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Narrowing the field


Sabotage
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Not sure if this is quite the right place for this, but here goes. I know this mei reads Tamba no Kami Yoshimichi, but I also know there was something like 12 generations that signed blades like this, and two major locations, Osaka and Kyoto. Based on the style of the "kami" kanji it looks like Kyoto to me, but it has no kiku mon, and from what I gather, that was used on Kyoto blades.

 

So here's the question: how do you narrow down the when, where and who when presented with something like this? Most information I've found so far on this smith/family doesn't go into detail on which Tamba no Kami Yoshimichi they're referring to.

Thanks!

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Good luck trying to narrow this down ;) ... the only thing I can say from these pics is it looks to have a Kanbun suguta, but that doesn't mean much. Here's some info on the Mishina school... he goes into the Yoshimichi's if you scroll down a little... http://www.nihontocraft.com/Mishina.html

 

If you are ever interested in having a Nihonto professionally restored, this one would probably be a good canidate for consideration.

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If you can post a clearer photo of the signature, it can be compared to known examples found in reference text and perhaps confirmed as a particular generation of one of the Yoshimichi lines.

 

There are also many fake signatures of this group so there is a fair chance it is simply fake...

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Hi,

welcome to the board!

A name other than "sabotage" would be nice!

 

Close-ups of blade details, if readable, are helpful. A careful removal of the loose rust on the "michi" is helpful, but do not damage the patina!

 

Whatever advice you will get here, in this case nobody will give you a definite attribution to a certain generation. This will be up to a shinsa team, after the blade has received a proper polish. There are a lot of oshigata books, some of them affordable, which show most Yoshimichi signatures to compare with yours.

 

I cannot say anything about the blade, but the mei, if its not a fake, looks rather like a Kyo-Tamba than Osaka to me. There are Yamashiro blades without the kiku crest.

 

Regards,

Martin

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Sorry, here's some better pictures of the mei. The rust isn't really loose rust, it's more pitting than anything, so I'm afraid to try and remove it without causing more damage. Anything in particular that makes you think it could be a fake, or is that just a possibility? I'm no new to this that I've got no idea. Either way, I love it, and yes, someday I'd like to get it polished up and take it to a shinsa, if it's not fake.

 

Oh, and Sabotage was my nickname (among others) while I was in the Army. I'll change my user name; just didn't think it mattered much since I signed it with my name ;)

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Nothing wrong with sabotage for me, sounds like rogue or juggernaut. The red rust can be stabilised and no other cleaning should be tried. A wipe with light machine oil on a rag then wipe all of it off with a clean cotton rag should make all the difference. Do not leave the oil on the nakago. John

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Thanks for the advice; this sword spent quite a bit of time in a soggy basement, so I'm frankly surprised it doesn't look worse. And thanks everyone for the help with this. I figured it would be hard to narrow down just who it was that signed it. Time to buy some books I guess.

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It's amazing what you can can get with a macro lens when someone else is willing to hold the light; my lens blocks the flash half the time at that distance. I admit, I've been itching to get it polished, but if I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it right, and right now, that's a little out of my price range. It looks like it's got a nice sudare-ba, but it's so out of polish you've got to turn it this way and that to really see it. So for now I'm using it as my learning sword to get into the swing of things.

 

I know there are certain characteristics of the blade itself that help identify it, as well as the mei, but if you've got a case like this, where there's many with the same signature from the same school (i.e. displaying similar characteristics), is there anything in particular that you personally look for to narrow the field? Or is it something that truly requires an in-hand, expert opinion? I'm asking from a general learning standpoint, rather than the specifics of this particular blade, since I know it needs polished for it to be really looked at. Or am I going at this in the wrong way, and just being a little anal retentive about knowing the exact person who made it and as close to the correct year as possible?

 

And thank you all so much for your help, and taking the time to answer newbie/potentially stupid questions. I swear I've looked at my glossary a dozen times just from these posts, trying to get the terms to stick in my head.

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Getting to who, what, where and when is the most satisfying thing beyond its' own beauty to ascertain. You are quite right to gather funds and do it right. That is to determine if the sword meets your criteria for restoration. Impatience often leads to disappointment which can sour your further journey in the field. Some polishers will tell you if they think the sword is a good candidate and that is where ethical standards become important. John

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