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Old 3rd June 2011, 03:19 AM   #1
josh stout
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Default Circa 1930 Chinese copy of a ken?

I have not seen one like this before, but my guess is it is a Chinese copy of a Japanese ken from the time of the occupation. It could actually be Japanese but I am not sure how to tell. To me it feels Chinese with very good workmanship of the sort that might have been for export to the Japanese market. . On the other hand it could be Korean The wide blade is typical of Korean geom, as is the brass habaki/tonkou. I have not seen a ken outside of illustrations, where they often appear wielded by demons and gods. In such illustrations the sword itself appears to widen toward the tip, and similar ritual swords can be found in iconography from Nepal to Japan. However, this one has parallel tapering edges, and is beefy but balanced like a jian. The blade appears similar to another I have that I think is Korean. On the example it is difficult to see the overall blade construction; could I be seeing signs of heat treatment and three plate construction? Or is it just the way it was polished?
The blade vibrates nicely when I tap the handle, indicating a decent temper.
Josh
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Last edited by josh stout : 3rd June 2011 at 01:23 PM.
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Old 3rd June 2011, 03:51 AM   #2
laEspadaAncha
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Hi Josh,

Interesting blade. Can you post dimensions, please?

Regards,

Chris
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Old 3rd June 2011, 04:28 AM   #3
koto
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It is a Japanese ken. Fitting of late Edo or early Meiji period.
Nice one!
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Old 3rd June 2011, 05:40 AM   #4
Nathaniel
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Interesting sword Josh! Definitely Japanese design motifs...the Tokugawa mon...the deep engraving & style on the blade reminds me more of things you see on some Japanese blades...what an interesting piece! Looking forward to see what others think! Thanks for sharing!
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Old 3rd June 2011, 01:58 PM   #5
josh stout
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I am not sure what it is, but it is certainly trying to look Japanese. I found something similar here:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dl...%253D&viewitem=

The Tokugawa mon is actually what made me think it was Chinese. I thought such a mon would be restricted to clan members within Japan but would be something that a Chinese copier might pick as a showy motif. Also the mon forms two sides of the metal peg that holds the tang in place and there is no way that I can figure out to disassemble the sword in the Japanese manner. The only way to disassemble the blade would be to destroy the emblem. Would someone Japanese make a sword that way? I think I can leave out the Korean possibility because the style is too perfectly Japanese, but I still wonder if it was not made in China for export.

I do agree that the engraving is much deeper than that found on Chinese blades, and what appears to be the hamon is very straight and even, something I have never seen on a Chinese blade.

Either way, I am very happy with it because it is beautiful and I got it for a Chinese sword price
Josh
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Old 13th June 2011, 03:39 PM   #6
kisak
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Quote:
Originally Posted by josh stout
Also the mon forms two sides of the metal peg that holds the tang in place and there is no way that I can figure out to disassemble the sword in the Japanese manner. The only way to disassemble the blade would be to destroy the emblem.


IIRC some Japanese swords and daggers (mostly the latter) have such hilt ornaments that take the place of (or integrate with?) the menuki plug. I would guess that they have one piece for each side that slide into each other or some such.
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