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Small collection in NZ (2)


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Posted across several threads due to size limits....please see my profile for the rest....

 

As promised I'm sharing an overview of our small collection of nihonto. We're a small volunteer run museum in NZ. We don't know a ton about this collection and due to many factors much of the paperwork is missing, so we don't know the stories around how they came to be in the museum. 

 

At some time in the past the blades were all liberally coated in oil, we think maybe linseed oil. We've gently cleaned it off but as you can see it has stained the blades. They are all very much out of polish, which makes it very hard to see the hamon. We've done our best with the photos, to show the elements which would be useful in terms of ID.

 

Full care for all of these nihonto is unfortunately outside the parameters of our current project, both time wise and budget wise. However, if the community on here identifies anything particularly special, we might be able to organise some special treatment. I hope this doesn't sound harsh. It's just that we are cataloguing and caring for an entire museum on a tiny budget. We really love these nihonto which is why we're sharing them here.

 

So, any ID help is greatly appreciated, or just any general info or discussion at all. Every little bit of knowledge helps.

 

Many thanks friends :-)

 

 

Catalogue number 2379, previously discussed mismatched saya and blade:

RI.W2003.2379_27.thumb.JPG.b1fa45ac63d4b334338e0afe84adb46c.JPGRI.W2003.2379_30.thumb.JPG.552077f5f125295dd86ba292af554614.JPGRI.W2003.2379_32.thumb.JPG.19ee30575d9dbfb8e9add5ba9aba8914.JPGRI.W2003.2379_35.thumb.JPG.e0abab1da8a57eebb03a635e169431aa.JPGRI.W2003.2379_19.thumb.JPG.f377c500c17565aa0b4893b436179d2b.JPGRI.W2003.2379_18.thumb.JPG.838a2fe8905d7b85d3222ddf44e24a3f.JPGRI.W2003.2379_11.thumb.JPG.9928ee593e7dff079b3d4c7ad5d410dc.JPGRI.W2003.2379_08.thumb.JPG.75c472b92dd498c29d1fa885b594014f.JPGRI.W2003.2379_24.thumb.JPG.2c49c4df11d76c8c58f889fb5c4ec237.JPGRI.W2003.2379_22.thumb.JPG.c4f6495e1a4313950468d0c40e559e8d.JPGRI.W2003.2379_21.thumb.JPG.e99911a850403f0febf704d8e6aeecc3.JPGRI.W2003.2379_20.thumb.JPG.bf761760b0668a5bbd23d6b948690c59.JPG

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On 6/18/2021 at 3:37 AM, Tom Darling said:

Hi Eve,  the Rai Kunihisa is not good. 

 

Hi Tom,

 

Thanks for the info. Sorry to be a pain but can I please ask for more details? Like how you can tell? We're generalists trying our best to get this right and there's only so much help from reading articles on the net - we just don't have the experience.

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3 hours ago, Eve said:

 

Hi Tom,

 

Thanks for the info. Sorry to be a pain but can I please ask for more details? Like how you can tell? We're generalists trying our best to get this right and there's only so much help from reading articles on the net - we just don't have the experience.

A detailed explanation would help all those looking to learn. :)

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Eve et al -

Different Tom here - proper judgement of a blade needs to be done in hand - that being said there are lots of folks that will try to tell you what you have from photographs - it really is an exercise in futility - but  there are some things that can be said with certainty based on your photos.

 

So here I go out on the limb. Based on what we can see - and I preface all of these comments with this - your first blade is signed Nobukuni but it is badly executed most likely a later addition most likely gimei - the shape and finish of the nakago are wrong for the smith and his time period - what we see of hamon and hada are not good - if it has hamon it looks to be saiha to my eye - combined with the deep curve you may be looking at a re-tempered blade.

 

The next blade 2380 is signed Rai Kunihisa - the signature is badly cut, is in the wrong spot on the tang and is no match for this smith - the shape and finish of the tang are wrong - I would say the shape also suggests later manufacture -  the hamon we can see looks like it was enhanced by some kind of acid application and I suspect is not a good match for Rai work.

 

2381 holds the most hope - the saya says Kanefusa but it is of course osuriage mumei - to my knowledge in its pristine shape this would have been an exceptionally long blade for this smith given his timeframe - the hada and hamon suggest that this blade can be polished and may make a fine restoration - barring any flaws we cannot see in the photos at hand - the hamon that we can see does not have the signature look of Kanefusa work but if this were an early work the trademark pattern may not have taken hold yet and this could be a piece inspired by earlier artists in his lineage.

 

Whats curious is that they have all found their way into shirasaya but are in the worst possible state of preservation - they look more like they were sitting out in the sun, dirt and the dust rather than being stored away after a proper polish - would be interested to learn how they came to be this way.

 

What you have is not garbage but not treasure either - if there is hope for these they need to be under the nose of someone with the knowledge to see what they were and what they can become...

 

my humble opinion only,

-t

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3 hours ago, Toryu2020 said:

Eve et al -

Different Tom here - proper judgement of a blade needs to be done in hand - that being said there are lots of folks that will try to tell you what you have from photographs - it really is an exercise in futility - but  there are some things that can be said with certainty based on your photos.

 

So here I go out on the limb. Based on what we can see - and I preface all of these comments with this - your first blade is signed Nobukuni but it is badly executed most likely a later addition most likely gimei - the shape and finish of the nakago are wrong for the smith and his time period - what we see of hamon and hada are not good - if it has hamon it looks to be saiha to my eye - combined with the deep curve you may be looking at a re-tempered blade.

 

The next blade 2380 is signed Rai Kunihisa - the signature is badly cut, is in the wrong spot on the tang and is no match for this smith - the shape and finish of the tang are wrong - I would say the shape also suggests later manufacture -  the hamon we can see looks like it was enhanced by some kind of acid application and I suspect is not a good match for Rai work.

 

2381 holds the most hope - the saya says Kanefusa but it is of course osuriage mumei - to my knowledge in its pristine shape this would have been an exceptionally long blade for this smith given his timeframe - the hada and hamon suggest that this blade can be polished and may make a fine restoration - barring any flaws we cannot see in the photos at hand - the hamon that we can see does not have the signature look of Kanefusa work but if this were an early work the trademark pattern may not have taken hold yet and this could be a piece inspired by earlier artists in his lineage.

 

Whats curious is that they have all found their way into shirasaya but are in the worst possible state of preservation - they look more like they were sitting out in the sun, dirt and the dust rather than being stored away after a proper polish - would be interested to learn how they came to be this way.

 

What you have is not garbage but not treasure either - if there is hope for these they need to be under the nose of someone with the knowledge to see what they were and what they can become...

 

my humble opinion only,

-t

 

Thank you so much - so helpful!

 

They are indeed in a poor state and we do feel bad about it. We came into this museum recently. It's almost entirely volunteer staffed and has been since its inception in the 1930s. Unfortunately there just hasn't been money or knowledge - which is not to say there hasn't been care, it just hasn't always been the right kind. Also, not knowing a lot about nihonto, coupled with the time these were donated to the museum (30/40s) meant that nobody would have thought to restore them or clean them adequately in the first place. So they've been a bit neglected for sure. Someone had smeared them liberally with oil at some time but that has stained them, almost like watermarks. We can recommend a course of action for preservation and hopefully the museum can show them some love as the budget allows.

 

I really appreciate your insight on these. We had deduced that the Rai Kunihisa was likely gimei. We have exactly one Japanese lady who lives in town so that gave us a start in our research. The photos I have put up do show the blade in the worst possible light too. 

 

2379 was interesting and sent us down a rabbit hole - so much information on the saya but none matching the blade. Thanks for your info about the shape and hamon etc.

 

2381 - Interesting! Because of the plain nakago we had kind of guessed that it wasn't too interesting or old - shows  how much we have to learn! Do you think it was made recently or is older?

 

 

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The shape of the blade and the condition of the nakago suggest earlier manufacture - now was it made in the mid-1500s the time of Kanefusa? or was it made in the Edo period and then altered to appear older? To answer that you need hands on examination - me feeling is it is older and this is the one you should be considering to restore...

-t

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