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You read that one correctly, Jay. These are the Chinese-made blades that are trying hard to confuse the issue on what constitutes a Nihonto. Don't fall for it!

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Saw a fascinating programme a while ago which looked in detail at the Chinese fake porcelain market.  Two experts, both Chinese, one a collector and one a dealer explored the fake market and found out some interesting things.  The quality of what is being produced at the top end was so good that neither of them could tell which was genuine and which was fake even after detailed in hand examination.  As the market for high end Chinese porcelain has gone through the roof recently it was worth the fakers time to produce forty or fifty trial fakes of a specific piece in order to get one that was just right.  It would then find it's way onto the open market via a western auction house where silly money would be exchanged for it and it would be brought back to China to reside in a collection or museum.

 

Several years ago there was a bit of a furore in Japan when a number of very early swords started turning up in remarkable condition, many of which were papered.  As I recall questions started to be asked and a symposium of experts and smiths discussed these swords and recognised the hand of a fellow smith.  

 

Very close to where I live there was a very gifted metalworker who resented the old saying, "You can't get work of this quality anymore."  It was said to him by the owner of a collection of fine antique guns.  The metalworker accepted the challenge and made an exact copy.  He used the correct materials and made it just as the original would have been made.  The collector was impressed, so much so that he couldn't resist the urge and asked the metalworker for some more examples.  You can guess where this is going, can't you?  Before long they were entering the market and a well known and respected local dealer who did not spot them had traded many of them all over the world.  An expert at a major London auction house finally spotted something fishy and when it all came to trial the local dealer testified that if the man had lived in the 18th century he would have been acclaimed as one of the great gunsmiths.  As it was he ended up in court.

 

The point of all this is that what we love is the product of human endeavour, albeit sublimely skilled. Given enough determination and skill there will come a time when we really won't be able to tell the difference.  Some of us have spent many thousands of hours getting our eyes tuned in and can spot the fakers relatively easily still.  However this particular forge is making quite a bit of money, presumably out of people who have not quite got their eyes tuned in.  Given a year or two the swords will have acquired a bit of age and will be harder to spot.

 

Makes for interesting times, don't you think?

 

All the best.

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On my way back home from the Orlando sword show I received an inquiry from one of his unlucky customers. when I explained what it is that he had purchased he left a negative feedback on eBay warning others that these items are Chinese fakes. Somehow it seems that the seller got that warning and negative feedback removed.

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More money made and more business to be done if advertised for what they were. I would love a 75cm Tachi that had zero historic value to do Tameshi with.

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Saw a fascinating programme a while ago which looked in detail at the Chinese fake porcelain market.  Two experts, both Chinese, one a collector and one a dealer explored the fake market and found out some interesting things.  The quality of what is being produced at the top end was so good that neither of them could tell which was genuine and which was fake even after detailed in hand examination.  As the market for high end Chinese porcelain has gone through the roof recently it was worth the fakers time to produce forty or fifty trial fakes of a specific piece in order to get one that was just right.  It would then find it's way onto the open market via a western auction house where silly money would be exchanged for it and it would be brought back to China to reside in a collection or museum.

 

I saw the same program and recall that it was said some of these fakes even successfully passed a dating thermoluminescence test...

 

BaZZa.

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Just the price and the name of the seller should be enough to identify what the sword is; unfortunately the newbie will not have enough knowledge to figure it out. Others have mentioned the tell tale signs on the sword; I suggest we do not get too specific, or the makers will wise up faster and get better at fakes based on our feedback.

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The market still has it right I think.  These things are going for a few hundred bucks, meaning that they aren't fooling the experienced collectors.  They are either going to folks who know what they are but want them anyway or to newbies who don't know better.  it is the last group that i grieve for, since some of them may never develop into collectors and enthusiasts following this bad experience.

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