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I Have Questions


JackThom88
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Hello,

 

I am new to the forum and am seeking help. I am trying to come up with some information about this sword and paperwork. I have been told that the origami is done by Shibata Mitsuo and that's sadly all the information I have on either the sword or paperwork. I have no idea how old it is, who made it, it's value, or anything like that. Any and all help is very much appreciated. Thank you! 

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These were the pictures I had taken when I purchased the sword. The seller was unfortunately not using gloves to handle it. It has since been cleaned. I had no idea it was anywhere near that old. Does the origami say anything as to who the actual smith was? The blade is incredibly sharp so I don't want to get down to the tang if I don't have to. What is such an old piece like this even worth? Thank you all for the help.

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If I am seeing correctly that this is the actual sword published in the book /catalog you show here, the attribution is only to Aoe, nambokucho jidai. The reference places the sword at 630 years old. Uncertain of the publication date. The sword has lost its boshi, which has a significant impact on value. More forgivable for a Heian /early Kamakura sword. For a Nambokucho period wakizashi it is a more significant issue.

 

It is important for maintenance to remove the tsuka and clean & oil under the habaki.

 

Best regards,

Ray

 

PS, it seems that a past owner robbed the koshirae of its menuki. Unfortunate if it was an ubu (unaltered) Edo period koshirae.

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That is good to know, I will take it down and clean/oil it in it's entirety. I am unfamiliar with the term "boshi", what are you referring to? I apologize for being so inexperienced in the field. This entire process has been one of learning for me and I so appreciate the continued assistance.

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The fact that the sword has a significant flaw should have been disclosed by the seller. That said, if it is healthy the sword may still be a good study piece. Bitchu Aoe is a very well respected school who produced beautiful work. Even with the missing boshi, I personally would not feel bad about owning this one for $1,500 as long as sword is otherwise in good condition and would be inclined to replace the menuki and have the tsuka rewrapped. I may be in the minority with that position though.

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That is the exact sword from the book. Notice the ware in nakago. Same in both Oshigata, and blade. Published work from a reputable school. Missing Boshi.. meh, I'd agree with Ray. I'd happily pay that price to own this blade. Nice work.

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Jack, the lack of a complete hamon in the boshi should tell you that your blade used to be considerably longer, but has been cut back for some reason. Usually, when the blade is shortened & repolished, the togi (polisher) ensures that the hamon is complete, all the way to the tip, but the fact that yours isn't should be something to ponder. Yes, it's well worth the money you paid.

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So, I did some reading last night concerning this particular era in which the paper work claims the sword was made. From my understanding it was very, very common for swords to have been shortened due to the battle tactics of the time, where the warriors would use longer blades, surround leaders that were on horse back, and take them down using said longer blades. Those longer blades (excuse my lack of appropriate terminology, again I am quite new to this) were often shortened to accommodate close quarter fighting. IF this particular blade was shortened during the actual era in which it was forged does that still take away from it's value? That being said, was it common for longer blades to have such short grips? Seems to me that longer blades would also make for a longer grip for, well, better grip and more power in the swing of the blade. So now I am questioning whether or not the length of the tang is correct? Am I looking into this too much or is it possible that this particular maker just didn't forge a blade with the right hamon?

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It is common for Nambokucho period swords to be made o-suriage (dramatically shortened). That process is done from the nakago end, not from the kissaki. The hamon running off before the end of the kissaki indicates that the tip was damaged and reshaped. You can see how the hamon begins to rise up toward the mune in the kissaki area, so this was a slight reduction in length from that end. I will attach a quick diagram showing how it may have looked.

 

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In addition to the reshaped kissaki, this wakizashi is also o-suriage (so it has been reduced in length from both ends). Looking at the kitae-ware (forging flaws) in the nakago it is possible that the sword was shortened to hide those kizu.

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Did the previous owner give you the magazine in which this sword is featured? I think it might be on the bottom of those pics that ends in の優品 13. The page dedicated to this sword will have more information about it but it is so small in the pics.

 

I think it was very good buy in overall for the price but I agree with Ray that I might be overly biased as I like old stuff.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Dear Tom.

 

I might be wrong but the photographs look very much like the ones in a certain sale catalogue which would account for the koshirae being illustrated as well as the oshigata.  i  do hope you find the other menuki but in any case another pair, some TLC and a good rewrap will see this become a very nice koshirae and worth the money you have spent on it's own.

 

You did well and it's a fascinating package.

 

All the best.

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I agree with Geraint, I'd also guess the magazine to be a sales catalog. Some Japanese sword sellers have catalogs like these and but unfortunately I cannot tell what the catalog is as it's format is bit different from the few various ones I have. At quick glance I did not see asking price listed anywhere on that page but the page is in so small font.

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