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Test your ability to read through rust!


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Hi All.  I wasn't sure whether this post should go in the translations section or here.  I chose here because it is more an issue of being able to stare at the tea leaves and discern what is written rather than read kanji.  

 

This blade is over 27", is koshi sori, has a ko kissaki, has four holes in the tang, has what appears to be an early Bizen style hamon and what resembles a san saku boshi.   I will work on getting some photos of the rest of the sword for later.  For the time being, I am having trouble reading the last two characters of the mei due to the presence of rust.   I have worked on it a bit with ivory and it is better than it was.  

 

I am posting some photos here.  They are large, and I think that I can only post two per posting (at least by dragging them), so I have used three posting pages.

 

I have seen some of you (for example Ray Singer!) display amazing ability to look at the remnants of a mei and come up with a very likely fit.  I can clearly see that the first kanji are Bizen Kuni Osafune....followed by XX:  備前国長船 The usage of Bizen rather than Bishu is a clue, as is the usage of the kuni with this certain style.  I have looked through the Bizen taikan and am getting swept away with hopes and dreams, so I thought I would put it out there for some fun.  Clearly the last two kanji, which comprise the name, are the most important, part of the puzzle.  Any and all suggestions are welcomed.  

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Funny Ray, that was my best guess too, but I worried that it was too hopeful.   The signatures of Nagamitsu that I found seemed to have a different kuni character.  This one looks to me like this style  国 rather than this style 國, but I guess it is a little hard to tell.  My plan is to send it to Japan for polish and papers.  Would you paper it first if it were yours?  

 

 

 

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It has some spider rust but otherwise the visibility is good.  I will try to take some photos, but my sword photography is far from good.  I suppose that if it happened to get a gimei call (which I sincerely doubt that it would), I would resubmit it.  If it got a second one, I guess I would have two choices - either have the mei removed and resubmit (which would break my heart since I think that the signature was made during Kamakura) or just keep it and enjoy it.  The big question would be whether to invest in a polish in that case. 

 

I am open to any other readings or interpretations!  

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If its pink slipped they used to at least give an opinion of it. 

Without hijacking a thread how does one commission Tanobe to make a sayagaki? I'd like to have this on a couple of mine but Paul Martin said he doesn't know him. 

 

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I think while still employed by the NBTHK you are right he limited sayagaki to TH and above. Since he is retired and independent this may have changed but I believe he is very selective about the swords he will make a sayagaki for. As you might imagine the potential demand would be very high if not filtered somehow.

 

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Tanobe sensei indeed could now write sayagaki even for an unpapered sword or Hozon or TH. But he indeed is selective and the submitter also needs to be “self-selective” and not “embarrass” Tanobe sensei by requesting a sayagaki for a bad sword etc. The older or the more interesting the sword the better. Also, how much he liked or appreciated the sword is also evident by the length of the sayagaki and the floridness of the language used. 
Tanobe sensei could evaluate a signature, the state of the nakago (age,  rust, etc), the overall blade and could concurrently recommend a polisher best suited to restoring it. Then he might say that he would study it and write a sayagaki after the blade comes back from polish. 
 

Paul is not the best suited to commission to intermediate that. One is better off requesting a local Japanese dealer or intermediary for that. 

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Tanobe sensei indeed could now write sayagaki even for an unpapered sword or Hozon or TH. But he indeed is selective and the submitter also needs to be “self-selective” and not “embarrass” Tanobe sensei by requesting a sayagaki for a bad sword etc. The older or the more interesting the sword the better. Also, how much he liked or appreciated the sword is also evident by the length of the sayagaki and the floridness of the language used. 
Tanobe sensei could evaluate a signature, the state of the nakago (age,  rust, etc), the overall blade and could concurrently recommend a polisher best suited to restoring it. Then he might say that he would study it and write a sayagaki after the blade comes back from polish. 
 

Paul is not the best suited to commission to intermediate that. One is better off requesting a local Japanese dealer or intermediary for that. 

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I think that you are correct Michael, that Tanobe will still write sayagaki.  I think that Bob Benson is able to arrange that, though I have not used him.  It is a good idea to get the sword into the hands of Tanobe San, though I might do it after shinsa and polish.  

 

I have many swords with sayagaki by Honami Koshu, but he has retired and is no longer writing them.  

 

Jussi, I will work on that, I  promise!  It's just a question of what level of embarrassment I want to sustain for my poor photography.  Oh, and yes, Ray has a special talent in this, which is why I shouted him out during the request!  

 

Babu, in my experience, NTHK-NPO will give feedback on the worksheet (which in the case of rejection is usually just a simple word in my case - gimei).  I have  never had a sword turned down by NBTHK, but that probably reflects the fact that I often submit to NTHK-NPO in the US before sending them to Japan.  And I have always had them polished before submission. 

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Jussi et al., here is my pathetic first attempt to take some photos.  The shame is that I had Kirill visit and show me how he does it with his equipment.  I just don't have the equipment, technical knowledge or, dare I say, willingness to work that hard.  So it is with great humility that I share these photos with you in the hopes that you can get some idea what the shape and hamon look like.  

 

I must say that these really don't capture the amazing nioiguchi, the hataraki or the other subtle features of the hamon.  Also completely missing from these, except in a few small areas, is the utsuri that the blade has.  I expect that a good polish will make the utsuri quite amazing.  I did my best to capture the boshi, but oh well.   I will post more in a subsequent message, since they are big.

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Hi Volker, I didn't realize that you follow NMB.   It is already in Japan and is getting good reviews.  Polish, shirasaya and habaki are being arranged now.  I will keep you posted.  

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