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Need help with a strange and barely legible old sword.

Nyxira

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So my grandmother has this old sword which she got like 50 years ago in Indonesia. The sword is supposedly Japanese, and does certainly look it as far as depictions and carved in kanji, but I can't be sure, and I am having trouble identifying some of the roughly (and somewhat messily) hewn kanji.

I searched it via radicals for countless hours, but to no avail.

Above are loads of pictures of said weapon. The middle kanji on the left is the most difficult to read in either place. Best I can figure is that it looks something like this:

14629853136712068094038.jpg


But I could be way off.


Anyone got any intel?
 

Mike Cash

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No idea about the sword itself but the engraving is as phony as a three dollar bill, a very poor mimicry of Japanese writing.
 

Toritoribe

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The sword itself is also a terribly poorly made fake.
 

Nyxira

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The sword itself is also a terribly poorly made fake.
Fake what? It is really old and beat up, but it is still a solidly and well made hand made weapon. The materials are all real bone and iron, upon further inspection. The blade is forges rather than from a mould, though I wouldn't say it was made for a samurai or anyone particularly wealthy. I am still doing research to see if the kanji is poor imitation, or just poorly executed/ performed by some peasant who could barely read.
The sword matches a type of old functional ones I found a bunch of exampled of on museum sites.

If it is a fake Japanese sword, it is still a very well made Indonesian imitation of the Japanese style. Hard to say for sure, though, as it was old and sold on the cheap, and probably something the vendor just found somewhere even 50 years ago when my Grandma bought it. It was claimed to be a Japanese sword, but if it isn't, as it may well not be, then there wasn't much profit to be made in the construction, forgery, and selling. Because although not fancy, these are good materials and it handles exceptionally.
So the kanji mess has me pretty uncertain about it being Japanese, though I can make out most but the two on the bottom left, but again, I can't see how they made any form of profit by faking it, either. Unless the vendor just found a sword imitating the Japanese style.
 

Mike Cash

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I can't see how they made any form of profit by faking it, either.
Replicas aren't necessarily made for the purpose of deceiving people.

The kanji were done by somebody merely mimicking kanji. Not even the most ignorant and nearly illiterate Japanese person would ever do 大 like that.
 

Mike Cash

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That's because it's not 大, it's 犬. :roflmao:
Even barring that, which I refrained from mentioning, the relation between the horizontal and the other two lines would never be done like that.
 

Mike Cash

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大日本
永楽 X

With 楽 being done in the old style, 樂

What the guy was trying to do on the last one is a mystery. Could be 道, but I wouldn't bet on it.

At any rate, they were all obviously done by somebody who had no knowledge of or experience with kanji and who was just doing his best to copy something he had seen somewhere onto the sword.
 

nice gaijin

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looks like an Indonesian smith used the methods and materials available to him to create a sword that imitates a Japanese katana. It's an interpretation of what they understood a katana to be; the result may have a similar shape but it is clearly not the same. There are many elements of the sword that you would not see on a Japanese sword.

I'm reminded of the renditions of elephants at Nikko. The artist had never seen an elephant with his own eyes, so he did his best to recreate what he understood to be an elephant, using the tools and techniques he had. The result is clearly not an elephant, but you can look at it and understand what he was going for
 

Tokyodad

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It's a southeast Asian copy of a Japanese sword, likely made for sale to American soldiers. These were mainly decorative items, the blades were usually made from old railroad rails, the scabbard, pommel, and a few other parts are genuine ivory. These have no real value, at least for now.
 
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