Hi I recently acquired a teppo in a trade I have the Mei worked out but I don't know how to go about dating the piece the bore is roughly 1.6cm but one of the Mei reads as a larger bore I believe here is the translation of the 3 mei the ginzogan inscription reads "Aiki Masanao saku" (相木正直作). The mei reads "Nishimura Ichibei saku" (西村市兵衛作) and "20 monme" (廿匁, caliber).
not sure how to add pictures to the thread sorry working on it just now
Why there are two Mei, and why the barrel diameter of 1.6 cm and the 廿匁 20 Monme do not match is a mystery, especially without photos.
As the the smith's Mei under the barrel, I can only add circumstantial evidence. This will be a narrowing-down exercise, like the game 20 questions.
1. There are twenty-four known smiths with the family name of Nishimura. Most (but not all) worked in *Hino (4) or Iyo (11). The others were in Unshu (1), Bishu Ueno (1), Kawachiyama Noyuki (sp?) (1) and Edo (1), the rest's workplaces unknown.
2. In *Hino there are three smiths using the Nishimura plus Ichi/Ishi like yours, but the lower name does not correspond. I.e. There are no listed smiths in Hino with the full name of Nishimura Ishi/Ichibei. This strongly suggests to me however, that your gun was made by a Hino gunsmith.
4. There is however a listed Nishimura Ishi/Ichibei, full name, but the gun barrel gives no further information, neither date nor place. There is also a Nishimura Ichibei Yoshitsugu who may be the Nidai of this line, again with no further information.
So the only added information for you is that this is likely a Hino smith. As to date, the gun itself might tell us more...?
*Hino was a lesser rival to the more famous Kunitomo. I once owned a very nice Hino gun. There is a small exhibition room 鉄砲資料展示室 in the town where you can see a few bits of the town's gunmaking history at the Ohmi Hino Shonin Kan 近江日野商人館. There is also a booklet by Sawada Taira about Hino guns, titled Hino-deppo 日野鉄砲 put out by the Sakai Teppo Kenkyu Kai.
Thanks for the help guys I don't know a lot about these wonderful weapons but I was drawn to this one when I seen it the paper version of the Mei that's shown was a first go at translation the translation I added in my initial post was done by Markus Sesko I have asked Jan to add some more pictures of the Mei especially the one that states the calibre I'll do some research into Hino gunsmiths and see what else I can find out
Ah, thanks Jan. As we know, a mark to the left of the Mei in these parts of Japan was usually the smith's manufacturing number system, often repeated on other bits pre-assembly. What looks like 廿 could even be サ. Probably we will never know.
Don't know if it's just my imagination but it looks like there might be a kanji on the bisen-plug which might fit in with what is engraved to the left on the signature. Have a closer look Robert and see if you can confirm it.