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Cheap Sekibun or Big Bellyflop?


Surfson
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Just saw this sell this AM on Yahoo.jp for less than $550.   My study of the mei was equivocal, just using Markus Sesko's book on sword fitting signatures.  I did happen to stumble across an example of nearly the same tsuba in a book on 100 tsuba that is nearly identical (see the next post).  Would love to hear opinions about whether this tsuba is shoshin or not.  It has no papers.  My take is that if it is gimei, the maker must have had a tsuba like the one on the next post right nearby since the two are nearly identical in every aspect.  

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Here are photos from the book (sorry about the resolution - as it happens, I have the book and the tsuba in the book and the one above are identical, other than the use of gold for the whiskers of the dragon).  

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That is an oft asked question Dave, but sometimes dealers don't want to spend the money or the time to put a sword or tosogu through shinsa.  I tried to judge it by the work, as well as the mei and agree with you that it looks ok.  I'm hoping that there is a Sekibun aficionado on the NMB.

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Not my area of interest by any means, however the mei on the auction example appears to be a bit ham fisted at first glance, and almost looks like it's stamped vs cut.  There are a lot of intersections in that signature and areas that should show overlap from individual strokes appear to be one continuous line. Also, the whole tsuba is the same tone with minimal variation anywhere, wouldn't be surprised if it's a copy of the real one referenced. The design is identical but the depth, crispness etc is off IMO.

 

Edit: yeah I think it's a copy, even the "dent" at the bottom of the seppa dai is carried over.

 

yurakusai_sekibun3.jpg

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I have found a few variances from the one in the book, so they are not identical, but nearly so.  The photography is very different, and it is difficult to tell about patina, so I have looked primarily at the carving.  I doubt the mei was stamped, and couldn't find any evidence that the one on Yahoo was cast.

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Ok nearly so, but still in a way that suggests duplication to my eye and not workmanship similarities. 

 

Counterfeiters are getting pretty good, but I think some of the details here are very muddy compared to the original and that sure looks like a casting bubble at 2 o'clock near the mei.  Also, in addition to the seppa dai "dent" at 5:30 on the ura, there's a mark at 11 of the same side that's on both as well.  The overall form is the same (including the angle of the seppa dai), where the rim ebbs and flows is the same... Idk, looks like a copy to me :dunno:

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Well, I see that some of you are voting Big Belly Flop!   Well, I will have a close look at it once it's in hand.  If I still can't tell, I will have Miyano's team from NTHK NPO look at it next time they are in town.  If they say it's a fake, then maybe it's time for a new hobby.

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The dimple at the bottom of the seppa-dai would suggest that at the very least three are copies [more likely all four]. Why would you make a 'mistake' four times?

Other details are not the same, such as the part of the signature immediately above - would this suggest the signatures were added after the casting or just the die wearing out?

image.thumb.png.da5749408b48ae3cdd52922859939d48.png

 

Bob, it is nearly impossible to tell authentic pieces in isolation, some copies are just so good. It is only when they start to multiply that they start to stand out - a good visual search of similar pieces will often lead you in the right direction but finding them can take a long time.

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I sincerely wish you the best, I hope it works out.

I actually had my eye on that auction as well, so it looked good to me too at first.

 

It's just now, in diving into the details of the images that suggest some evidence of casting. And then seeing the other one from Bonham's, with the same uniform color, same indent at the bottom of the seppa dai, adds more weight to the case.

The Bonham's one also has a wobbly, irregular surface on the seppa dai on the ura side... a pretty sure sign that one was cast.

Maybe it's a "shiiremono"? I guess the question then becomes who produced it (in-house or by some other group later on), and when (late Edo or modern)?

 

There really are some amazingly well done cast tsuba out there... and some pretty unscrupulous vendors, which makes for a wicked combination for all of us.

 

 

 

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37 minutes ago, Surfson said:

I'm not sure that is a dimple.  There are round dew drops found on other parts of the tsuba, especially on the back.

 

 

Not a dew drop IMO, those are very distinctly rendered on the omote.  Looks like it was a natural result of the seppa dai shaping on the original and has manifested in slightly varying forms on the cast copies. 

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Now I know how the German militaria dealers started to feel towards the end. :(
(By end..I mean the time where the average person couldn't actively collect properly anymore due to the fact that the copies have become so good, only the top experts can tell them apart. )

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When I saw the one that Glen posted from Bonham's, I became convinced that it is likely a copy.   I contacted Buyee to cancel the sale, but no such luck.  I will save it as a study piece, but be careful not to buy it when my post mortem auction happens!  

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Bob,

 

Did the seller actually state it was edo period/authentic in his writeup, or did he use the usual "I don't know what this is, do your own due diligence" verbage?  If its the former, you might be able to contact buyee, point out that the guy lie-er, was mistaken about its age/authenticity, and ask them to ask the seller to take it back (though that's a long shot unless they really buggered their listing).

 

Best,

rkg

(Richard George)

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IMO, shinsa for tsuba is very different from sword shinsa:

 

- Hozon: very easy if it is a genuine tsuba, (as for sword shinsa) no great interest, IMO, not worth the expense. If it is for a school attribution, just ask NMB specialists.

- Tokubetsu Hozon: very very difficult, a mei is really a plus. Have a look at the price of TH tsuba

- juyo: often kinko by major schools and artists. Price equal to some juyo swords

 

There is a huge gap between Hozon and TH, which does not exist in sword shinsa and between TH and Juyo an abym.

 

has anyone the stats of tosogu shinsa, It can be very interesting.

 

Of course, it is only my opinion and I don’t know anything about tsuba.

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Went back for a look, and Edo period was not stated.  The mei was mentioned in parentheses.  No worries, it's not the only clunker I have bought among swords and fittings.  I'm hoping that when it comes it will have the appearance of a hand made piece.  

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By the way Bob, I was just reading the list of criteria for NBTHK shinsa rankings and it turns out that Edo period cast tsuba CAN get Hozon papers.

 

"-Cast fittings that are of high class and worthy being appreciated can receive Hozon if they do not date later than Edo."

"-Contemporary cast fittings will be rejected."

 

So Edo period period cast fittings are still considered worthy to earn a possible Hozon ranking.

 

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Thanks for stepping up Dale :thumbsup:

Didn't mean to leave you hanging Bob, but had a busy day.

 

At least you could post a link to Bonham's if you choose to resell yours. Might even make a hefty profit, regardless of when or how it was made!

 

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Thanks Dale and Glen.  It's interesting that the one in Bonhams had NBTHK hozon papers.  I am still planning to submit mine to NTHK-NPO when they next come to town.  As I mentioned, my hope is that it is not cast.  I would be curious to see the papers on the Bonhams one, whether they mention how it is made or not.  

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