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Old 4th July 2022, 01:46 AM   #1
Pitt1999
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Default An odd tanto/wakizashi

I want to get as much input on this piece as I possibly can, so I've started a thread on the Nihonto Message Board Forum already and I have sent an email to Peter Dekker to see if he can give me any help with this strange piece. Now I ask for the varied knowledge of this forum. The blade doesn't seem to be anything too special, some members of the NMB thought it could have been a naginata naoshi at one time that had been remounted as a dha. I thought about this and disagree because from the dha that I have seen here and for sale online, none of them have mounts that are similar to these. The two strangest features of this tanto/wakizashi are the lack of a blade collar (habaki) and the belt clip on the scabbard. The metal used on the fittings seems to be some kind of silver alloy from these photos (these are the seller's photos). The tang has almost certainly been reshaped from it's original form to fit into these mountings. An unusual piece for my amateur eyes, but hopefully something that some of you can give some comments and opinions on.
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Old 4th July 2022, 01:47 AM   #2
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More photos...
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Old 5th July 2022, 06:23 AM   #3
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Despite the Japanese-ish touches throughout, it's one of those "close but no cigar" situations. It's definitely an old piece and not some latter-day fantasy. Looking at the materials, the overall workmanship and the appearance of the tang, I'm leaning towards late Joseon period Korea. Probably 18th-19th cent.
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Old 7th July 2022, 01:22 AM   #4
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Do you think the blade is Korean made or Japanese made? I know that Japanese blades got traded around or got captured through various means. I thought about this piece being Korean before, but I figured with the rarity of Korean edged weapons that the likelyhood of coming across one would be very low.
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Old 7th July 2022, 05:36 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pitt1999 View Post
Do you think the blade is Korean made or Japanese made? I know that Japanese blades got traded around or got captured through various means. I thought about this piece being Korean before, but I figured with the rarity of Korean edged weapons that the likelyhood of coming across one would be very low.
I have had the chance to restore a few Korean single edged blades over the years and the appearance of the tangs is pretty consistent with this knife. They lack the more careful shaping, and the characteristic file marks, seen on their Japanese counterparts. Also, the shape seen here is not characteristic of Chinese design, in which the tang tapers and is peened to the top of the pommel (much as with most European hilt mountings). Neither is it seen on Vietnamese weapons, which have a somewhat stubby tang anchored with adhesive in the hilt, much like the practice in the Philippines or the rest of mainland SE Asia.
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Old 11th July 2022, 02:33 AM   #6
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Just got the knife a few days ago, there are some details about it that seem odd. It appears to have been painted rather sloppily, you can see the paint on some of the bands holding the scabbard together. The band below the peg hole on the handle appears to be some sort of tape, but I haven't tried to remove it yet. The belt clip seems to have some sort of decoration on it's face, to me it looks like very simple trees and some archways. The clip also seems to be made of two different metals. I will add some photos later.
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Old 23rd July 2022, 03:14 AM   #7
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Got some photos of some of the parts. Clearer photo of the belt clip decoration(?) along with some pretty crummy photos of other things I found odd about this piece. The belt clip seems to have a bi-metallic construction, with the face of it being what I think is a silver alloy, and the back side being copper or brass. One of the other photos shows the tape like material being peeled off revealing what looks like a binding of flat wire. The last photo shows the odd angled protrusion on the scabbard a little bit farther down from the belt clip (possibly a way of retaining the dagger/knife on a belt or sash). The black paint/stain/lacquer there has chipped away showing a green material which could be horn of some type.
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Last edited by Pitt1999; 23rd July 2022 at 04:44 AM.
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Old 23rd July 2022, 05:55 AM   #8
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Thanks for posting the additional pics. They reinforce my initial notion that this is Korean.
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Old 24th July 2022, 01:31 AM   #9
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Should I remove that tape? It doesn't look like it belongs on the knife, also is it normal for the bands on the scabbard to be painted over like they are? Do you have any photos of other Korean knives like this? From the few examples that I have seen online none of them look exactly like this one. Unlike Japanese swords and knives which for the most part are very superficially similar from piece to piece, Korean arms do not seem to be as "regulated" and can show quite the range of variation.
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Old 24th July 2022, 05:37 PM   #10
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I don't know about Korean arms, but MSEA weapons often had the scabbards blackened to prevent reflection of light that might give away the owner's position. The blackening agent was usually a resin derived from sap. It was common to "paint over" metallic scabbard bindings for this reason. The use of a black lacquer also provided some water proofing.
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