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Newbie asking for opinion on Nanbokucho sword's price

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Hello dear community,


I'm quite new in the Nihonto world as well as on this forum but I've already seen some nice threads and what I believe are good advice on here.

If I create this topic today, it is because after a good amount of research, I'm planning on buying my first Japanese sword. I'm lucky enough to afford it but it is not cheap for sure. That is why I would be glad to get opinions from more experienced people :)


The Nihonto we're talking about is Mumei from Nanbokucho period (judged as Kozori). I really love its appearance, that's the reason why it got me so interested in the first place.

The blade has a NBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon Token and its koshirae has a NBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon Tosogu.

From what I've lerned, during this era blades were Tachi. However, this one is 70cm long which seems rather short for a Tachi. So I'm wondering if this sword could be a shortened Tachi (maybe explaining the disappearance of the blacksmith's signature) or if swords of this length were common during this period.

I'm also wondering if this gorgeous piece is worth 11 000€. As I said, I'm lucky enough to afford it and I'm aware of the privilege it is to purchase such a work of art, especially for a first Nihonto. But I would rather be sure not to be making a "bad deal".

Would you consider that price for a Mumei blade from Nanbokucho period and koshirae with such certifications to be in the correct range ?


Thank you for having reading me.






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There are many examples in your price range. I personally don't give such broad answer but your budget is great, the Kozori group was also great. The information you've provided is a bit limited and so are the photos. More info/pictures could give a better idea of the piece although it is hard to make judgment based on photos only



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Thank you all for your answers :)


Here are some more infos and pictures :

Habaki: Kin kise single habaki.
The blade was polished.

Blade length :70.1 cm or 27.6 inches.
Sori : 2.0cm or 0,79 inches.
Mekugi : 2
Width at the hamachi : 3.08cm or 1.213 inches.
Width at the Kissaki : 2,08cm or 0,82 inches.
Kasane : 0.6 cm or 0.24inches.
The weight of the sword is 670 grams
Era : Nanbokucho period: 1362.
Shap Taihai: O-suriage Mumei style is a work with a wide body, layered thickness, deep curvature, and a dignified appearance with a long tip.
Jigane :Koitame hada It becomes a fine ground iron that is well kneaded and packed.
Hamon :From Niedeki ,nioikuchi deep Gunome midare Hamachi to yokote.


About the Koshirae :

NBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon Tosogu
Saya :black roiro The pod is carved with leaves and painted with brown lacquer.
Tsuba : Signature: Yoshinori. On the Otafuku-shaped iron Tsuba, Kiri and phoenix are engraved and painted with gold.The other side is bare copper.
Fuchikashira: Kiku flower pattern is engraved on the Syakudo nanako plate, and the color painting is applied.
Menuki : Shakudo, farm was carved and painted with gold.





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$7000 for the Sword and $4000 for the Koshirae would be a good price if not for the Yen being at .66. 


The blade is O-suriage - No Mei. So It's give and take..  


Length is fine for a Nanbokucho period Tachi, Boshi is ok for web photos.







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In my opinion Kozori as a group is hard to judge as it is generally an outlier attribution. The history etc. of Kozori group is quite uncertain as well which smiths are seen as Kozori smiths (not fitting the other groups at the time). There are some wonderful items made by Kozori smiths but as Japanese "ranking system" is bit difficult to grasp but very high quality and mumei Kozori attribution rarely go hand in hand. As Kozori is lesser desirable group in eyes of high end collectors you can actually find signed works within a reasonable budget.


I do think the sword is reasonably good condition for mumei suriage sword around this time. The shape is nice although I personally would even prefer more massive shape. However looking at the signed tachi I have on record it seems Kozori tachi in general were more on the narrower side compared to many peers during that time. There is even an ubu mumei ōdachi at Futarasan-jinja that has been attributed towards Kozori and regardless of 98,2cm length it has narrow shape. Of course there can be bias in attributing suriage mumei and that might steer wide blades away from Kozori.


The koshirae is nice, however one thing to note is I don't think it was made for this particular sword. When you look at the close pictures of the tsuka, you can see there has been another round hole that has been plugged with circular piece of rayskin. I personally see that as the original hole for the sword this koshirae was originally made for. Japanese dealers often combine things to make them more marketable. I know many are 50/50 on this dealer, some like them a lot, some dislike. I am personally quite neutral. I must note that this koshirae fix was NOT made by the dealer that has the sword now. The same item has been with another dealer previously and it had the koshirae even back then. Having a nice koshirae and combining it with a nice blade probably adds more value to potential buyers. Of course you can see the exact opposite too where nice koshirae is stripped from a sword.


Here for reference I will link few Kozori tachi these are on the small side in general as it is bit common for Kozori tachi

The smith name is unlegible attributed as Kozori: https://toyuukai.jp/products/太刀-太刀銘-備州長船-小反り-保存刀剣鑑定書-tachi-bisyu-osafune-kozori-nbthk-hozon-品番-ka058

Dated 1391 (the smith mei most likely removed) attributed as Kozori work: https://www.Japanese...i-no-dachi-koshirae/

Mumei Kozori: https://www.e-sword....1410_1125syousai.htm

Mumei Kozori: https://ginza.choshu...ale/gj/h30/06/13.htm


Then it gets even more interesting with signed works by Kozori smiths and their reference items...


I feel the price is reasonable and if it feels good for you then it might be good one for you. However in the 1,5M - 2M yen range there starts to be lots and lots of very interesting items depending on what kind of items you are looking for.

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1. It would be better to just include the link to aoi art (its their images) which would have the original Japanese price its sold for.

2. Kozori can be junk and can be great, though in the latter case its likely attributed to Masamitsu or some other personal name. The blade has to be judged individually and Aoi Art's technique does not work great with utsuri etc. except for the images taken at an angle - the ones you don't provide. With a standard camera on top, light on a side setup nioi choji comes out as a shadow and utsuri is usually not seen at all.

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Thank you for all your replies, time and analysis. It's great to learn from you.

Indeed, posting the link was a better idea.

I'll take some more time to consider this purchase and keep looking in case I find some other Nihonto I like.



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