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16 hours ago, French nihonto said:

In any case very nice Koshirae.

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Definitely, this is very high-end formal Daimyo koshirae. As to the sword, the photos are not detailed enough to say anything.  But I think I heard that it was suriage (in response to Jacques valid comment)

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It is not the formal koshirae to attend to Court. The Kashira should be in horn, the tsuba is generally in plain shakudo. I have seen a daisho koshirae like this (a court one) for sale a few years ago at Ginza Choshuya for 600 000¥.. Black roiro lacquer.

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Apologies, Jean, I meant to say for visiting the shogun / Edo castle as opposed to the Imperial court (for which you are right- various tachi were prescribed, such as kazari, hoso-, efu- and itomaki depending on one’s rank).

 

So, given the obviously short length, this would have been classified as wakizashi mostly (even though some might have honoured it standalone as chisagatana possibly) and therefore its current koshirae is the formal banzashi koshirae. 
 

I think the kashira (and its knot over it) is very similar to the enclosed excerpt from Markus Sesko’s Koshirae Taikan and gold mon are allowed in the formal koshirae .

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Here is  the response to a letter of inquiry that I sent in 2019:

***

Hello,
 
Thank you for your interest in the collections at the Truman Presidential Library and Museum.  We do have a Masamune sword in the collection.  Unfortunately, it is not currently on display.  
 
You can schedule a viewing of the sword between 9am and 3pm Monday-Friday.   Please give me two days notice and let me know how many people will be in your party.  I'm afraid you will not be allowed to touch the sword.
 
Attached below is some information you might find interesting about the sword in the Library's museum collection.
 
Kind regards,
 
John Miller
Museum Registrar
Harry S. Truman Presidential Library
500 W. US Highway 24
Independence, MO 64050-1798
816-268-8204
 
***
 
 
Dan K
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according to that video, and various newspaper articles, jewel encrusted swords from Saudi Arabia were stolen. Gifts from the Saudi crown prince. 

 

Nothing mentioned about a Japanese sword. I would assume the Masamune sword was not on display. 

 

This article does give some detail on the Koshirae of the Masamune sword and a gold carved authentication. 

 

https://fox4kc.com/news/offbeat/the-case-of-the-missing-swords-from-the-harry-s-truman-presidential-library-museum/

 

Chris

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A Mr John Miller was kind enough to respond to my inquiry.

 recived this just now. More to come when they open back up, he promised a nakago shot.

 

 

 

Photograph and Digital Image © Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum

 

Object Name: Sword

Classification: T & E for Science and Technology-Armament - Edged

Maker: Masamune

Date Label: circa 1291

Medium: (a-d) hand wrought steel; bronze; gold; lacquered wood; cloth (e) wood

Description: (a-b) Japanese short sword (wakizashi) made by Masamune of Kamakura circa 1291 A.D. Blade is in formal mounts with a simple, black lacquered scabbard (saya). The tang has gold inlay characters which indicate the sword was authenticated by the Zoganmei of Kokyu (Tadaoki) circa 1774-1789. The hilt (tsuka) is wrapped with black braid and is fitted with matching "tsuba, fuchi, kashira and menuki" made by Kamada Joju in the late Edo period. The "kurigata" on the scabbard are by the same maker. These fittings have a deep black, pebbled finish and are decorated with gold chrysanthemums, each encircled by three butterflies. The (c) small utility knife (kozuka) and (d) skewer (kogai) carried in the scabbard are of equal quality with a brushed gold uttori surface and raised gold fans for design. Both are signed by Sonobe Yoshihide. The kozuka blade is signed by the early 19th century swordsmith, Sukemori, Bizen Osafune. (e) Stand for displaying sword and scabbard in a horizontal position is made of brown stained and lacquered wood. Note: See also (#163 a-b) "White Scabbard" specifically made for shipping the Masamune short sword (#568 a-d). This wooden shipping scabbard is described in the original correspondence sent by (donor information removed) to General Walter Krueger in 1946.

Dimensions: Overall: 20 3/4 in. (52.7 cm)

    Overall: 22 1/4 in. (56.5 cm)

    Overall: 29 in. (73.7 cm)

Historical Attributions: History: This sword was presented to President Truman on March 4, 1946 in the Oval Office of the White House by General Walter Krueger. Krueger served as Commanding General of the U.S. 6th Army occupation forces in Japan and originally received the sword as a gift from (donor information removed). The sword, recorded by the Himeji Occupational Force, was originally acquired from Viscount Matsudaira of Tokyo. Matsudaira was a descendant of Matsudaira Idzu-No-Kami, a Feudal Lord. The sword itself was made by Masamune of Kamakura circa 1291 A.D. It is a short sword (wakizashi) with an overall length of 29 inches in its scabbard (saya). The scabbard was restored by Kiyoharu Omino in 1975. The tsuba, fuchi, kashira, menuki and kurigata were made in the late Edo period by Kamada Joju. The kozuka and kogai are attributed to Sonobe Yoshihide and the kozuka blade is signed by Sukemori, Bizen Osafune (circa 1800).

 

 

 

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In case im not around later his contact info.

When they do open later i may plan a trip to the museum. I would welcome anyone in the area to accompany me but remember we can only look we can't touch. 

 

Good Evening Mr. Christianson,

 

Attached below is some of the information you asked about during our telephone conversation.  Once we get back into the Library on a regular basis, I can look into photographing the tang and getting a better image of the hamon.

 

Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

 

Kind regards,


John Miller

Museum Registrar

Harry S. Truman Presidential Library

500 W. US Highway 24

Independence, MO 64050-1798

816-268-8204

 

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8 hours ago, Stephen said:

The tang has gold inlay characters which indicate the sword was authenticated by the Zoganmei of Kokyu (Tadaoki) circa 1774. 
 

 

 

 

 

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Stephen,

Excellent endeavour and thank you! These photos are much better to grasp what this is about (even if we cannot see the detail of the sword). It looks like a great and precious package - the koshirae itself seems very elegant and precious and the sword per these records belonged to the renowned Matsudaira family. So, what a great provenance!
 

Brian commented about gimei; however, the sword is not signed with a Masamune mei chiselled by the smith, so cannot be gimei in that sense. It has an attribution mei by a Honami. Well, it is a different matter if the Honami over-appraised a nice Soshu blade (eg a Shizu etc) as a Masamune…Thorough, in-hand inspection could shed some light (eg, elegance and finesse of the hada, presence of chikei and type of chikei, the vibrancy of kinsuji, sunagashi and inazuma). 
 

For those who have a chance to view it in person and take a look at the nakago, below is an excerpt from M Sesko’s Honami book about this particular Honami, Kokyu; please take a look and compare the mei. 
 

Again - kudos to Stephen for digging deeper. 
 

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So, Brian, what I have heard from some experienced sources is that the NBTHK could still paper something but on the setsumei they will say they disagree with the attribution. 
 

For example, here below with the Sa blade the Honami attributed it to Sa, meaning O-Sa, but the NBTHK Shinsa in the setsumei said ‘definitely not O-Sa’ and gave it to Sue Sa. on the front, in brackets they say “後代”, which means later generation, ie Sue Sa. 

 

Below with the Masamune blade, they papered it but:

- on the front they say “to kinzogan mei ga aru”, which means “there is a gold inlay signature”, and generally this could be a red flag (NB this is an advanced topic as such a “to mei……” attribution might disappear from Juyo to TokuJu)

- on the back, in the setsumei they say it is definitely a high-end Soshu blade 

- they go as far as to say the blade looks more like Sadamune and could not go as far as attributing it to Masamune

 

Now, the above are rare instances but comprise an excellent learning resource. However, in most cases, especially if the Honami is very reputable, they will uphold it. 

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Stephen,

You did a great job of accessing a museum object and using it open an interesting discussion. Thanks! I do not think that I will even own a Masamune, but this thread has nicely shown how interpretations and opinions change.

Peter

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  • 1 month later...
On 8/8/2021 at 10:07 PM, ChrisW said:

Because it was given as a gift to Truman, I do believe.

The owner didn’t give it to Truman, it was a confiscated weapon. Some kiss-ass general presented to Truman. It should go back.

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I think it was gen. MacArthur who presented the sword to president Truman, and I also think it was as an official post war gift from the Japanese. In no way 100% sure on this info but a little voice in my head says so.

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1 hour ago, brucer said:

The owner didn’t give it to Truman, it was a confiscated weapon. Some kiss-ass general presented to Truman. It should go back.


I think you mean "Kick ass."   He rose from private all the way to general by his own doing.

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23 hours ago, ChrisW said:


I think you mean "Kick ass."   He rose from private all the way to general by his own doing.

Where I come from giving your boss gifts is kissing ass. They probably did more damage to the blade with their fingers all over it than it ever had since it was made.

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