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Charlie, if no one else answers I will throw this in as a stop-gap. "Here's egg on my face!"

Carvers often used artistic license. It has a sort of Meiji feel to it. The signature starts with 宗, kind of typical at that time, but the last character looks like word-play to me. There is a splendid word 帯刀 Taito, but has it been all run into one 'Kanji'?

Also, ending in 一 and 刀 gives an impression of 'carved by'.

It's almost as if you can pronounce the art name 'Sotai' with a trick of the eye, even without such a Kanji existing.

 

Without seeing the quality of the carving this is not really fair, but it is possible that a later member of a carving school used this name. Equally possible is that this Kanji has been deliberately chosen to waste time and confuse.

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Uwe might be right, logically. Artistically though, they are too squashed up for proper balance.

 

Besides, the Soyo 宗世 signatures that I have managed to find, are quite different in style. 

 

Many later artists are not listed in the old books, so sometimes the line of least resistance is to assume someone from a school, or emulating the style of that school. The other possibility is a later, added signature to give an extra je ne sais quoi.

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Without answering Peter for a moment, Charlie, I am sure Marcus must have said just Soyo, not 'Mune Soyo'.

(As Uwe was attempting to point out, So/Mune = 宗 i.e.  alternative readings for the first Kanji).

 

Peter, you are suggesting 宗丗一刀 or 宗丗二刀?

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