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Spartancrest

Serpentine Dragons worth a second look.

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Back before the world went Covid, in 2019 Leon Kr posted a thread   http://www.militaria.co.za/nmb/topic/30455-help-needed-with-mei/ That he never really got a straight answer to. I believe because at the time it was dismissed as 'oh no not another cast copy'. Well having just stumbled upon it, I thought to clarify a rather muddy topic. I am normally on the look out for mass produced copies and have posted a few threads on this subject - however this time I would like to show a collection of mass individual pieces 'utsushi' I would guess. From my research there are quiet a range of metals used in their construction but they tend to have three distinct features either a full signature. A partial signature. Or are not signed. The design is always the same but I have yet to see any, that are an exact copy of another. The signatures according to the various owners or sellers usually state to be 'Toshimasa' - Then it gets mixed up - Kofu ju Toshimasa, Kofu jyu Toshimasa, Sumu Toshimasa and the book by the members of the 'Japanese sword society of New York' 1966 describe the maker as 'Mitsunobu (Bushu {Musashi} Province) yet apart from the last, the Kanji is all the same? Toshimasa had several designs, Leon Kr's 'Waves and Birds' also becomes 'Waves and Maple leaves'. Then there is the Dragon - Rain dragon, Smooth dragon, Serpentine dragon, Water dragon, Kissing dragon - no one knows and does it really matter! The point is they are not cast copies. 

 

ps. There were several 'Toshimasa' including a father and son - take your pick because your guess is as good as anyone elses!

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In the last few months I have managed to pick up two 'Serpentine' guards, one in Iron last night. Difficult to judge from the auction images, I will have to wait for its arrival to determine how it was made. Not too concerned as the price was not very high.  My collection now has three of this design and in three different metals.

 

post-3736-0-60748700-1593048483_thumb.jpg

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Probably not 'mass produced', but the design was repeatedly used with little variation. Not unusual in Japanese art. Soft metal basic TSUBA plates were indeed cast before they could be worked on, but this has nothing to do with mass production. 

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Not unlike the examples you shown...

post-4355-0-87260700-1593115985_thumb.jpg

 

Only...this one is an iron tsuba.

I know very little about it. I asked around, but nobody seems to know for sure where to place it.

Plenty ideas, but not consistent in one direction.

I've seen a comparable papered tsuba on AOI...attributed to Myochin, but not supported by any of the people of knowledge I showed it to.

All I know...I like it. :laughing:

Still eager to learn more about it, but I gave up and just appreciate it's soft feel, nice details and the flowing motion.

 

Robin

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Robin. That is too nice! Let me know if you want to swap !  :laughing:  [i too have some doubt on it being Myochin].

Grev. has some nice Dragons as well, you should get in contact with him.

I have come across a similar design to the bird and maple leaf guards, mentioned in the first post - perhaps someone can identify its mei?

https://www.jauce.com/auction/d320270866

 

i-img1000x1000-15413107588mlroe41771.jpg

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Robin & Yas

 

I have compared the two examples you posted - Due to the slight lighting differences it is difficult to tell if in fact they are of the same guard - possibly years apart, or if not the identical guard then they are so close with the same tagane marks they must be cast from the same mold. 

 

post-3736-0-58140700-1594301951_thumb.jpg

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Some items with a slightly different shape come with a NBTHK certificate, and they may be sold by professional shops. So I cannot be sure that it is a casting.

 

Yas

 

http://www.sword-auction.jp/en/content/af19129-%E9%8D%94%EF%BC%9A%E7%84%A1%E9%8A%98%EF%BC%88%E6%98%8E%E7%8F%8D%EF%BC%89-tsuba-mumeiunsignednyochin

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Barry 

There is the same line on the example with the red background [not shown in picture] The slight differences may indicate a separated daisho set, At a guess NBTHK probably got this one wrong - or do they award papers for castings these days!  

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How about...I have no idea. 
My prospect is $280, $475 is too high.
Yas

post-5433-0-23865700-1594990784_thumb.jpg

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Dale. Thank you for the interesting sample. I've added the image to my library.

I think that the rough place on the back side of seppa-dai is a trace of gas generated in the molten metal. It has a unique finish to castings.

An imitation may be sold without the seller knowing.

 

Yas.A

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Just an update on these Serpentine/Rain Dragon designs, I have found evidence of at least one rather obvious Iron casting of the design - there is no evident Izarae [cleaning a casting] Even for a casting there should have been some sort of 'quality control' - The asking price is way off the scale. I will leave it up to the viewer to find the faults - many.

cast serpentine full.jpg

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Those lines are one of the first things I look for in a cast tsuba. They appear on many tsuba that don't show many other signs. But almost always indicate a cast tsuba or a very poor one.

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Being the owner of one of the rain dragon tsuba at the top of this thread (tsuba with blue background from Grey) im enjoying this thread. I collected quite a few images of similar tsuba including some in this thread but unfortunately I deleted them.  Thanks for your efforts Dale and Yas.

Regards 

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Greg F

I have just over thirty individual images of this type, most with dimensions.

image.png.e1c36c5a0bdeebafdf7ded5595dcbe01.png

 

some are from old sources so a bit grainy but clear enough to disern that they are not duplicates. Send me a PM if you would like me to forward some or all.

 

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