If any money depends on the information you hope to find here e. At the onset of the occupation of Japan an order was issued by the army of occupation that all weapons be surrendered, i. The results of the test along with the date and name of the tester were then inscribed, mainly in gold , on the tang of the sword. Other characters commonly used in date inscriptions in place of the numeric day of the month are the words for auspicious day: This sword, often nearly three feet in length, was thrust through the girdle, edge-upward. There are four basic types of Japanese swords; two of them short less than 24 inches and two of them long more than 24 inches in blade length. The greatest Japanese sword smiths led a religious form of life, abstaining from all excesses, and accompanying each step of the work with prayer and ritual. The practice of using human bodies was begun as a means of crime control, for instance, the sentence for a convicted thief would probably be the loss of a hand or arm. This makes it easier to decipher many mei knowing little or no Japanese. The character tern of the tempered portion of the blade. Upon realizing that many of the Japanese cultural treasures were being surrendered our government together with the Japanese government formed a committee to screen the swords, with the hope of locating the surrendered treasures and returning them to their proper places. In the beginning no exceptions were allowed. If the blade is a tachi long sword which is worn edge down, then when you are viewing the mei is visible when the sharp edge is to your right. The smith began by coating the entire blade with a thin layer of a clay, sand and powdered-charcoal mixture. It too, was thrust edge-upward through the girdle. There are many eras, so the reading of the first two characters should be carefully researched to give you an approximation of the date. The date of manufacture had often been inscribed on the tang nakago since at least the Kamakura period
The ease of performance increases with the number, i. The most critical of all the sword making processes was the tempering of the edge. Swords bearing cutting tests are very desirable to collectors, as the cutting test greatly enhances the value of the sword, it should also be borne in mind that there are many forgeries of cutting test, as they could easily be inscribed at a later date , the tester whose name appears on the tang must be checked for authenticity with known examples of his signature. The various strokes were given in relationship to the severity of the crime committed. Strips of two, or three different grades of steel, or of iron and steel, were welded together by the smith's hammer. The last two kanji in the mei are usually the name of the smith note however, that many smiths used 3, 4, 5 and even 6 kanji in their signature. Historically, nengo era names were decided by court officials and did not necessarily relate directly to the names of the ruling emperor of that period. In the beginning no exceptions were allowed. As a katana and a wakizashi short-sword is always worn edge up, when you are viewing the inscription the mei is towards you when the sharp edge ha is to your left. Finally, the glowing blade was plunged into a tank of warm water. However, a few tools makes the task a little easier. It too, was thrust edge-upward through the girdle. The date of manufacture, when shown, is usually found on the other side of the tang. This rather fluid disparity in Japanese and western dates should be taken into account when reading the archaic date inscriptions on the tangs of Japanese swords. The actual forging of the blade was a complex process. The western calendar equivalent of this would have been to go to bed on December 2, , and the next day would have been January 1, You have been warned! This sword, often nearly three feet in length, was thrust through the girdle, edge-upward. However, this dating system was abandoned after the war. There are many eras, so the reading of the first two characters should be carefully researched to give you an approximation of the date. The Samurai warrior always carried a pair of sheathed swords - one long and one short - with the types carried depending upon the occasion. This process was repeated many times, until the final blade consisted of many thin, tightly welded layers of the original metal. The Japanese complied with the order to the letter, surrendering in most cases to local prefecture police stations not only guns and military swords but the majority of their prized family heirlooms and national treasure swords. It is this 'standard' form I am concentrating on here. Monetary value of the Japanese sword obviously depends upon many factors, such as; age, condition, maker and historical associations, but we can all appreciate the value of any of these swords as magnificent examples of the artistic ability and dedication of the Japanese sword smith. The era names changed frequently due to superstitions and religious beliefs. These swords have a value range from 30, to a quarter of a million dollar s each.
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