Dating japanese swords

Introduction ~

dating japanese swords

The term "National Treasure" has been used in Japan to denote cultural properties Dating to the 8th century, Shōsōin swords and the Kogarasu Maru show a. Date tables (nengo) used to determine the age of a Japanese sword. Help in how to read date inscriptions on Japanese swords. Life Member -The Society for the Preservation of Japanese Art Swords distinctive, aiding the expert in determining the authenticity and dating of the sword.

dating japanese swords

This process was repeated many times, until the final blade consisted of many thin, tightly welded layers of the original metal. As a result of the forging and finishing process, the un-tempered portion of the blade Hada of the Japanese sword frequently shows a unique patterning of the metal similar to wood grain. The most critical of all the sword making processes was the tempering of the edge. The smith began by coating the entire blade with a thin layer of a clay, sand and powdered-charcoal mixture.

dating japanese swords

Then, using a sharp bamboo stick, he inscribed a line a short distance back from the edge. The character tern of the tempered portion of the blade.

List of National Treasures of Japan (crafts: swords)

Variations in shape of the tempering line are among the fine points of classification used by Japanese sword experts. Material between the scribed line and the edge was removed and the rest of the coating allowed to dry. Then, the sword smith heated the entire edge over his pine charcoal fire until the proper temperature judged by the color of the heated metal was reached.

dating japanese swords

Finally, the glowing blade was plunged into a tank of warm water. 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 Samurai warrior always carried a pair of sheathed swords - one long and one short - with the types carried depending upon the occasion.

When clad in armor or in formal court dress, the Samurai wore a long sword called the TACHI, slung edge-downward from his girdle or sash. This sword, often nearly three feet in length, was thrust through the girdle, edge-upward. It too, was thrust edge-upward through the girdle. These were often embellished with high-relief carving, engraving, etching, piercing, inlay work, incrustation with precious metals, or a combination of these techniques.

The scabbard SAYA was usually finished with lacquer, and had decorated metal fittings. Then, flat silk braid is wrapped over the hilt in a pattern which leaves a row of lozenge-shaped openings on either side, exposing the white ray skin.

The TSUKA may then be slid off the tang, revealing the maker's signature and other identifying marks incised in the metal. The signature often consists of the maker's name, his titles, and place at which the sword was make. The date of manufacture, when shown, is usually found on the other side of the tang.

Certain patterns of file marks on the tang are also distinctive, aiding the expert in determining the authenticity and dating of the sword. 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.

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First, there are three basic types of archaic Japanese dating to be considered. Koki is based upon the timeline of the imperial lineage since the legendary founding date of Japan BCE by the first emperor Jimmu.

List of National Treasures of Japan (crafts: swords) - Wikipedia

The Koki dating system was not implemented until and is frequently seen on swords made during the World War II. However, this dating system was abandoned after the war. 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. The era names changed frequently due to superstitions and religious beliefs.

There are many eras, so the reading of the first two characters should be carefully researched to give you an approximation of the date.

dating japanese swords

Other characters commonly used in date inscriptions in place of the numeric day of the month are the words for auspicious day: Below is a chart of the basic numbers used for days and months.

There are some variations of some of the characters.

dating japanese swords

Therefore, inscriptions containing these two characters are often avoided and alternative characters are used instead.