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Hi, I am new to this site. My name is Mark and am a Nihonto collector from Australia. As my first posting I'd like to share some pics from a display of swords at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. We, a small band of collectors have had a continuous display of swords in the gallery since about 2001.

 

For those coming over for the NTHK shinsa and sword show in March you can come and visit the display which is not far from the shinsa venue. In terms of this country, this gallery is probably the best and we are very pleased to present swords as Art to the populace. This display is made possible by Mr Colin McDonald who through is tireless efforts has secured a world class display over a long period of time. He makes a regular journey from Melbourne to Sydney to change the display.

 

The minimum standard of swords on display is that they must be polished and have at least hozon papers. So put the word out and encourage those coming from overseas and indeed domestically to go and have a look....... You can easily spend a couple of

hours in the gallery.

 

I have added a pic of the display as it is now. The kodachi is silver mounted and dates to the meiji period with chrysanthenum theme. It has NBTHK tokubetsu kicho papers that were issued very early on when the Japanese started issuing papers to mounts. It is paper number 9. The blade with the mount has hozon papers to Uda school and is probably end of Kamakura period. Interestingly, this mount is made for a boy. What a special child he must have been.

 

Hats off to Colin for his efforts with the display. If there is enough interest I may be able to post a few more pics. Regards Mark.

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You guys and Colin are to be congratulated for your efforts. Looks like a great display, and I am sure will have plenty of visitors. Also good to see the museum co-operating with the collectors like this.

Thanks for sharing.

 

Brian

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Thanks Brian, let me know when I have taken up too much space on your site. This display is something that has taken Colin a long time achieve. A lot of trips to Japan, meeting the right people, and absolutely presenting them as 'art', not weapons. We hope to raise the awareness of these pieces to high 'art' levels. Not an easy task but in this case Colin succeeded. I sat looking at the display for a long time, watching reactions of viewers. The sword display seemed to be the most popular amongst old and young. Maybe it will inspire some new collectors to jump on the Nihonto Art wagon, and in the long run encourage other galleries to follow.

 

The next sword pictured is a Mihara School Tachi. Nagasa 74cm, sori about 4cm. Uba nakago. Tobubetsu Hozon papers and Tanobe sayagaki placing the sword in the Chu-Mihara group, end of Nanbokucho/start muramachi period. Interesting to see such a long sword, ubu, one hole tang from this period.

 

Sorry about the quality of the pics. Taking through glass in dim lighting is not easy with a small digital camera. The display is in the Asian Wing and there are many art pieces sensitive to light. It does however, when viewing the swords in person, make them look absolutely 1st class.

 

Colin has custom hand made every sword and kodogu stand for each individual item to give him the exact proportions and perspective that he wants to achieve. When he goes to change over the display, he will take custom make stands with him. How is that for dedication?

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Hi all, the next sword is a wakizashi by Kashu Iyehira, circa 1650 with a gold inlay cutting test and NBTHK hozon papers, a very nice sword indeed.

 

For the Kodogu collectors the Kozuka 2nd from right is an 'O-kozuka' and you can see that very same piece in the Naunton Collection, item 3898. Sorry I don't have a Jpeg of it for those without the reference book.

 

Regards Mark

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We have also done some displays in large country city art galleries. In 2006 we did displays in Benalla and Hamilton Art

galleries. This photo is part of the display in Benalla. It is great that we could present swords as art to country districts as well. The displays have been very popular and well received. Art lovers are interested to know why swords are 'art'. Lectures have been presented on occasions explaining this very topic (not by me). Mark

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi, the next sword is an amazing cloisonne or shippo mounted sword. There is a great story to how this came to be in this country. An Australian Port Pilot (navigator) was presented with the sword by the Japanese Government for assistance rendered to the Japanese Navy in Sydney Habour in the early 1900's when they first visited this country. It is an absolutely magnificent mount decorated with the Imperial Kiku mon. This is not a touristy shippo mount that appears from time to time, it is 1st class. The blade is by Echizen Kanenaka, circa 1680. Hozon token. Mark

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Hi Mark,

 

Thanks for posting all of this, great timing with the Sydney Token Kai coming up as well. I'm in Northern NSW and am coming down for the Shinsa and now, also a visit to the gallery. I usually avoid cities like the plague having done my time in them but make exceptions for nihonto. Well done to Colin for the dedication and effort, yourself for getting the word out and finally the Museum for letting a fine art be displayed.

 

Cheers,

 

Craig

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Hi Craig, thanks everyone for the compliments. I will give you a 'heads up' about the display. Prior to the NTHK Token Kai the display will change and there will be something very special added. It will be worth the visit alone to see this one sword. More about that later. Here is a silver tanto koshirae with Chrysanthemum design. Did I spell that correctly? A very nice edo period mount. Mark

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For those people who are traveling to Australia for the Sydney Token Kai and NTHK shinsa, I have news. On Friday the 20th of March, at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, in front of the sword display, a talk will be given on Japanese Swords and their fittings. This will explain why they are viewed as art. The talk will be given by Colin McDonald.

 

The time of the talk has not been decided but it will not impact on the Token Kai. The Art Gallery is not far from the shinsa venue and will be a nice starter for those interested. Entry to the gallery is free. I will keep you advised of a time when it is known. Mark

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  • 1 month later...
Hi, this sword is by Masataka [...] mounts are quite spectacular in vegetable and foliage design, fabulous to look at.

 

Dear Mark, have you got other pictures of that koshirae? If too big, and if I am not asking too much, can you send it to me via email? :thanks:

 

Kind Regards

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Hi Jean, sorry for the late reply. I have been trying to find a pic for you. Interestingly this sword has a Bizen influenced hamon with much sunagashi. Akasaka Senjuin school circa 1450, hozon token. This sword so nice to study in detail. Sorry the photo is pathetic, I will ask the owner if he has some. Kind Regards Mark

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Mark, Thanks a lot for the picture. I was mislead because you wrote at first a "Senjuin Koto Katana" (Yamato), in fact, it was an Akasaka Senjuin Mino katana. If you can get a picture, it will be a pleasure. I seem to see some togari. :)

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The Kuniyasu is Juyo token, this sword caused a lot of excitement in Japan and as a result was published in the NBTHK Journal. This sword was being used by the returned serviceman to cut the grass and bush on his land. Yes........true story. A great find (not by me) and an amazing sword to study. The Nakago is perfect. Here are the details. The 44th Juyo shinsa Heisei 10th year (1998) Published NBTHK monthly magazine Heisei 11th year (1999 6th month) no 509 pages 17-18.

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The Juyo Token Kuniyasa was found in 'gunto' mounts, although the saya is from the edo period. Almost all the swords you see in this display have been found here in Australia, and sent to Japan for restoration. This is what we aim to achieve, to find 'art' swords here and have them restored to the highest level. To have them beautifully displayed is the pinnacle for me personally and the fact that a Juyo Token was found(not by me) in the rough should be encouragement for everyone.

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