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Japanese sword identification

Article about: My name is Ralph Messer and I am the webmaster and senior researcher for the Livingston County War Museum in Pontiac, Illinois. A couple of years ago we had a Japanese sword donated to the m

  1. #11

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    Quote by BOB COLEMAN View Post
    Guy-
    In my opinion, this blade shows too much nakago patination to be a late Edo period blade. I still can not read much of either the swordsmith mei or date except for the kanji Ten. My thinking is the date is either Tenmon(1532) or Tensho(1573). The lightly chiseled signature is very indicative of the style seen on the Late Muromachi Period in Bishu, which incorporate Bizen, Bingo and Bitchu. My thoughts for what they are worth.
    Bob, thanks for your thoughts. We both agree on the first kanji, "ten". I went back again and looked at the second kanji -- it comprises two parts unlike "mon" and "shō", so I don't think it could be [Tenmon] or 正 [Tenshō]. I am fairly certain (after manipulating the shadows/brightness) that the second kanji has a "nin" radical, and to its right I can see the "kuchi" with "ki" below it.

    I'm still thinking it is [Tenpō]

    Do you have a way to photoshop the nakago and play with the shadows/brightness? If so, please give it a try. It is a hard kanji to read .... but easier than the last two

    Cheers!
    --Guy

  2. #12

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    Quote by ghp95134 View Post
    Bob, thanks for your thoughts. We both agree on the first kanji, "ten". I went back again and looked at the second kanji -- it comprises two parts unlike "mon" and "shō", so I don't think it could be [Tenmon] or 正 [Tenshō]. I am fairly certain (after manipulating the shadows/brightness) that the second kanji has a "nin" radical, and to its right I can see the "kuchi" with "ki" below it.

    I'm still thinking it is [Tenpō]

    Do you have a way to photoshop the nakago and play with the shadows/brightness? If so, please give it a try. It is a hard kanji to read .... but easier than the last two

    Cheers!
    --Guy
    Hi Guy-
    I am not computer conversant enough to photo shop the pictures. The nakago is the stout form typical of blades of the Muromachi Period. Blades of the Late Edo period have longer nakago in form. As I previously mentioned, signatures of the Muromachi period frm this region are also not usually cut deep as is the case with this blade. These are the reasons for my thoughts of it being an earlier blade than Tenpo. If I can find the time this weekend, I will search through the Bitrchu smiths of the era and see if I find anything close to a match with this mei.
    BOB

    LIFE'S LOSERS NEVER LEARN FROM THE ERROR OF THEIR WAYS.

  3. #13

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    Quote by BOB COLEMAN View Post
    ...These are the reasons for my thoughts of it being an earlier blade than Tenpo. If I can find the time this weekend, I will search through the Bitrchu smiths of the era and see if I find anything close to a match with this mei.
    Hi Bob,

    I've gone back to look at the large image of the tang -- and I'm now on my desktop Mac using a 30" screen. I'm not so convinced now that the kanji is 天保 "Tenpo".

    I (think) I faintly see the "Ten" [heaven] kanji [now it looks like too many strokes ... perhaps scratches?] .... but what I identify as "po" [guarantee/warranty] kanji seems to have too many strokes on the left side. The イ "nin" radical has too many strokes, I think. However, the left side looks clearly to be the the 口 "kuchi" with 木 "ki" below it. I've done some slight lighting manipulations of the image, please have a look and tell me what you think the kanji could be.






    I think I'll go through each Japanese historical era annotated in Nelson's New Kanji Dictionary to see if anything jumps out.

    I love a mystery!

    Thanks for your insight!
    --Guy
    Last edited by ghp95134; 08-30-2013 at 06:00 PM. Reason: Additional comment

  4. #14

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    Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm ..............

    Could that second kanji be "roku"?


    天禄 Tenroku 970 - 973
    嘉禄 Karoku 1225 - 1227
    長禄 Chōroku 1457 - 1460
    元禄 Genroku 1688-1704


    I'm just playing guessing-games now.

    --Guy

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