Samurai Swords?

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Customer
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Samurai Swords?

Post by Customer » May 22, 2013 11:48 am

Hello Gary,

I was wondering, since you helped me the past couple times select and purchase my Asian calligraphy wall scrolls, if you knew of any good websites or resources for me to purchase a genuine samurai sword. I figured you probably have more knowledge than I on the subject.

Thank you!

Sincerely
Trish

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Gary
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Re: Samurai Swords?

Post by Gary » May 22, 2013 12:04 pm

There were times in the past when this was possible. Now, all those swords (some dating back to the early 1300s and as late as the 1700s) are in museums or private collections.

When I was a kid, I grew up in a neighborhood that had several Japanese neighbors. It seemed like they all had very old swords that belonged to a great great great great grandfather. Of course, they would never part with those swords.

So, for an authentic Samurai sword, you'll need to wait for one to come up for auction.

A video worth watching from Christies auction house:
http://www.christies.com/features/videos/object-lessons/samurai-warrior-armor.aspx

Christies handles a lot of Asian artwork and artifacts. Here's some past Samurai or Japanese swords...
(Keep in mind, these are past auctions and already sold, but this will give you an idea of what these go for)

This is the best set I've seen. The selling price below $20,000:
http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/arms-armor/a-daisho-muromachi-and-edo-period-5498432-details.aspx?from=searchresults&intObjectID=5498432

Gorgeous Tachi for under $9000:
http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/arms-armor/a-silver-mounted-tachi-meiji-period-5561066-details.aspx?from=searchresults&intObjectID=5561066

Sometimes you'll see just the blade (no tang, handle, or scabbard). This one seems high at $14,000:
http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/arms-armor/a-hizen-katana-unsigned-attributed-to-the-5498411-details.aspx?from=searchresults&intObjectID=5498411

A more reasonable blade alone at $1000:
http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/arms-armor/a-showa-to-signed-seki-ju-kanefu-5498398-details.aspx?from=searchresults&intObjectID=5498398

The reason such swords are in short supply:
In Japan during WWII, swords were used, abused, and melted down. After the war, the new pacifist movement, and terms of surrender meant that weapons manufacturing was either banned or severely limited.

In China, they had great swords as well. But most of them were melted down to make steel during the "Great Leap Forward". This was one of Chairman Mao's worst ideas. Everybody was required to make steel in their own home. But there was no iron available. Everyone had to make quota, so they melted down anything they could find (farm implements and plows, door knobs, and old swords). Later they starved when they could not plow the fields. As well, most of the ancient swords were lost forever.

Due to regulations somewhat related to the stories above, classic sword making is a lost art in both countries.

If you want replica swords, there are plenty of places with good prices like this:
http://www.swordsforsale.us/SwordsForSale.asp?Cat=Ninja%20/%20Samurai%20Swords&SubCat=Swords

Now, if you want a classic archery bow from China, I know of a 9th-generation bow maker just outside of Beijing. Beautifully-made bows just like 500+ years ago for under $1000 (some start at a few hundred).

-Gary.

JudoJames
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Joined: Apr 25, 2014 9:50 am

Re: Samurai Swords?

Post by JudoJames » Apr 25, 2014 9:56 am

If you are interested in a modern day katana take a look at Swords Of The East, they have a huge selection ofsamurai swords.

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