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Mirror Hamon.


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Having read articles in the past on the subject, of hamon showing a mirror image both sides of the blade.

My attention has been drawn to a wakizashi, which in hand looks as if an attempt has been made, to create such an effect.

Now, just how accurate this effect has to be, to be considered a mirroring, I don't know.

So as an exercise, I decided to photograph both sides of the blade at several points, using a rule at the hamachi for reference.

I have the images, but here's where I ask for members assistance please.

I do not have image enhancing software.

What is now needed is tweaking to enhance the hamon, and placing two images ha to ha in one shot, for comparison.

To the skilled amongst us I hope this is no big deal.

I will add two images out of the six comparisons I have.

Thanks in advance for any help. this will be for board appraisal when completed.

Regards.

 

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Thanks Axel and Darcy.

 

Axel, yes you got as far as I did! The two examples were just to show the standard of photo to be worked on.

 

Darcy, the other examples (5) all have a similarity in hamon, using the yardstick the examples are surprisingly on 'measure'.

"This is the earliest I've seen' Is that a reference to this blade?

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Earliest I have seen is a reference to oshigata for study, that is Masamune, Norishige, and some other Soshu blades. I haven't seen it tried on anything else (by definition good suguba is mirror image but that doesn't count).

 

Suguba is difficult because any errors show up. It is as difficult as taking your hand and drawing a 70cm straight line on a piece of paper with no warbles and no assistance. Midareba by its nature hides "mistakes" or anything unintentional. However, the unintended somewhat random results can also be a feature in that if you absolutely control your hamon, like say something like Toranba, it can be beautiful but also artificial. The flex that is in good midare allows the sword to somewhat express its own character and take on its own individual character without that being imposed on it.

 

What we get with the mirror image hamon is a smith working in midareba of some sort who is also showing you that it is a fully intentional result without accident and with absolute skill. He does that by replicating what he's done on the opposite side: hence, no accident in the formation and he's not hiding any mistakes.

 

Or attempting to. Because the mirror image hamon usually ends up with departures on either side and it's very interesting for study as a result because you can start to see those areas where the will of the sword and has overridden the will of the smith. And those departures or "mistakes", not really fair to call it a mistake, but departures from the intent can help lead us to conclusions about how some midareba are truly made. Part imposed, part uncontrolled results. 

 

Yours, I am not sure of as some of it looks like an attempt to make tama in Toranba style and it could be someone trying to copy Sukehiro in the shinto period. Didn't look that closely but it didn't seem to be perfect mirror image and that was the extent of my initial comment. The rest is just saying how far back it goes at least as a stylistic choice. There may be some in Rai or Awataguchi outside of the suguba items. I need to go and look through it all, I remember there possibly being something I just don't remember what it is as I didn't take special note of it (something earlier than late Kamakura).

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The point you made on the will of the sword, opposing the skill of the smith, is noted.


Also the skill needed to accomplish a faultless result, would have to be of the highest standard. The other points you make give food for further thought. More on that in a minute.


This blade has at least 6 areas where it can be supposed a mirror attempt has been made, The position of the measure indicates, this is not a random accident.


 


Now the other point.


The fashioning of the hamon is pre yaki-ire, so from there, the desired effect is now expected.


So if a smith had the intention, of producing the characteristics of a known smith, then the attempt of mirroring, would be deliberate and not accidental.


Where am I going with this? It leads from your comment that “it could be someone trying to copy ‘Sukehiro’


This blade is signed ‘Sukehiro’, gi-mei when compared to examples I have seen.


One will never know! But was this made to deceive, or the mei added later because of the hamon?


Either way your return post was most informative thanks. 


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Also the skill needed to accomplish a faultless result, would have to be of the highest standard. 

 

So if a smith had the intention, of producing the characteristics of a known smith, then the attempt of mirroring, would be deliberate and not accidental.

Where am I going with this? It leads from your comment that “it could be someone trying to copy ‘Sukehiro’

This blade is signed ‘Sukehiro’, gi-mei when compared to examples I have seen.

One will never know! But was this made to deceive, or the mei added later because of the hamon?

Either way your return post was most informative thanks. 

 

 

 

Yes, agreed on the first point. The smiths who do this regularly are Muramasa, Sukehiro, and Terukane off the top of my head. First two are Sai-jo saku and the last is Jo-jo but there is not much breathing room between him and Sukehiro. 

 

Sukehiro probably would scrap one that did not come out perfectly. His reputation was high and less than perfect I think doesn't agree with the revenue he would have had and maintaining the reputation.

 

I had a pair of Suketaka blades that were mumei, quality was not good but they were a daisho with fittings and got daisho token papers (rare). Suketaka work is Sukehiro-esque and others followed in this style as well. It is possible that it is just work of a lesser smith emulating the style, he didn't sign and someone popped the signature on. My gut feeling on this one. As you said, one will never know. Sukehiro though it should all be like ice crystals and newly fallen snow. If it isn't then it's not going to be him. 

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I have been content in the knowledge, that no, this is not him!

But pleased with this blade, it is a beefy and balanced piece.

And with the oddities it has, gives it its own history.

The links you provided I will use to see examples of their works.

Thank you for the generosity of your time, much appreciated. 

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