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MIHARA MASATSUGU from the Koto Period 1550 I just bought


bmoore1322
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Okay, I just bought this blade, it has an combat leather wrapped saya with it, no tuska, tusuba, or habaki.

 

This is what I found out about the blade, it looks like a relative new polish, the sword is signed by MIHARA MASATSUGU from the MIRARA SCHOOL in the BINGO PROVINCE around 1550. MIHARA SCHOOL DATES to NAMBOKUCHO PERIODA and was FAMOUS for making battle swords during the SENGOKU CIVIL WARS around 1550.

 

The Hada is itame, and the Hamon is Midare.

 

The blade is 66.4 CM LONG with 53.2 CM LONG NAGASA. it is 31 MM WIDE. BLADE IS UNSHORTENED -ORIGINAL CONDITION.

 

 

Thanks

Brian

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I forgot to mention that this blade has an Kirikomi, probably from being used in battle, the smith was making blades special for battle. In Japanese waring states period.

 

From what I have read most sword polishers will not remove the Kirikomi, as it is part of the blades combat history.

 

The most important era in Japan History, That's when the greatest samurai were born from what I have read.

 

Brian

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I forgot to mention that this blade has an Kirikomi, probably from being used in battle, the smith was making blades special for battle. In Japanese waring states period.

 

All wrong sorry. Your sword is a wakizashi and it is just as likely a commoner or merchant owned it.

 

The most important era in Japan History, That's when the greatest samurai were born from what I have read.

 

:bang:

 

At the rate you are buying swords it would have been much better just to have put down $10,000 and bought one good one with Tokubetsu-Hozon papers.

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The greatest samurai (or at least most well regarded) was Musashi and he was alive during the Shinto era. I thought Mihara smiths worked primarily (if not exclusively) in suguha, but honestly it has been years since I was researching them. I am sure someone else will weigh in on this topic.

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At the rate you are buying swords it would have been much better just to have put down $10,000 and bought one good one with Tokubetsu-Hozon papers.

 

@Peter,

 

I guess this very sound advice is rarely taken. I always envy those beginners who start with a very good sword an keep discipline. I have started with low-end stuff, got ripped off a few times, I have accumulated two dozens swords, out of which only a few were good, none great. I have now only five swords, mostly tanto, and again, none of them is great :rotfl: Well, at least they are all quite good, solid swords.

 

I guess Brian is just enthusiastic and that is a very good thing. He will get some exposure to swords, loose some money but after a while he will start buying rarely but in a very selective manner. And we can wish him good luck.

 

BTW, a sue-Mihara (if real) should be a decent blade and not expensive.

 

@Brian,

 

Brian, have you read this excellent article on the school?

http://www.nihontocraft.com/Mihara_Nihonto.html

 

Also, if you want to see a good Mihara sword, here is one:

http://www.legacyswords.com/fs_ant_daito23.htm

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They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

Don't listen to all of the hype. You have to learn to read between the lines. Kirikomi? Most of those were caused by little Billy who was sword fighting with his friend when they were 10 years old. They are not a sought after thing...just something tolerated.

The "Samurai" romance thing is something you need to get over if you are going to collect. It gets in the way and makes kirikomi seem like something more than it is.

The warring periods of Japanese history is generally when smiths were churning out mass produced and artless swords, purely to get out as many weapons as possible. With obvious exceptions, these are usually the least sought after swords. A seller trying to use that as a feature is not all that honest. One that uses kirikomi as a feature, and doesn't push the fact that the vast majority of swords were not owned by samurai.

No idea if this sword is good or not. Would like to know who polished it? It is a wakizashi, not a katana and is not shortened from one. So Samurai useage is even less likely during that time.

 

Brian

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It is a wakizashi, not a katana and is not shortened from one. So Samurai useage is even less likely during that time.

 

Brian,

 

I guess you are making a hasty conclusion here, no? This is the old wakizashi myth ("it is long, unshortened, so it was likely a merchant weapon"), and this myth imakes wakizashi less desirable (at least to some "collectors"). I am sorry, but none of us knows who has owned the sword. The sword should be judged by its quality only.

 

But, if, stating this myth, you want to say that it makes no sense to apply all those romantic notions of samurai and history and battle scars, I could not agree more.

 

@Brian (the Mihara owner)

 

Don't get carried away with a swords alleged history. Brian (the Admin) is right about the kirikomi - that is pure nonsense. It might have been in battle, so what? That doesn't make it a good sword. Unless a sword has provenance (eg. Tokugawa family heirloom), who cares?

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I thought Mihara smiths worked primarily (if not exclusively) in suguha, but honestly it has been years since I was researching them. I am sure someone else will weigh in on this topic.

 

Joe,

 

KAI MIHARA made Suguha, Suguha based midare and Gunome midare.

 

This is a text book example of Kai Mihara Suguha based Midare.

 

/Martin

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Mariusz,

During a time of warfare, when people were fighting for their lives...would wakizashi have been the first choice of weapon?

I know the argument for a daisho..but that is even more clutching at straws. Uchigatana maybe...but a 53cm nagasa wakizashi as the weapon of choice of a Samurai?

Everything is possible, but if you take the most obvious answer, then it isn't likely, and certainly no reason to promote a blade, especially promoting the fact that it was in battle and has a kirikomi.

Don't have the numbers, but if we had to take all the Nihonto made before Meiji period, and list how many were carried peacefully by owners like merchants and civilians, and how many saw actual battle with Samurai, I don't think the majority would be for the latter.

Then take those, and exclude tachi and katana..and what is left is far, far fewer.

Anyways, it's all conjecture. My point is that romanticizing a sword and assuming it was used by a Samurai is stretching things a bit far.

 

Brian

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Regardless of what others think, it is an Nihonto, made by a well documented smith, and I only paid 1300.00 for it, which I thought was a great price.

 

 

Do I like the history, and myth of the ancient samurai, of course I do, as these swords and them go hand in hand, so to say.

 

Brian

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Ummm...maybe my eyes are failing and my appraisal knowledge is fading, but I think I see something that should be mentioned (if only to be knocked down).

Do I see a distinct hoso-suguba along the entire length? It seems especially noticeable in the boshi pic. the hoso-suguba seems to continue from the boshi along the edge, and is noticeable in other edge pics as well (I think)...if so, this is true to the basic Mihara school...also, if it is c.1550 should it have yakidashi?

Does the presence of a suguba "underneath" the gonome-midare suggest a cosmetic hamon added later and does the yakidashi confirm a later hamon tradition?

.....or am I seeing things?

regards,

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Hi George,

I think what you are seeing is rubbing along the edge, possibly the result of a less than perfect fit in the saya and rubbing over time.

If the sword is from around 1550 then it is well and truly established in the Sue-Mihara catagory. I think people's Suguha comments are based on those swords attributed to ko-Mihara or Mihara.We have seen images of excellent Mihara work from those periods. Once you get in to this later Koto period then the massive influence of Soshu and Mino work starts to merge the differences and you start to see common features in many schools of this period such as Soden-Bizen, Sue-Tegai Sue-Senjuin Sue-Aoe etc. Sue- Mihara, I think would also fall in to this grouping.

While as with most other schools the quality of the work decreased through this period and as Jean says a lot of average swords were made.

I think people are being rather hard on this blade. It's condition looks pretty good from what I can see. I dont think there is anything artificial added. While I agree with Brian about "battle scars" and not getting carried away with the hype I think this is an acceptable sword in reasonable polish

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I can see why you might think that Brian and you could well be right. I am not sure whether it is my failing or the technology but make judgement calls based on this type of image I find next to impossible.

Even with the quality of images produced by commercial sites such as AOI-Art or Darcy Brockbanks it is possible to miss some of the finer detail. on photo's produced by us more humble mortals the best we can hope to supply is an impression.

To summarise what I am trying to say

I am not suggesting this is a wonderful piece of work of historical significance but I do think it has some merit.

I do not think the size or feature necessarily contradict the attribution

 

There is sufficient detail visible in the sword to learn from.

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Please don't take the critiques personally. You must understand that the majority of the readers of this forum are experts of nihonto, and many far beyond that level. Although impressed by your enthusiasm, by sharing your new purchase, you are in effect asking for our thoughts.

What you have purchased and shared with us seems to be an ok wakazashi worth about what you paid for it. What can appear as harsh criticism about a new sword you really like, is really only the opinion of experts here; you are posting on the wrong forum if you are just seeking a, "Cool sword, bro!" response.

 

Derek

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I haven't seen anyone criticise the sword itself. Merely the common misconceptions about "Samurai swords", kirikomi and the way swords are described when being sold. (Buy the sword, not the story)

The wakizashi itself seems sound and ok. Polish will have to be evaluated in hand by someone, but it appears to be an ok purchase. Trying to educate people to look further than what they are told by sellers is the aim here. One seller's "battle ready masterpiece of fighting steel" is another man's shiiremono.

Age does not equal quality, and a mass produced Koto is less desirable than a good Shinto. That isn't a comment on this sword...just on how we need to recognise that collectibility seldom depends on age or ownership.

No major criticism here at all..just info on reading between the lines of explanation commonly presented. Advice here on the forum always seeks to educate on future purchases, and reaches out to those reading as well as those purchasing. It's not always about one particular sword.

Where is that mythical made-up advert that does the rounds occasionally about a sword that has "a wonderful bright shiny sai-ha hamon, with a wonderful example of umegane, and a great polish that shows off the shingane to perfection.." etc etc... :D

 

Brian

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Where is that mythical made-up advert that does the rounds occasionally about a sword that has "a wonderful bright shiny sai-ha hamon, with a wonderful example of umegane, and a great polish that shows off the shingane to perfection.." etc etc...

 

 

I think you must have seen some of my early "masterpieces" when I dipped my toe in to the water in the 1980's :) your ad describes some of them perfectly except for missing off the bit about it being made by a misplaced master swordsmith working in a Yorkshire coal mine during the industrial revolution!

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Regardless of what others think, it is an Nihonto, made by a well documented smith, and I only paid 1300.00 for it, which I thought was a great price.

 

When considering price from a collectible point of view it should be taken into account that this sword (based upon these images) is still in need of a 'good' and 'proper' polish (~$2000 +), plus habaki ($450), plus shirasaya ($450), for which those costs need to be added to the equation, and then you still have a Sue Mihara short sword, which may or may not be a 'good' example of late Mihara work, which isn't held in the highest regard as Mihara works go to begin with. But, then, you would know and realize something about that if the articles about Sue Mihara had been read in Nihonto Koza and/or Yamanaka's Newsletters revised before making a decision. Food for thought.

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And how about that idea so to buy you some rather more insightful literature instead?

There´s an active forum member here-offering EXCELLENT literature for bargain(!) prices-

which some guys(like me) had paid twice or even more some years ago....

would at least make more sense in view of an conservative collector like me here-Not?

 

But?-who finally knows...Masamune 7 and YKB´s like Hoan are/is still missing...LOL!

 

Christian

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Wow, this sounds familiar. If only you would've listened to us in the first place. Good luck selling showato in a buyers market Sir.

 

@ Adam

 

 

Yes, this one will be getting a two piece habaki, and a shirasaya made for it.

 

I'm thinking about selling some of my Showa Era swords to buy more Nihonto's, as they are very addictive.

 

 

Brian

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