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mtexter

Mumei Tanto

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Hi All,

 

This is one of the 4 complete blades from my grandpa's WWII cache.  Some interesting things look to have been done to it some time ago.  In its condition, I'm curious if anyone could tell me much about it.  I love the fuchi, kashira, and saya though.  Definitely looks old, but I have no real guess as to how old.

 

More pics are here:  https://imgur.com/a/pW8GHoZ

 

Thanks for looking!

IMG_20200901_172449.jpg

IMG_20200901_173238.jpg

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Hi Mike.

 

Well.  First off, the length of swords is measured from the kissaki, (tip) to the machi, (notches where the habaki sits). Extrapolating from your tape measure I am estimating this as about 9"?

Nice gold foiled seppa, silver foiled habaki and copper tsuba with a shakudo fukurin.  Shakudo fuch kahira which I think show tea ceremony utensils.  All in all nice thing.  Are you missing one menuki?  If so then finding a new pair and getting this re wrapped would be good and easy.  Grey has a few pairs at the moment, https://www.japaneseswordbooksandtsuba.com/store/Tsuba-&-Kodogu  You will probably also want to get a kodzuka and kogatana to round off the package.  Take some advice on this regarding the theme, keeping up the tea ceremony idea would be good.

 

As for the blade, well you know it needs a polish and it is really hard to judge what damage there is from photos.  Given the shape and state of the nakago I don't think it's any earlier than Shinto and I would guess Shinshinto.  None the less a nice package.  I would be tempted to restore this one, once again monetary returns are not the consideration.

 

Most of all enjoy this little chap.

 

All the best.

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I do agree with Geraint. The file marks are very obvious on the nakago so it shouldn’t be extremely old

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Mike, your grandpa did pretty well in the items you have shared.  

 

I agree with what Geraint said completely.  

 

As to the issue about polishing it, it looks to me like it has been "sharpened" using a western knife sharpener or worse (maybe a grinding wheel?).  Also, it looks like it has a lot of pretty wide and deep ware in the ji which will become quite visible if it were polished.  If it has been sharpened, then a polisher will have to reshape the blade when they polish it and it will lose the hamachi.   A new one will have to be formed by shaving down the ha side of the nakago.  

 

To put it in english, the tang of the sword will lose its originality when it is polished in order for a habaki to fit properly.  If it has to be reshaped a lot, you will also need a new habaki.  

 

All in all, you should realize, as Geraint said, that the primary motivation for this should be the "family heirloom" rationale, as you would most certainly lose a considerable amount of money if you  were to sell it after such a restoration.  

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Thanks guys, this is great info.  This piece is likely going to my younger brother, and I'll definitely pass all of this along. (We had 4 complete nihonto to divvy up between 4 cousins, and it's looking like their sizes/lengths will match up with us in age order, roughly anyway)

 

I agree with you Bob, my grandpa brought back some incredible things, we're extremely grateful!

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19 hours ago, Geraint said:

First off, the length of swords is measured from the kissaki, (tip) to the machi, (notches where the habaki sits)

Man I've been on this forum long enough to know better!  Shame on me, every pic I've taken with a tape measure in is showing overall length, not the nagasa.  Shucks.

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