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Thread: Newbie here, Looking for Info On a sword found in walls of my home.

  1. #1

    Smile Newbie here, Looking for Info On a sword found in walls of my home.

    When I did a search I had no luck finding a program that translates the Japanese symbols on the Tang of the sword. From the info I did find the Signature is quite nice, I believe it is in the Takanoha style where the file marks are filed in 2 different directions in a feather type pattern. Correct me if Im wrong. I wasnt sure if this is the place to post pics, so I am asking first. From what I have learned the chips out of the blade could be the result of battle. I cant believe how sharp it still is. There is no Handle. It is a Katana style sword, from what I have seen on other sites.

    We purchased our home a year ago, our first home, always watched if walls could talk, and never thought we would find anything, but a month ago we tore out a 6 foot section of a wall to put in a breakfast bar, and found it standing next to a wall stud. Our house was built in 1880.

    Sorry for the long read, I just figured it might be interesting. I can post pictures, I just wanted to know if it was ok first. Thanks for anyones help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Rugby, UK
    Posts
    552

    Thumbs up

    Mike
    Welcome. It is certainly OK to post pictures, in fact I'd say it was recommended. You will have to resize them to 100Kb or less but then it is srtaight forward. I, and I'm sure the rest of us, will look forward to seeing them. What a lucky find, let's see if someone can help with the identification. I have always found the people here most helpful and knowlegable.
    The journey not the destination

  3. #3
    Thank you for the warm welcome, will post these pics and see if anyone can help me out! My wife says we need to start tearing walls down now, lol.
    Attached Images Attached Images      

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    NYC.... at least for a few more hours
    Posts
    658
    HAHAHAHAH! Nice find.... found a stack of comics from the 30's behind a wall in my house once. Was it behind the original plaster.... or could it have been put behind during a renovation? Very cool.

  5. #5
    Mei is "......Kuni Shige Saku".
    T. Middleton

  6. #6
    Thank you guys! T.Middleton, Is that the translation? I read they have where it was made and a makers name, is that tru on thisa one, because of the way you typed it? I Thank you for the help.

    It was plaster, but could have been a newer wall, it is 129 years old. Have no Idea.

  7. #7
    Also was wondering if this was a WW2 era made sword or maybe earlier? I bet I have to polish it to see the tempering marks on the blade? Thanks!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Capital District, NY
    Posts
    890
    I know little about Japanese swords, but I do know that improper polishing can drastically cut the value of any antique.
    Jim Mearkle

    Swing low, sweet nebenhut!

    "A sharp point is a peremptory fact, which makes quick work of illusions..."
    Baron de Bazancourt

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Erdman View Post
    Also was wondering if this was a WW2 era made sword or maybe earlier? I bet I have to polish it to see the tempering marks on the blade? Thanks!
    Thanks for sharing this interesting story, I just wonder how many more walls in your home will be targeted to come down now.
    Kuni Shige (sword smith) saku (made this) are the last 3 characters of this signature. There are roughly 100+ Kuni Shige sword smiths listed in Hawley's book of Japanese sword smiths, it will take a complete translation (?) of the remaining kanji to narrow down this list, which should also give a pretty good idea of era. Though, it is fairly safe to say it was made during the Edo period (1600-1867). How unfortunate the blade itself isn't in as good of condition as the nakago. A close look at the third image suggests this sword could have been exposed to a high source of heat (dry, scaly, lifeless), if that is the case the hamon including the boshi may be lost. Speaking of polishes, polishing should be left strictly to the professionals. Were there mounts with this sword?
    Last edited by G. Liberatore; 08-08-2009 at 07:25 PM.

  10. #10
    More great info! Thank you! Nothing more with this sword, this is all that was in the wall. Ive seen other swords, like on the Antiques Roadshow program that have the same kicks on the blade, they said that it was used in battle. For all I know about this sword tho it could have been used as a bush knife, lol. I think they are interesting, but now I wonder if I should collect swords, or try and sell it it to someone who is up for a challenge. I did some reasearch on items placed in the walls of homes, and did find that knifes, old guns where placed in new homes when built for protection, but again, not sure how long it was in the walls. I have a attic floor to tear up from water damage years ago, maybe I will find the owner of the sword, lol. I hope not! I dont dare touched the patina, if I sell.

  11. #11
    I forgot to ad the size if that helps with anymore info. Blade to the tang is 23 3/4" long, and the tang is 6 1/8" long.

  12. #12
    Yamashiro = old Japanese province
    Daij˘ = honorary gubernatorial title
    Minamonto = honorary surname
    Kunishige = personal name
    Saku = made

    Made by Kunishige of Minamoto, vice-governor of Yamashiro.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by Guido Schiller; 08-08-2009 at 07:28 PM. Reason: omission

  13. #13
    Well, that narrows the list down to 2 possibilities, thank you Mr. Schiller, Hawley's KUN 1113 (1684) and KUN 1116 (1716). Whether or not the mei is valid and matches one these two smiths needs to be checked.
    Last edited by G. Liberatore; 08-08-2009 at 08:03 PM.

  14. #14
    Yes, thank you for all the help, everyone. Your quite profesional also, and kind to help out someone just trying to find info.
    If this was proven to be real, and not a early fake would it be valuable in its current unretored condition?

  15. #15
    According to the Nihont˘ Meikan, there were three Kunishige who held the title of Yamashiro Daij˘: one working around Manji (1658 ~ 1661), another one around J˘ky˘ (1684 ~ 1688), and the third in Temp˘ (1830 ~ 1844). In the sample signatures given none of them used "Saku". I only have Oshigata of the J˘ky˘ one, and the writing style does not match either.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Erdman View Post
    If this was proven to be real, and not a early fake would it be valuable in its current unretored condition?
    I have my doubts about this being a genuine Mei. In any case, the sword needs some major restoration. Polishing, Habaki and Shirasaya will set you back around US $ 2,500, probably more due to the poor condition of the blade - and *if* the chips can be polished out without altering the shape too much.

    Assuming it turns out to be a sword by one of the two lesser known smiths, it's a borderline case - although you didn't pay anything for the sword itself, recovering the restauration cost might be difficult. If it's a Gimei J˘ky˘ Kunishige, and the Mei has to be removed as well, you'll probably loose money if you try to sell it.

  17. #17
    heck Im not going to put any money into it, might as just sell it if I get a chance with the info thats on it. This info is great no matter what I do with it, thank you!

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Erdman View Post
    ... would it be valuable in its current unretored condition?
    Not really; you might get a few $ on eBay from one of the guys who "self-train" themselves to become a "polisher". My recommendation: show it to a professional polisher. If he doesn't think it's worthwhile / financially feasable to have it polished (either by you or the future owner), put it in a glass case or above your fire place. It would be a pity to sell it for the price of a six-pack when you can keep it as a great conversation piece!
    Last edited by Guido Schiller; 08-08-2009 at 10:07 PM.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Darlington England
    Posts
    51
    A friend of mine polishes up these for iaido when they are not much use as 'collector' type blades... if you don't find it will come up to that standard and don't want to keep it, let me know and I will see if he is interested in cleaning it up. He will pay a fair price, so have it valued when you have it reveiwed for a polish... Otherwise stick it in a cabinet on the wall as suggested above!
    Chidokan

  20. #20

    Matching signature

    Hi again, I did a bunch of research online again, and found a spear head that was made by Kunishige and they had a pic of the shaft with the symbols on it, the top 2 His name match mine. Just wanted to share. Its on ebay right now, a friend has listed it for me.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  21. #21
    http://cgi.ebay.com/1684-1716-Kunish...d=p3286.c0.m14

    I don't mind you using the picture of my translation, but I never said it was *made* by Kunishige, I just said it's *signed* this way.

  22. #22
    Was just going by this quote buy you, above "MY" picture

    "Made by Kunishige of Minamoto, vice-governor of Yamashiro."

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Blue Ridge, Texas
    Posts
    1,671
    Hey Mike,
    It's a matter of semantics. In your ebay listing, you state "He said it was made by ..." however, that is NOT what Mr. Schiller said. Mr. Schiller said the signature translates as "made by ... .
    The first way, you are implying that Guido has endorsed it as a genuine signature, which he didn't.
    The best thing to do would be to change your listing to read "He said that the signature says it was made ..." This would correctly prtray what was discussed without any implications.

    Cheers,
    Paul Smith
    "Keep the sharp side and the
    pointy end between you and
    your opponent"

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Finland, Jyvńskylń
    Posts
    58
    Just wondering if the blade is still for sale. Drop me a PM if it is.
    Togishi and mountings.
    http://www.surudoitokan.com

  25. #25
    Mike...just a thought...

    Wouldn't it be nicer to mount the blade so it can be displayed above the fireplace and let it represent the spirit, the life force, of the house? After all, someone originally encased the sword into the house and it has been a part of the house's life. And, what if now, by removing it you unleash evil spirits from the past? This may be more than a matter of money that you're dealing with here...
    R. V. H.

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