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Tokubetsu Kincho Nintei-sho papers


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I'm not sure which section to post this so please move if required

 

Tokubetsu Kincho Nintei-sho papers commonly called ‘green’ papers and Tokubetsu Kincho means especially precious. 
These papers pre-date the Jūyō papers we all understand
I've often been advised that these old type papers are NO papers but I'm sure that is relevant to swords but not tosogu
I have two 'green' papered tsuba and I wonder if the NMB members think they have worth and there standing against Jūyō papers.
When I last spoke to Robert Haynes he said he loved the older papers are the judging board were so much more skilled in the earlier years and to be fair we have seen some attributions that don't make sense. I have recent papers for a set of tsuba as Owari Daisho and Haynes said they are at least 150 years apart and one is good and the other is not so good.
Papers and there merits have been discussed many times so if we can concentrate on the green vs Jūyō papers

Ill be interested in your comments

 

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Hi Grev,

 

I thought that the problem with the old NBTHK (green) papers was that there were some local NBTHK shinsa teams who were taking back-handers to provide favourable outcomes. 

 

If that was the case (and I'm only going by what I read about "the scandal", I might be wrong) then I'd assume that all the papers from those times would be subject to the same uncertainty, hence the NHTHK changing the system completely for both swords and tosogu, to re-establish trust in the system.

 

Like I said, I might have got the wrong end of the stick though! :)

 

Cheers,

 

Jon

 

 

 

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Hi Jon,

You're correct. I don’t think that there’s any reason to distrust papers for tosogu or those issued by the head office.
 

I may have it wrong but think Grev is asking whether there’s any disparity in the standard between the Tokubetsu Kicho papers and Juyo Token i.e. would an item with the older papers pass JT? 

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John

That has re-iterated my thinking

I believe the papers associated in the scandal were for sword only as the profit margins could be astronomical whereas much more difficult with tosogu

Some of the attributions for the Birmingham tsuba are just silly, just an observation for people thinking museums are perfect. But I digress

 

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If I understand the question: Tokubetsu Kicho are not on the same level as Juyo. I came to Nihonto about the time that the NBTHK made the change from Kicho and above to Hozon and above. At that time I was told that they were also upping their expectations to qualify for a paper: Hozon would roughly equal the old Tokubetsu Kicho and Tokubetsu Hozon would roughly equal the old Koshu Tokubetsu Kicho.

Not all of the old papers are suspect. An old green paper to Muramasa or Masamune on a sword or Nobuiye or Kaneiye on a tsuba, say, are to be eyed suspiciously but, for less important artists, not so much.

Grey

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Interesting points Grey

My take on this is that Tokubetsu Kicho was the highest award so some would be Juyo and some not so if you have green papers it may get the higher award

Just observations I'm not bigging up my papers with an realistic expectation as neither of mine would get Juyo

This post was for opinions so I'll just wait for more comments

 

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Hi Grev,

There was the Koshu Tokubetsu Kicho paper (see below) that was a higher paper than Tokubetsu Kicho. Also, the 1st Juyo papers date to 1958, well before Kicho and higher were replaced by Hozon and higher.

Grey

koshu tokubetsu kicho.jpg

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That's a real help. I've abridged this link as below and I'd like o know if I've made any mistakes

 

Kicho Ninteisho

Started on 12/09/1948 until May 1982 (Showa 57. Kicho means "precious" and the literal meaning of nintei-sho is recognition in the form of calligraphy. This type of NBTHK paper is commonly called a "white paper". This was the only rank issued until 1950. After that, it was issued as the rank below Tokubetsu Kicho.

 

Tokubetsu Kicho Nintei-sho

Started in March 1950 until May of 1982. Tokubetsu Kicho means "especially precious". It was the top rank until the Juyo paper was introduced in May of 1958. This type of NBTHK paper is commonly called a "green paper". The green paper and the round seal bearing the kanji of "Toku" was first used on Tokubetsu Kicho papers starting in July 1950 until 1982. On September 1st, 1973 the Koshu Tokubetsu Kicho paper (blue paper) was introduced and was issued as a rank above Tokubetsu Kicho but below Juyo.

 

Koshu Tokubetsu Kicho Ninteisho

Started in Sept 1973 up May of 1982. Koshu Tokubetsu Kicho can be translated to mean "superior of the especially precious". This type of NBTHK origami is commonly called a "blue paper". It was the highest rank below Juyo throughout its use.

 

The Current Shinsa System

The current shinsa system began in September 1982 and is in use to this day. The ranking is shown below.

 

Hozon Kanteisho: Lowest level

 

Tokubetsu Hozon Kanteisho: One level above Hozon Kanteisho

 

Juyo Token Shiteisho: One level above Tokubetsu Hozon Kanteisho and ntroduced in May 1958. Juyo means "important".

 

Tokubetsu Juyo Token Shiteisho: The highest level and tarted in December 1971

Tokubetsu Juyo means "especially important".

 

 

One last question

What is the requirement to obtain the Hozon Kanteisho (minimum papers). My guess is that it is authentic but just run of the mill like some of lesser quality Kinai tsuba

 

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There's some more info on the same site here: http://www.nihontocraft.com/Nihonto_Shinsa_Standards.html 

This is only for swords, but it does give a reference for Tosogu at the head of the page:

 

The following is a translation of the NBTHK's Shinsa standards. This was published in March of 2006 (issue # 590) in Token Bijutsu, the official publication of the NBTHK. The original document consists of three parts. Token, toso and tosogu.

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Nice links and between the two I've combined them into a Tosogu listing

I've left the sword info at the end for those interested

 

 

Kicho Ninteisho

Started on 12/09/1948 until May 1982 (Showa 57. Kicho means "precious" and the literal meaning of nintei-sho is recognition in the form of calligraphy. This type of NBTHK paper is commonly called a "white paper". This was the only rank issued until 1950. After that, it was issued as the rank below Tokubetsu Kicho.

 

Tokubetsu Kicho Nintei-sho

Started in March 1950 until May of 1982. Tokubetsu Kicho means "especially precious". It was the top rank until the Juyo paper was introduced in May of 1958. This type of NBTHK paper is commonly called a "green paper". The green paper and the round seal bearing the kanji of "Toku" was first used on Tokubetsu Kicho papers starting in July 1950 until 1982. On September 1st, 1973, the Koshu Tokubetsu Kicho paper (blue paper) was introduced and was issued as a rank above Tokubetsu Kicho but below Juyo.

 

Koshu Tokubetsu Kicho Ninteisho

Started in Sept 1973 up May of 1982. Koshu Tokubetsu Kicho can be translated to mean "superior of the especially precious". This type of NBTHK origami is commonly called a "blue paper". It was the highest rank below Juyo throughout its use.

 

The Current Shinsa System

The current shinsa system began in September 1982 and is in use to this day. The ranking is shown below.

 

Hozon Kanteisho: Lowest level

1) Fittings up to the Edo period with correct mei, or mumei fittings on which the time period and school can be identified, and which are of a certain artistic quality may receive Hozon.

2) Fittings that meet the criteria given above can receive Hozon paper even if they show some wear or are slightly damaged, as long as those may be permissible in their appreciation.

3) Repair is permissible unless it significantly impairs the beauty of the fitting.

4) Fittings made in Meiji times and later which are of good quality and condition.

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

6) Contemporary cast fittings will be rejected.

7) Works of iron that show a minor fire damage or a slightly damaged patina can receive Hozon if these damages do not significantly impair the aesthetic quality of the piece.

8} Fittings are put to "reservation" (horyu) if a decision could not easily be made on the authenticity of the mei. This also applies to mumei fittings in which an attribution is difficult to make.

9) Cast fittings made in Meiji times and later will be rejected.

10) Foreign made fittings cannot be submitted to Shinsa.

 

Tokubetsu Hozon Kanteisho: One level above Hozon Kanteisho

Fittings with Hozon papers can receive Tokubetsu Hozon if one of the following points is true:

1) Fittings with good workmanship and state of preservation.

2) Fittings with excellent workmanship and which are in terms of signature and/or workmanship valuable references.

3) Fittings of all periods by not famous artists can receive Tokubetsu Hozon if they can be regarded as among the very best works of the maker and if they are of a certain overall aesthetic quality.

4) Fittings which reflect a preservation of the craft, are extremely well made, and are of a certain overall aesthetic quality.

Fittings with Hozon papers cannot receive Tokubetsu Hozon if one of the following points is true:

1) Either zaimei or mumei fittings which show significant repair or remodelling.

2) If they are top grade kinko works but whose surface, motif areas or coloration is so much polished down that the characteristics of age can no longer be judged.

3) If they are of a good quality but the mei is no longer decipherable.

 

Juyo Token Shiteisho: One level above Tokubetsu Hozon Kanteisho and introduced in May 1958. Juyo means "important".

Fittings with Tokubetsu Hozon papersmay receive Juyo if one of the following points is true:

1. If of extremely high quality workmanship, of a very high artistic value, and judged as close to Juyo Bijutsuhin.

2. Fittings from all periods with fittings by not famous artists may receive Juyo if these fittings can be regarded as among the very best works of the maker and if they are of an extremely high artistic value.

 

Tokubetsu Juyo Token Shiteisho: The highest level and tarted in December 1971

Tokubetsu Juyo means "especially important".

Fittings with Juyo Tosogu papers may receive Tokubetsu Juyo if one of the following points is true:

1. Fittings of excellent quality and superior condition may receive Tokubetsu Juyo if their value is extremely high as art and reference work for our country.

2. Fittings may receive Tokubetsu Juyo if they are judged as the same as the top level Juyo Bijutsuhin or conceivable as equivalent value as Juyo Bunkazai.

 

Common matters for all categories of papers

1) If a kizu or other fault or weakness is discovered during Shinsa which is detrimental to the appreciation, an item may not pass.

2) Works of living artists cannot be submitted for Shinsa.

3) In the case items are submitted with older or lower papers and do not pass an initial or higher Shinsa respectively, they are returned with the remark "genjo" ("returned as submitted")

NBTHK Shinsa Standards – Published March of 2006 in the Token Bijutsu, he official publication of the NBTHK.

The original document consists of three parts. Token, toso and tosogu. The translation below is of the Sword section only.

 

Hozon Token

 

1)  Edo and earlier blades with correct mei, or mumei blades on which the time period, kuni and group can be identified, may receive Hozon paper.

 

2)  Blades that meet the criteria given above can receive Hozon paper even if they are slightly tired or have kizu, as long as those may be permissible in their appreciation.

 

3)  For Nambokucho and earlier zaimei blades by famous smiths, re-temper can be permissible if the blade is valuable as a reference, and if the jiha and nakago are sufficiently well preserved. However, this has to be documented in the paper.

 

4)  Repair on jiha is permissible, unless it significantly impairs the beauty of the blade.

 

5)  Blades made in Meiji and Taisho periods, and those by recently deceased smiths, can receive Hozon paper only when the blade is well made, zaimei and has a ubu-nakago.

 

6)  Blades are put to "reservation" if a decision could not easily be made on the authenticity of the mei. This also applies to mumei blades in which an attribution is difficult to make.

 

7)  Blades with hagiri may not receive Hozon paper.

 

Tokubetsu Hozon Token

 

1)  Blades with Tokubetsu Kicho, Koshu Tokubetsu Kicho or Hozon papers with good workmanship and state of preservation can receive Tokubetsu Hozon paper, except for the following:

 

a. Either zaimei or mumei blades may not receive Tokubetsu Hozon paper if they are significantly tired, have kizu or repair which impairs beauty of the blade.

 

b. Re-tempered blades may not receive Tokubetsu Hozon paper unless they were made by famous smiths and their values are extremely high as a reference.

 

c. Edo period works by less famous smiths with mid or lower grade workmanship may not receive Tokubetsu Hozon paper.

 

d. Muromachi and Edo period mumei blades may not receive a Tokubetsu Hozon paper, as a rule. However, if a blade shows good workmanship, attributable to a famous smith, having ubu-nakago, and in good preservation, it may receive Tokubetsu Hozon paper.

 

e. Suriage cut-mei Edo blades may not receive Tokubetsu Hozon paper.

 

f. Blades with hagiri may not receive Tokubetsu Hozon paper.

 

* Among blades that received a Hozon paper in item 5 above, that may be considered the maker's best quality, these may receive a Tokubetsu Hozon paper.

 

Juyo Token

 

1)  Blades made in a period from Heian to Edo, having Tokubetsu Kicho, Koshu Tokubetsu Kicho, Hozon or Tokubetsu Hozon papers, of extremely high quality workmanship and state of preservation, and judged as close to Juyo Bijutsuhin, may receive Juyo Token paper.

 

2)  Blades that meet the criteria given above and made in or before Nambokucho may receive Juyo Token paper even if they are mumei. Blades made in Muromachi and Edo periods, as a rule, have to be ubu and zaimei to receive Juyo Token paper.

 

Tokubetsu Juyo Token

Among Juyo Token, the ones of excellent quality and superior condition, judged as the same as the top level Juyo Bijutsuhin, or conceivable as equivalent value as Juyo Bunkazai, may receive Tokubetsu Juyo Token paper.

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I know some people might have very negative view on the old papers while others will have quite positive. I'd be somewhere in the middle grounds, I feel they are a one valid opinion given to the item.

 

As far as "Jūyō" quality goes, I'd wager most very high quality items with old papers residing in Japan would have been already converted to the new NBTHK system. That is just following what I feel as common sense. Of course there could be that 1 in 1000 item that still comes out every now and then. Outside of Japan I would have bit more relaxed view on items however note that it might be incredibly difficult to tell when the item has left Japan.

 

On sending tsuba and other fittings to modern NBTHK shinsa in Japan, note that current fee for Hozon is 17,000 yen (c.130€), and you'll need to add all the other expenses related to submission for that. I am not too well versed in tsuba market as I don't own single one nor look to buy one at the moment, however if I would be planning for an international submission of tsuba for shinsa, I would save it for good quality ones even at the basic Hozon level. If I would own a tsuba with green papers and it would be an ok one, I think I might not feel the need to send it for modern shinsa. Granted if I would be living in Japan I feel I might want multiple opinions from different organizations and people for my items, for learning and fun. I am just not a fan of sending expensive items internationally, and in modern day the costs are quite high (well tsuba can be shipped in smaller packages compared to swords :laughing:).

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What Jussi, you do not own a tsuba? But you are missing an extremely interesting area! Actually just the thing for you, because there is still so much to research in this area and so little is actually set in stone. ;-) :glee:

 

I am not at all surprised by so many different attributions, not even - I say - careful attributions. Often it only helps to research intensively yourself, to compare, to go into detail, to get opinions of other experienced to classify a piece for yourself.

 

Perhaps it is also related to the fact that the trend of recent years to provide as many swords as possible with papers transferred more and more to Tosogu, although the findings in this area are correspondingly less certain than with swords. But this is only my theory.

 

Also, I think that tokubetsu hozon is still somewhat special in tosogu, although many tsuba would have the potential for it. But the market is simply much more sensitive here than with swords. It is much easier to spend 3,5K for a fairly mediocre quality for a sword (just because it is a sword) than the same amount for a very good quality tsuba.

Of course, the chance to sell the sword for 3.5K is much higher than to find a collector who is looking for exactly this tsuba, appreciates the quality and pays the price without hesitation. 

 

But everyone has his reasons for what he does. Let's see where the journey at Tosogu goes in the future....

 

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