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Japanese sword construction methods logo

Construction methods of Japanese swords

This article will describe several methods by which the Japanese joined higher and lower carbon steels into their blades.
Asian arms in old European paintings logo

Asian arms in Dutch master paintings

Dutch masters' fascination with exotic Asian wares shown in a series of paintings.
Aoe school

Aoe school

An old school of Japanese sword makers active in Bitchū province.
Juyo Masamune tachi

Jūyō Masamune tachi

With 1757 Hon'ami papers, 1989 Jūyō token and 2021 Tanobe sayagaki.
Early yasurime bori menpo

Early yasurime bori menpo

Russet iron, one-piece construction with decorative grooves.
Ryutaro Somen logo

Sōmen by Ryūtarō

Ryutaro was the son of Fukutake Ichirō (1928-2002).
Biaoju

Biāojú (鏢局)

Language: Mandarin Chinese
Source: Pleco dictionary. Old photos.

Masamune sword menuki

Masamune sword menuki

NBTHK Hozon. Charming menuki in the form of a sword, signed "Masamune" and a tachi scabbard.
Republican duanjian

Ma Zhi Zhen Republican duānjiàn

Rare type with stylized bat guard and baitong mounth.
Wide bladed Sino-Vietnamese knife

Wide Sino-Vietnamese knife

Large bowie-type blade with prominent raised backedge.
Dated Pingpu knife logo

Pingpu presentation knife dated 1921

Heavy socket-hilted plains knife with dated presentation scabbard.
Longquan duanjian by Wan Zi Hao

Longquan jiàn by Wan Zi Hao

A Chinese shortsword made by a well-known Longquan maker.
Unusual Taiwanese sword logo

Southern Taiwanese sword

A Taiwanese sword with a long blade of asymmetrical cross-section; the left side is flat and the right side has a ridge on the upper portion of the blade
Mongolian trousse with stones logo

Mongolian trousse with stones

Description

A Mongolian trousse with horn hilted knife.

Silver Mongolian trousse

Fine Mongolian trousse

With very detailed silver mounts.
Silver overlaid Chinese hook sword

Silver overlaid Chinese hook sword

Typical Chinese hook sword, with seldom-seen fine silver wire overlay.
Kanenori in itomaki-no-tachi logo

Echizen Kanenori tachi

A fine, Circa 400-year-old blade in 19th-century tachi mountings.
Fine Qing matchlock musket

Fine mid Qing matchlock musket

With a golden damascened lock of the Indo-Portuguese type.
Hata-jirushi logo

Japanese battle flag

Resist-dyed cotton in white and indigo, with three fans mon.
Shiga seki Kanenobu logo

Shiga-Seki Kanenobu katana

Active circa 1492-1501, a smith with Sōshū roots. Ō-wazamono, jō-saku.
Yasuchika elephant tsuba

Yasuchika elephant tsuba

A 19th-century copy of an important cultural art object.
Hawk and pine tsuba logo

Hawk and pine tsuba

Carved out of copper alloy with details highlighted in gold.
Unusual alphabet tsuba logo

Early tsuba with alphabet

Curious early tsuba with the beginning of the Western alphabet inscribed into it.
Fine pierced nanban tsuba

Fine pierced nanban tsuba

Very delicate work with carved guardian lions.
Hirado Kunishige tsuba

Hirado Kunishige tsuba

Of a copper alloy with a different shade on each side.
late-chinese-pierced-guard-logo

Small Chinese saber guard

Of pierced iron, elaborately cut with lotus petal border.
Aoi gata tsuba with foreigners logo

Thick Aoi gata tsuba with foreigners

With fine golden overlays, even on the thick rim.
Asian export sword guard with foreigners logo

Aoi-gata tsuba with foreigners

Unusual tsuba with foreign figures and Chinese auspicious symbols.
Nanban ship tsuba logo

Iron nanban ship tsuba

Pierced and chiseled showing an 18th century European vessel.
Hirado Kunishige fuchi logo

Hirado Kunishige fuchi

One of his classic designs, signed by the maker.
Unusual nanban tsuba

Unusual nanban tsuba

Very finely carved with designs reminiscent of export wares.
17th century Chinese saber guard

17th century Chinese saber guard

With the swirling arabesque motifs that are typical for this period.
Tang dynasty horse head logo

Tang dynasty horse head

Mounted on a custom hardwood stand
Chinese powder flask overall

Qing powder flask

Southern Chinese style with birds in plum branches.
Qing powder flask logo

Fine Qing powder flask

Very good example with a finely carved warrior scene.
62 plate Kabuto with mayu

62 plate kabuto with maedate

Each plate with raised rib, the visor embossed with simulated eyebrows.
Canton export lacquered box

Chinese export lacquer box

A nice example with unusually fine lacquerwork and a monogram in the lid.
Mino-bori logo

Mino-bori (美濃彫)

Language: Japanese
Source: Michitatsu's Sōken Kishō of 1781

Nagasaki raden katana kake logo

Mother of pearl inlaid katana kake

In black and gold urushi lacquer, with fine mother-of-pearl inlays with aquatic landscapes on both sides.
Mino Mitsunaka

Mino Mitsunaka (美濃光仲)

A Japanese sword fittings artist who worked in the Mino-bori style.
Naoe Shizu tanto logo

Fine Sōshū tantō

A fine tantō forged in the Sōshū tradition with Hon'Ami Koson sayagaki.
Muramasa logo

Muramasa masterpiece tantō

A masterpiece by the "cursed" smith, active in the early 16th century.
Jade hilted Qing imperial court dagger logo

Qing imperial jade hilted dagger

An extremely rare dagger, made in the Qing court workshops.
Qianmen war arrows

Qianmen war arrows

I am a bit of an arrow fetishist.

Ainu dagger logo

Ainu dagger

Called kuttom-ushbe in the local language. This one mounted in deer antler mounts.
Mini makiri logo

Miniature Ainu makiri

Despite its size it is of remarkably fine workmanship.
Philip Tom sword evolution drawing

A sketch of East Asian sword evolution

Some time ago, Philip Tom sent me a bunch of his old research files on Asian arms for me to study.

Early Edo samural armor logo

Edo bullet-tested samurai armor

Very heavy armor, made for business.
Qing dynasty dadao logo

A large Qing dàdāo

Large and heavy example with the notable Umlauff provenance.
Antique Beijing hat logo

Black velvet Beijing hat

The hat traditionally worn by Beijingese gentlemen.