts out. No I am not high! What I do when I see the wild hamon type swords is to put a great big question mark in the equation. In fact, the best approach is to not have any sword fever at all, and start with a gimei approach, the aim being to find signs that prove it is genuine and try to take the hoarder/gold fever attitude out of the equation as the heart beats faster. So the question is.... is this sword genuine. Since I presume no-one bought it who commented, it is now an easy option to say probably gimei, feel good about it and move on, but I don’t think that does this sword justice. I once saw an old collector at the SFO show years ago sit for two days behind the dealers table with a single sword he was contemplating buying – just getting to know it and listen to it he said! The sword, from what I can see (which isn't much) , doesn't have any obvious flaws and looks nice quality with a good colour to the steel. It gives an impression of quality, not junk. In no particular order...... The almost O-Kissaki and boshi is great with a Hizen type kaeri (I think that is what is there- an even tightish turnback without the wavy midare carried into the actual turn itself?). It’s a stoutly (very stout) proportioned sword, with an unusually short nakago and a signature that fills the nakago…… almost tsunobi tanto style --- so if it is only JUST a wakizashi in cutting length, then that's good news because there seemed to be a penchant for tsunobi (oversize 1 shaku 1 sun) tanto within this school (ie you don't often see small tanto, but you do see technically short wakizashi over 1 shaku, with tanto type proportions – tsunobi tanto), hence the rather short nakago ** (more later). Koshirae is possibly changed but ---glimpse of a Hizen Namban type of tsuba, a glimpse of lovely menuki in quality shakudo and gold, a glimpse of a silver dragon kanamono on the dried up saya ripe for restoration. Kind of points to a higher value owner than a hunter killer impoverished Samurai. Onto the nakago ----- well the nakago shape is good for the early generations, rounded V shaped nakagojiri, yasurimei are good quality, patina suggests maybe early Edo, if you go with a tsunobi tanto, then signature size and placement is kind of Ok. So I am thinking Hizen kaji work and haven't really seen anything to say it isn't yet. I love the powerful blade shape, and the short nakago maybe significant as the nakago wouldn’t be long enough to chop through your Xmas Turkey or opponents thigh bone in one stroke. The all important Mei. What I don't like: One chisel stroke in the Zen kanji runs into the nakago-mune. Hmmm. I would have been more comfortable if the mekugi-ana had pieced the left chisel strokes. Kind of suggests that the mei was added AFTER the mekugi ana and squeezed into place. I don't know what they did in this respect, but was told by an old Japanese sword master a few years back that the sword was a utility weapon, and was made into a sword after the smith made it. So you would expect the entire sword blade including the signature to be made first, and the hole placed later by the person fitting the koshirae who was more concerned with fitting the tsuka than the smiths signature. Not sure on this point but it makes sense........( Incidentally he also said once a sword was chipped or damaged, it was retired from use since your life depended on its structural integrity. I would suggest that depended on the depths of your pockets. I digress but all those Sengoku Jidai battle blades we collectors hold in high esteem with hakobori he thought of as junk!). What else is not right ......Kanji spacing is a little suspect but hard to discern on an oblique picture. The bottom TADA and YOSHI seem wider apart than the upper kanji ---almost as if they are set apart from the rest of the signature to say – “look at me ---- and don’t look anywhere else”- could be the angle but it is a question mark in the process. I usually run on 3 strikes and you are out--- right now we have a (probably) tsunobi tanto shape ( ** more later) but not a problem , with a wilder hamon than usual, again not a problem but care should be exercised, possibly awkward spaced kanji (maybe a problem) and a stroke runoff the edge (problem). What I do like : the vertical stroke in the kanji Tada is exactly correctly placed for X smith. The kanji are well cut, and let’s face it, up there with the actual smiths. Whoever applied this signature was in the upper end of his knowledge of this school, whether it was a master himself, or very good faker, or ......... the kaji itself. None of the kanji are out of place for this school in terms of shape and stroke ---none that I have spotted yet! We now take a while to let this sink in before returning to the kanji, and digress a little. The same Iaido master in Tokyo told me (and who am I to doubt him), that the castles in the castle towns were also repositories for weapons. Swords were stockpiled in times of peace for times of war. Thousands of them. And significantly many/most/all? were unsigned as they were churned out by the deshi and masters for the stockpile. The finest pieces went as gifts or were sold, the rest into the stockpile – unsigned. When hard times fell upon the Samurai (1800's onwards) and the CEO (Daimyo) was looking for cutbacks --- guess where the stockpiled swords ended up! Back in circulation ... but mumei swords were plentiful and what was required were swords made, and more significantly signed, by the masters (who were now dead). Add this to the grey production lines that the Daimyo did not control , and hey presto the actual 4th Gen sword with a faux 4th gen signature becomes reality... kaji made 'gimei'. Yup --- this throws a big spanner in the sword world... thank goodness it isn't rife in the armour world! I have that sword – a 4th gen blade, with a 4th gen signature, dated 1819 (8th gen was around 14years old). Un-papered of course but everything screams 4th gen except the inscribed date (which if anyone is aware is smack in the middle of the leaderless Kaji as the 8th gen was still too young, and the 6th & 7th recently departed this world)! Back to the ** short nakago issue. The same Iaido Master also told me that if you ever see a disproportioned (in length) nakago on a wakizashi size sword, it is PROBABLY a merchants sword. Remember they didn't fight, and could not wear a katana being limited to wakizashi. They carried fine pieces, high quality, but of little real fighting use due to the shortened tsuka. There was simply no need for a larger tsuka because if the merchant ever put his hand on it, he would probably be cut down in the blink of an eye. Best not touch it! They could afford the masters works and the flamboyant hamon, and often glamorous koshirae, and wanted the signed pieces. I am also thinking no self respecting trained killer of a samurai is going to put a silver kanamono dragon on his ro-iro saya. Incidentally the old Iaido Master’s grandfather was friendly with a local Daimyo, and they both had a passion for swords (he showed me the photo at his house one evening). Anyway, the Iado Sensei inherited the old family house, and had it restored. He found over 160 swords stashed in the attic and was slowly selling them off (I bought a few over the years) including a really nice Shodai Tadayoshi leaf yari that papered– and the usual bunch of (subsequent) gimei other smiths – stick to what you know! So that is where I am at with this sword --- possibly a tsunobi tanto, (someone is now going to post its length as 1 shaku 9 sun or something, rather than 1 shaku 0 Sun 8 Bu and shoot me down ! ), possibly a merchants sword in nice koshirae, and I would give it a shot at 80% genuine 1st gen and worthy of more research -note I did not say Shinsa in Japan as the last few swords I sent a while back to the NBTHK came back Horyu (undetermined). Did I say 1st gen? Slip of the pen but it got everyone’s attention. I am still pouring over the oshigata references, but I like it and am actually leaning towards 1st gen C1621 or a good gimei (not run of the mill). The ONE kanji that really cracks the Shodai question is the top of the HI kanji and the number of strokes top right – which was 3 for the Shodai and 2 for the other smiths – and that is the kanji we don’t see here (funny old thing)! The only solace is that had there been a couple of serious bidders, it could have hit a much higher price way outside of my now wife limited retirement budget of $4 per month. Had I seen it earlier and posted this, I guess the price would have been a lot higher than the rather pitiful $2,000 (sob sob). It is not 100% gimei and IMHO worthy of further research, and despite my setbacks with the NBTHK, even (dare I say it) worthy of Shinsa, otherwise known as “passing the buck” Hopefully some insight into suguha hamon, and gimei/shoshin appraisal (of Tadayoshi). Don’t you just hate it when a potential bargain slips past in the night! Rog
  7. thats easy Valric.... buy all 4 and send them off to Shinsa.... get 1 Horyu, 2 gimei, and 1 genuine (or in my case 3 gimei and 1 horyu).....
  8. Yup, All good points of course (other than the assumption that Christies etc have experts working for them who are capable of discerning such things ) ....... it could well be gimei.... but if so I think it was pretty good. And for that price, I would not be too upset even if it was. My logic (rightly or wrongly) is there are some pretty fine variations in all the goji mei signatures, You can't just take one example of a gojimei and compare it to this signature and come up with gimei or shoshin. ONLY two of the 7 generations that signed goji-mei used the thee strokes in the upper right, so whoever did this was either the real deal (1st or 3rd) or it was a really good gimei aimed specifically at one of those two. Add the gold ownership (which I do not see as being gimei) and the odds are stacking in your favour. Yes I agree 1 in 10 odds, after 10 swords you would be out of pocket, but not at 2/3 .......at 2/3 for 10 swords and you would be way on top! I didnt do well at maths at school by the way..... I just see some pointers that lend themselves towards genuine and away from the run of the mill gimei. Dam tricky with goji-mei ....! Anyway, here are a set of images to look at --- yes you can pull each one apart, but without putting up a whole heap for comparison, I think the Mallams example stands up pretty well. Yes, could well be one of those really good gimei ...... all opinion gents!
  9. Hi Ray, It is all a gamble these days --- Even Shinsa is a gamble --- "Horyu" seems to be high on my efforts these days..........I digress.... I have seen some really great looking signatures that turned out gimei, and vice versa. The ONLY thing I saw in this blade that was dubious was the possibly sloping yeasurime --- but there are no really definitive images to go on (even the condition report photos were not good enough to see the yasurime properly).... so not 100% sure.... I rarley am. If there was an easy way of posting images here I can post this goji mei alongside a papered 3rd gen goji mei, and they are pretty similar. Might have a go if there is enough interest. There are three vertical small strokes in the top right of the Hi kanji of HIZEN on this sword. Only two generations did this --- 1st & 3rd (and or course gimei). We are all familiar with the diamond in the 'hiro' kanji in Shodai TadaHIRO work, but perhaps not the 3 vertical strokes in his Tadayoshi mei. So the upside is potentially good. Not often a sword comes along with 2 out 3 chance of being one or other of the top Edo smiths...........of course the 1 in 3 downside risks means bid/pay accordingly. If it had recent NBTHK papers it would have been 20,000 GBP, so 2,400 GBP isn't a bad risk I think considering the gold inscrition. If you go with the gold inscription being genuine, then Tomotsugu thought it was genuine for sure! If you go with gimei, it is still a pretty good example with a gold inscription. Like I said, for the low price it sold for there was no real downside, and the photos were not good enough to make a definitive call (if there is such a thing). Can't help feeling there are a lot of swords going dirt cheap out there because they aren't papered, and we are worried they might not be genuine ...... so we don't bid. I have a few gimei Tadayoshi in my collection, and I must say, they are still nice swords and certainly unique pieces... anyone reading this and want to buy a couple let me know privatley I think we have been through a similar discussion before ...... I have mainly gone across to armour these days, and I must say it is refeshing that the armour world does not concern itself overly with gimei --- you look at the quality and the art in the piece, and admire the workmanship....no one seems to care that much about signatures. And armour is still cheap considering the amount of work involved in producing a nice suite. Don't worry, all you devoted heathen sword collectors out there, one day you may be lucky enough to progress up the ladder to collecting armour ... haha. Rog (the gimei collector !!)
  10. Nice you could aquire some of his pieces Wim.......... We all worry our toys will find good homes when we pass, so I am sure Mr Dolphyn is happy you got a couple of niece pieces. I recall visiting the nephew of Lord Montgomery of El Almein fame --- Gary Montgomery --- some 20 years ago in Canada. He was dying of cancer, and was selling his collection of Japanese tsuba and swords before he passed. I am happy to have some of his pieces, and named a beautiful Tadahiro from his collection after him.... Koshirae is in matching Jakushi dragons. Its one of the few swords I use white gloves on!! Rog
  11. Hi All, The Goji Mei Tadayoshi was a steal...... It is either 1st Gen (as per the sayagaki) , or 3rd gen who did some rare goji-mei signatures around the 1670's, or of course gimei. The clear and bright nioguchi maybe a giveaway that it is a good sword --- ? Dont know about flaws in the blade but the photos showed a few faint blemishes along the hamon --- spider rust that had been cleaned up maybe/cutting dings? Hizen boshi in good shape, but the photo details were insufficient to see the kissaki (my guess is .5mm missing if it had been handled a lot). Nice habaki and shirasaya with buffalo horn, and sayagaki. It is said that 3rd Gen goji mei works are so similar to the 1st gen that they have often been mistaken for the Shodai. The 1670's period for 3rd gen Goji Mei also ties in with the 1677 gold inscription saying the sword was the personal property of Hachiro Tomotsugu. He was an early Edo sword tester --- how many fake gold inlaid ownership inscriptions do you see saying a sword tester owned the sword? I have yet to see a fake gold cutting test that doesnt look awful ** . If you google Maejima Hachiro Tomotsugu you can find some swords bearing his test inscriptions. Sayagaki yet to be fully translated - but it says "Shodai Goji Mei", 2 shaku 4 sun etc. There is no downside even if it is gime! There were some really 'cheap' items that sold ...Some muromachi pieces in there that went for a song if I recall correctly... ! Armours were "OK" . I particularly liked the boar fur quiver as well.... Hawleys' book of Mon show Nagai?, Shinjo in Yamato (Daimyo). ... would love to get a tiger fur quiver but being a protected species not sure on the legality these days. The Dutch steel (Orando Tetsu) Hizen Yukihiro was, I thought, overpriced for a wakizashi -- I guess it just takes two to bang up the prices. A very undersubscribed auction ... just what we are all looking for! ** I have a Hizen Shodai Tadakuni with a Hisahide cutting test - the 2000 NBTHK Hozon papers show no gold inlay (picked out by some unscrupulous bored GI on the Tokyo docks in 1945?). The inscription now has the gold put back in ---- done by the Japanese dealer before I bought it ---- and I have to say it is quite fuzzy around the edges and fairly easy to spot something is wrong. So my thinking is, it is pretty hard to fake a good looking gold inscription ...I maybe wrong ?? Rog
  12. Nice. Boshi/kissaki still looks slightly out of shape, but you can see that nioiguchi is standing out. Good luck--- Not being in the sword loop these days, I presume the Chicago show is next week?? Any Japanese Shinsa team there? -----otherwise get it to Japan would be my advice. Paul Martin could help you there...... Cheers, Roger
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