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 Post subject: Re: tang translation
 Post Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:15 am 

Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:11 pm
Posts: 6
Toryu, Many, many thanks for your efforts at helping me understand the background/authorship of my sword. I am a not a good photographer and have a digital camera which is
at least eight years old, so I have scanned the blade. It makes no sense to me that someone would want to make a forgery and attribute it to an obscure collaboration, but I know nothing about the market. It would seem a touring American serviceman would not know "Tadatsuna" from "Tarantula". Does what I call the stylized wave form piece have any identification significance? An authentication idea came to mind: how about C-14 dating the wood scabbard? A scabbard which is only fifty years old would shout fake, where a 150-plus year old scabbard would affirm, right? The more I learn of the precision building, the more I am intrigued. I can see how one could be bitten by the collecting bug, but I do not have the luxury of pursuing this now. I want to eventually post questions about nanako detailing and the truth behind a sword so sharp it can slice a dropped hair. I have no luck uploading the scans to the website, so I have to share via third party hosting. I am very busy with pressing personal matters, so please do not take my lack of an immediate response to posts as a sign of disrespect or disinterest.

 Post subject: Re: tang translation
 Post Posted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 6:21 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2011 1:15 pm
Posts: 152
Location: at San Francisco in California
Ciano -
A wandering U, S. Serviceman would not know Tadatsuna from "Tarantula" as you say - it is for this reason that so many damaged, re-tempered and falsely signed swords are now in Europe and America. I have friends in Japan who remember their dads taking the gunto and gimei swords to the depot to be surrendered while burying the family heirloom in the backyard. We also know that at the War's height many swords were given fanciful signatures so that families could send their boys off with a worthy weapon. Today we can see many famous names on swords where the sword is clearly not by the maker and the signature is clearly not that of the true smith.

In the long history of Japanese sword-making their have been many fakes, many a poor attribution added and many false signatures added to good swords. To add a big name to an unsigned sword of middlin workmanship adds big money to the sale - if your sword was made any where near the early Edo period the signature was added to fool a Japanese of the time and not any soldier. It may have passed hands many times over many years before it was passed to the serviceman. So I hope you can see it is quite possible for a fake to have found its way here.

I cannot say with any certainty that this is a fake signature, only that the two smiths are very famous. This makes the profit motive quite appealing. The mei of the young Tadakuni seems not to have been well documented. So while many books record that such a signature did exist I could find no real examples. This leads me to believe that the signature is one that intentionally plays on the knowledge of the collector but also the lack of verifiable signatures.Who wouldnt pay more for a "missing link" work by two great artists?

You have kindly posted more scans but I have to say we still cannot see enough to say that this work has anything to do with this school. Part of it is the images but also the condition of the sword, it needs to be seen in hand and may need a polish or at least a trained polisher to examine it. This is a very interesting piece and I truly do look forward to seeing the questions answered. I hope that we have found a piece of historical value that will help pint a clearer picture of the Tadatsuna line but based on what we have can hardly make a conclusion.

As to the Kawari-gata habaki, it is unfortunately not an indicator of any school or locale though they were more common at the end of the Edo period.

This is great stuff, this kind of research is a real pleasure and I thank you for the opportunity. If there are other questions please do post them to this board. and please do keep us posted on anything further you do learn about it.

Thomas C Helm
Contributing Editor NCJSC

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