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Kozuka opinions please

Mantis dude

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Hi all,


I was curious about this kozuka (weird another mantis piece). It did remind me of another kozuka I saw before but would be nice to get input from you infamous characters. Obviously, there is shakudo and gold, other than the entire piece being non magnetic I'm not sure what the kozuka body is made of.

Size is 76cm x 18cm x 7cm



Close-up of the Kamakiri (mantis in Japanese)



This kozuka has been around and you can see lots of damage on the side as if it had been slammed many times against a tsuba throughout its life.



Yes it probably needs a cleaning but I didn't want to muck with it much at this point. I appreciate any and all comments... I think. Thanks.

Ken aka "The Mantis Dude"

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Dwayne and John,


The spot in the back is exactly why I don't think it is made of shakudo and should have mentioned that as my rationale. It goes back to an inquiry I made a while back that black doesn't automatically equal shakudo. Boy could I use a book on how these things are made, pickled , colored, etc. Anyone know anyone with that know who could write it down? (That's a joke fyi).


Jean, it has been abused and I guess that's part of why I posted: guesstimate on age would be nice. I have no plans to get it professionally restored. I also didn't pay a lot for it. I sort of consider the damage on the side as part of the kozuka history and was trying to think how it could happen.


But I do love the dark shakudo the mantis is made of. And I wish I had the ability to show the gold through a loupe. It's hard to see from my photo, check that, impossible to see the gold of the insect wings but it is thicker than I realized and i feel like I could peel a chunk of gold off of it if I desired (i do not).


As always I appreciate the comments. Thanks.


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Why do I have a different concept of shakudo? I didn't think it has to be patinated. The color comes from the mixture of the individual alloys. If I were to cut into a kaga piece would it not be a hunk of black metal? Not that I'm going to do that. All the ana's (hitsu, kogai, etc) are black. How it is polished gives the mirror black finnish. The rare sukashi shakudo tsuba is entirely in a black color. Was the entire piece patinated to get black? To me it would leave "spots" of worn color. I have an old mino shakudo tsuba that similarly i believed to be a massive hunk of shakudo. Obviously, I need more or better input.

I had a fuchi kashira restored. It was black. However, the black was stripped and could not be replicated since the underlying base metal was copper, not shakudo and that particular pickling recipe was lost to time.

Obviously, I have a different understanding which is not surprising but if I have it, I'm sure others can to.

So do we have a bat phone for Ford?



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Thanks for that. I am amazed that I didn't know that. However, reading many of the glossaries of fittings books, not 1 mentions the patination stage. They all say the same thing it's a Japanese alloy that is effected by the amount of gold content. always something to learn even the basics.


This is a more technical question that I'm sure will have a "depends" answer but how thick is the patination layer to give us that black color? I saw the spot of copper coming through on this kozuka But I don't recall seeing this happening a lot. If it were more common i think I would have become more aware of the entire process a while ago.


Still in shock from this true lapse in knowledge. Appreciate the insight. Thanks




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