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Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Nio Kiyosada Wakazashi Reply to topic
 
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Michael R. Winters




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Location: East Tennessee
Posts: 8
PostPosted: Fri 18 Apr, 2014 3:07 pm    Post subject: Nio Kiyosada Wakazashi         Reply with quote

I have long been interested in real Japanese swords. My terminology might be off a bit so please cut me some slack, I am still learning.
I have one that my Grandfather brought back from Japan at the end of WW II. He was a Marine and during the Occupation of Japan, he was in the Suoh (Suo, Swoh) Provice. A family there was contracted to work for him and eventually they became friends. The family had this Wakazashi which they said had been in their family for generations. They said they wanted to give it to him so that it went to someone they respected rather than having it potentially confiscated.
My Grandfather obviously did not know anything of Samurai Swords but thought it was a touching gift. He accepted it, eventually returned Stateside, and put the sword in his garage. Long story short, I found it one day, expressed interest in it and he eventually gave it to me. It had not been well cared for, just sat in his garage. The binding from the hilt is long gone as are the hilt cap and menuki.
The tsuba is very ornate and must have been absolutely beautiful in its time. It still has some gold inlay present on it. The collar appears to be sterling silver. The seppa spacers (there are two) appear to be copper or brass and have decorative beading on them. The Saya is deteriorated but is red with black speckling.
The tang is very dark, almost black, with two holes. There are markings on the tang but I canít seem to match them. Some time ago, I had a colleague who said he could date it. He translated the markings at the sword being made by possibly Kiyosada of Suo Province somewhere between 1320 and 1360. Interestingly enough, I had not told him of the sword being given to my Grandfather by a family in the Suo Province,
I am hoping someone here might be able to assist me in verifying the signature and giving me a more expert opinion on my sword.
I know that better photos of the Kanji are needed and Iím working on that but I will throw a few on here...
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Gabriel Lebec
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

PostPosted: Fri 18 Apr, 2014 3:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael,

Thank you for your PM; I replied to it, but I see you have already created a topic, so I will quote myself for the benefit of others:

Quote:
Michael,

I am assuming you saw this Nio Kiyosada topic?

I would be happy to help you with your wakizashi. Please do take photos and create a topic in the Historic Arms subforum.

I encourage you to read this Owner's Guide I created for Reddit, in particular the care & handling tips and the photography article. Properly assessing nihontō requires very specific photos.

I will add that it would be a very good idea to cross-post the sword to the Nihonto Message Board, as that is where the majority of knowledgeable Japanese sword enthusiasts post online. Though I like and respect myArmoury (obviously), precious few nihontophiles visit here any more.

Best of luck with the photos and please PM me when you've taken them. Regards,

Gabriel Lebec


The only thing I would add is that if you have any snapshots, feel free to post them now even if you intend to take more careful photos following the checklist I linked above. That way we can get started at least.

"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science." - Albert Einstein
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Michael R. Winters




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Location: East Tennessee
Posts: 8
PostPosted: Fri 18 Apr, 2014 3:30 pm    Post subject: Mountings         Reply with quote

Still figuring this out so bear with me...


Mounting



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New 1.jpg

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Michael R. Winters




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Location: East Tennessee
Posts: 8
PostPosted: Fri 18 Apr, 2014 3:41 pm    Post subject: In Saya         Reply with quote

In Saya


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saya.png

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Michael R. Winters




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Location: East Tennessee
Posts: 8
PostPosted: Fri 18 Apr, 2014 3:44 pm    Post subject: Collar         Reply with quote

Collar


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Michael R. Winters




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Location: East Tennessee
Posts: 8
PostPosted: Fri 18 Apr, 2014 3:46 pm    Post subject: Blade         Reply with quote

Crappy pic sorry


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Michael R. Winters




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Location: East Tennessee
Posts: 8
PostPosted: Fri 18 Apr, 2014 3:52 pm    Post subject: Tang         Reply with quote

This about the best I can do with my welfare camera...


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Michael R. Winters




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Location: East Tennessee
Posts: 8
PostPosted: Fri 18 Apr, 2014 4:01 pm    Post subject: top Kanji         Reply with quote

The uppermost kanji just below the collar


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upper kanji.png

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Gabriel Lebec
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

PostPosted: Fri 18 Apr, 2014 4:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello again,

It is definitely an antique Japanese sword. Obviously it has seen better days, but from what I can see it could be restored if you wanted to pay the high cost (~$2250+ for a wakizashi polish with new shirasaya) to do so.

The photos are a bit tough to work with, but I can at least confirm the Niō Kiyosada 二王 清貞 mei. For the higher quality photos (following this guide), forgo the foil rubbing, just make sure the light is angled correctly and do not use on-camera flash.

There were at least four smiths who signed Niō Kiyosada (the Niō school is in Suō as you know). There are early- and late-school Niō smiths: one in ~1350, another in ~1440, one in ~1525, and one in ~1565, summarizing Markus Sesko's Index of smiths.

However, you should understand that in antiques there are also many gimei (false signature) swords. These photos are not good enough to confidently judge how authentic the signature might be, and they don't show the workmanship (hamon, hada, hataraki, sugata etc.) well enough to judge how closely the blade matches this school/smith's style. So again, good photos please! Wink

Subjectively though I am cautiously optimistic. The style is fairly correct, the nakago shape and termination as well. The placement of the mei vis-ŗ-vis the original mekugi-ana is right, etc. This isn't a super-common gimei, and we know it came from the correct region. On the other hand, the Sada 貞 character is not quite a match to the examples I have seen.

Even with good photos though, online we will only be able to give an opinion, not a declaration of fact. You should try and bring it to a club or show if you can, and/or send it to a polisher. Ultimately, the final word on its authenticity would have to be made at shinsa (official appraisal) by the NBTHK or NTHK-NPO, but the sword would have to be polished for that to work. Thus the chicken-and-egg problem of "don't want to spend the money to polish without knowing it's authentic, can't find out if it's authentic unless you spend the money to polish it."

The only oshigata (tang rubbing) I have for these smiths is from Fujishiro's Nihon Toko Jiten Koto Hen. This is the last-generation example. Fujishiro ranks him chūsaku (medium, lowest of five ranks for the time period) and says he made lots of mass-produced swords.



And of course you should see the previous topic linked for some more links and info. EDIT: LOL, I just noticed that I actually linked to your sword from your 2013 post to the NMB in that threadÖ in that case, I can't really offer you more info than you've already received! Sorry.

"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science." - Albert Einstein
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Shahril Dzulkifli




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Location: Malaysia
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PostPosted: Sat 19 Apr, 2014 7:36 am    Post subject: Nio Kiyosada Wakizashi         Reply with quote


Nice hilt! But I wonder what's it made of. I guess it's ivory.

"The blood memories of this wretched creature have shown me that your treachery knows no bounds"
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Victor Sloan




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Location: North Carolina
Posts: 68
PostPosted: Sat 19 Apr, 2014 9:06 am    Post subject: Re: Nio Kiyosada Wakizashi         Reply with quote

Shahril Dzulkifli wrote:

Nice hilt! But I wonder what's it made of. I guess it's ivory.


Generally would have been wood core wrapped with ray skin.

Looking to start HEMA!
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Jussi Ekholm




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Location: Tampere, Finland
Reading list: 37 books
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PostPosted: Tue 22 Apr, 2014 9:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael, I think best bet might be bumping up your old NMB post. Like Gabriel told you in Reddit, that is where most of the people with nihonto knowledge hang out. Sometimes some posts just happen to go unnoticed, and maybe a bump might get attention. Happy
Jussi Ekholm
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Michael R. Winters




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Location: East Tennessee
Posts: 8
PostPosted: Tue 22 Apr, 2014 9:54 am    Post subject: Thanks for the replies         Reply with quote

Jussi I will do so.

Victor and Shahril, it is a wood core with Ray Skin.
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Nat Lamb




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Location: Melbourne, Australia
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Posts: 311
PostPosted: Tue 22 Apr, 2014 7:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

just my 2c, so salt according to taste, but if the story you recieved from your Grandfather is accurate, have you considered tracking down the origional owners and returning it? Although it sounds like it was given freely to someone they respected, it was also during a time when a lot of heirlooms were being taken under less pleasant circumstances, and re-uniting this nihonto with the family would be a very magnanamous act.
Obviously this is just one opinion, but felt I should at least put it out there.
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