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roger dundas

TSUBA WITH BATTLE SCARS

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Purchased from N.M.B 'For Sale' section offered by Leporello earlier this year and very pleased to now own it. There are three blade cuts on the mimi and I am very aware that it can only be conjecture that they were received in a battle but I am happy to think so. Complements an old, early blade (?1400s) I have in shin gunto mounts with three or four battle scars also.

I haven't come across commentary on such scars here before ?   Maker is possibly Yamashiro Kaneie  ?

 

Roger j

Battle scars 1.JPG

Battle scars 2.JPG

Battle scars 3.JPG

Battle scars 4.JPG

Battle scars 5 ok.JPG

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Roger it's a nice thought.

Just my opinion but if the opponent's sword has got that close you have probably got a serious cut to your arm at the very least.

The tsuba stops a blade from sliding down the sword onto the hand or the hand from sliding into the blade. It would be rather risky to use it to parry or deflect a blow as suggested.

The mune and flat are used for this purpose. Put the tsuba on a blade hold that blade in your hand and look at the angle of the cuts to determine where the blades top 3rd is likely to be as your strike will be around the monouchi.

I think if they are indeed battle scars then I feel that samurai may have lost.

But they are not fine enough to have been caused by a sharpened blade which would leave a fine indent not these thick ones.

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Could it be an example of Tameshi testing?

 

Markus Sesko wrote an article about various forms of Tameshi which took place during the Bakumatsu.

 

https://markussesko.com/2019/08/27/destructive-sword-testing/

 

I think Guido also posted something about destructive testing on Tsuba.

 

Should be somewhere on NMB.

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Thank you Adam and Malcolm and I very much enjoyed the article from Markus that Malcolm included.  Adam you are correct about the different deformation in the tsuba  metal if these are sword cuts as against the blade cuts on my katana which are very sharp and clean but could that be due to the big difference  in metal quality ? 'Iron' tsuba, refined 'steel' katana blade ?  If they are sword strikes then it would seem the person wielding the sword with this tsuba was being given a hard time of it ?

 

Roger j

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If they are sword cuts it's evident the wielder of this sword died.

You really cannot use the Mimi of a tsuba in any defence stratagy.

The one at the top for example if you fit a sword blade at that angle of impact your blade from your opponent is tipping into the forearm and hand of the wielder of your tsuba.

You can also see that this steel is maliable so if you hit the Mimi of that tsuba with a hammer......

Therefore a fine edged blade will leave a very neat sharp V.

Your right the characteristics of both are different but all that means is that the tsuba would be bitten into more deeply being softer.

No one has to agree with my opinions though. They are just educated guesses after all.

 

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I have a couple of pieces with kirikomi on them.  The first is this:

kirikomi.jpg

 

As can be seen, the cut appears to be from a sword(part of it is still in the blade), and the bottom doesn't come to a sharp V.

And the second is this naginata(?) tsuba I recently acquired - there are a couple of what appear to be kirikomi on it:

 

naginata_tsuba_front.thumb.jpg.a4d925e9eb41da9eda626d1fc552d9bb.jpgnaginata_tsuba_back.thumb.jpg.b418e66f34d5120c9a75a4c99f05f89b.jpgkirikomi_composite_1.thumb.jpg.6df28dc52be5c3cdbc78c8dfa34c72c2.jpg

 

Best,

rkg

(Richard George)

 

 

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Hi Richard the only reason that your kirikomi doesn't appear to come to a sharp point is because of the bit if blade still in the scar.

Look closely at your own picture you will see if you remove the piece of ha for mbthat other sword you have your V. Yours is true Kirikomi on that blade.

Also your tsuba kirikomi cannot be unless you are suggesting that the mune made contact with the tsuba. That is not the indentation of a sharp object impact.

Try this experiment.....

Take a big kitchen knife and a piece of wood .

With a nice downward chopping motion

Hit the wood with the big kitchen knives cutting edge ,look at what you get.

Same principles apply 

 

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Read this http://www.ksky.ne.jp/~sumie99/katanainfight.html

I think your tsuba saw some battle.

 

Sorry i have edited the post 

And a blade even with not much niku will get dull on impact and leaves a bigger scar.

Nihonto have Niku unlike kitchen knifes.

I made a little picture for a shinogi zukuri example :)

nihonto.jpg

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I certainly am enjoying enjoying the information coming out here and especially the story posted by Christian as well as the tsuba from Richard.'

Now my summation is this although I might have misconstrued the information :  Swordsmen/Samurai normally defend against their opponent's sword attacks using the top or side of the blade ,probably preferring to deflect rather than take a straight out hit which might break a blade ? But if a swordsman was being overwhelmed (or confronted with multiple opponents as in Christian's post), then he may not have this choice and sword strikes might get blocked or deflected by an habaki, or the tsuba instead in the confusion.

As for the strike marks on my tsuba, they don't seem much if any different to that on Richard's naginata tsuba ?

 Is that how it is ? I am very able to misread things .

 

Roger j

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In a sword fight anything can happen so it could very easily be fight damage. Its not like in the movies where its all choreographed.  Tsuba are mainly for protecting the hand from sliding up onto the blade and from an enemies blade but there would be countless times tsuba were hit by blades producing these type of scars.

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Greatly appreciate the above posts, so thanks to Greg, Christian, Adam and Richard and really feel that these possibly/ probably are battle scars.

Just as a matter of interest, are the Japanese likely to disfigure historic or any other items just for the hell of it. Why I ask this is because here in Australia (and I will probably offend some here) we do get our share of vandalism, things unnecessarily broken or destroyed . But then, like much of the new world and now the old world too, we take in a lot of migrants from various under privileged backgrounds. But I once read that it is where the Anglo-Saxons settle you will get vandalism .

Now don't attack me, it isn't my opinion and nor do I know if it's correct. The point was that it appears  to me that the Japanese as a people value and preserve their heritage. For what the comment is worth, when I was a boy I tried to knock our local street light out by throwing stones at it. I was an accurate shot but never succeeded. I blame the Anglo-Saxon part of me.

 

Roger j

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Just thought that you might like to see another tsuba with a sword cut (I believe).  The tsuba is a classic Kyo sukashi of the Mikawa irises, popular around the Momoyama period.  It came with a NBTHK Hozon.  Loo
king down at the tsuba from the blade side (ura) there is a cut in the rim at 11 o/clock.  It would seem (to me) that the samurai was deflecting a blow by holding his sword vertically and his opponent's blade came down the side of his.  I don't think that the split is a folding flaw in the iron.

 

Regards, John

P1130008.JPG

Iris 2.JPG

Iris 3.JPG

Iris 4.JPG

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That's quite probable John it's a neat slice as one would expect from a sharp edged weapon. 

 

I did a test on a tetsu tsuba and an old sword I had and the mark it leaves is a very fine line. VERY VERY FINE LINE. 

This seems to fall in line with other genuine Kirikomi. There is, as in my case, deformation of the blade as a result of this impact. 

 

 

 

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Oh well, I appreciate your arguments Adam but seeing the scar on Richard's tsuba and the story of the battle proven katana in Christian's article I will just keep an open mind on the veracity or not of the scars on my tsuba. 

And thanks John B for your pics- a very sharp cut and a sharp photo too.

And BaZZa, I turned out a failure in the vandal stakes, certainly never understanding wanton damage or destruction - we get it often enough nowadays with people maliciously lighting our bush fires.

 

Roger j

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