Jump to content

NBTHK Attribution to unknown smith?


Recommended Posts

Another (probably) dim question!

 

Note: I'm not looking to buy, just trying to learn.

 

The sword in the following link is attributed to Yoshimasa (Den Senjuin)   -   吉正(伝千手院)

https://eirakudo.shop/token/tachikatana/detail/677449?ProductCategoryID=4&SubcategoryID=21&classby=Subcategory

 

I've read Darcy's comments about the "Den" attribution in this thread https://www.militaria.co.za/nmb/topic/14760-nidai-muramasa/page/2/?tab=comments#comment-155353  so I appreciate that the NBTHK panel may have been using the "wriggle room" described in Darcy's comments.

 

However, I can't find a Kamakura Senjuin smith called Yoshimasa in any of the usual references.  I appreciate that I may not have enough reference material (or not yet adept at using it)  so I might just be missing something.  However, if that's not the case, my question is:

 

Why would the NBTHK panel attribute a blade in this way? i.e. to a named smith, but one that wasn't recorded as being in the named school?

 

Any info gratefully received.

 

Thanks,

 

Jon

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello Jon,

The NBTHK aren't attributing it to Yoshimasa. Yoshimasa is the name already on the sword.

The NBTHK is attributing this smith/sword to the Senjūin group based on the attributes of the sword. 

 

Another way of reading the certificate is: "Great looking Senjūin sword. Never heard of this Yoshimasa guy, but by all the evidence in the sword in front of us, he was for sure a Senjūin smith".  

 

Does that make sense?

 

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I did not check any references myself, but with Senjuin unknown signatures are quite common. They did not have Edo period's genealogies to back them up, being an outsider group in a sense, while at the same time they are really old, with late Heian swords found here and there. So what would be a slam dank TJ with Bizen or Yamashiro becomes just a guaranteed TH with Senjuin, with not a lot of extra money from the fact that its signed. Funny how a low grade ko Hoki will set you back easily 3 mil yen, while very good Senjuin can be had for under 2.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As Kirill said above there are lot of very unknown smiths that are attributed belonging to Senjūin group.

 

One factor I believe could also be with known smiths in the lineages (this is purely personal speculation). However as you check lineages of other Yamato schools there is kind of pattern which I feel makes sense. Taima seems to be quite small lineage with few well known smiths listed, so it would be relatively difficult to fit an unknown smith to it. When you look at Tegai, it is somewhat filled with KaneX (包X) smiths. Then for Hōshō the worksmanship is usually separating them from others, and the smiths would be SadaX (貞X). For Shikkake I think only Norinaga is very famous, other smiths fall long behind but there are some that usually have either Nori (則) or Suke (助) in their name.

 

Then for Senjūin you'll get so many various smiths attributed towards I cannot give any logic like I feel like had for all of the other 4 groups. There are lots and lots of Senjūin smiths from whom I have so far found only single signed item after several years of searching. And other maybe not widely known fact is that Senjūin school spans from late Heian to Nanbokuchō. It can be quite tricky with mumei (or even signed as they are often rare and unknown) items. For example sometimes NBTHK has specified in Jūyō setsumei for mumei Senjūin item that it would be Early Kamakura, Late Kamakura, Nanbokuchō etc. However they do not always do that, so it can be in that case difficult to understand what they feel is the correct age estimate for that item.

 

Unfortunately this is the only item I have so far seen by this Yoshimasa (吉正) smith.

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Kirill & Jussi.

 

The only Yoshimasas of that era that I could find are Awataguchi, but the large number of "single example" senjuin smiths would explain the lack of info.  Even thought the school lasted so long, the number of "single example" smiths you've found is strange. 

 

I'm showing my inexperience/ignorance here, but are the attributes of the Senjuin school broad enough to be an "easy option" to attribute works to when the NBTHK panel are unsure?

 

Fascinating stuff! 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I forgot about the "Den" in the NBTHK's attribution, so my post needs some revision.

 

The attribution of "Den Senjūin" doesn't quite mean that the sword has all the attributes of a Senjūin sword. It means the sword has enough attributes to make a judgment of Senjūin plausible. So it isn't exactly a full-throated endorsement of Senjūin. I'm curious if there is a Senjūin attribution on the sayagaki, or on some other document that accompanied the sword. If so, the "Den" is likely a nod to that earlier attribution, as if to say; "We note that this has received an appraisal of Senjūin from an earlier scholar. We do not endorse or deny that appraisal - we just note it and acknowledge it as plausible". 

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the update Steve. 

 

There's no sayagaki for this sword and no other documentation shown in the advert, so I assume the shinsa panel decided on Senjuin going by what they saw in the blade itself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Senjuin attribution should not be an issue here. For pre-late Kamakura items there are no alternative Yamato mainline attribution, so one has to decide against Kyushu (Naminohira, Sairen) or ko-Hoki. This does not look Sairen, really a stretch for ko-Hoki, the hada with ayasugi-like masame can pass for Naminohira, but they tend to have much flatter ha. It feels like a typical mainline Yamato and thus Senjuin. However, Senjuin attributions are often considered somewhat weak simply because not much is known about the school and in many cases it serves as default attribution for Yamato without Senjuin-specific traits.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...