Thursday, October 20, 2016

Japanese sword

The Japanese sword is one of the few arts in steel where the steel’s own texture, hardness and composition – not just its shape - are readily visible and form the most important part of the finished object.

Japanese sword uniqueness is due to positive technical innovations devised by the Japanese themselves in an effort to resolve the three conflicting practical requirements of a sword: unbreakability, rigidity and cutting power.

Unbreakability implies a soft but tough metal, such as iron, which will not snap with a sudden blow, while rigidity and cutting power are best achieved by the use of hard steel.

In the hands of the Japanese craftsman, steel becomes an expressive and lively material. Like the shape of the sword and the hamon, the exact appearance of the steel is under the artistic control of the smith and can be associated with different schools and historical periods.

Up to 1876 all samurai or military men were privileged to carry two swords, the katana and the wakizashi. The first was the weapon with which they fought, settling personal quarrels and clan feuds, or defending their feudal lord, for whose sake each one was proud and ready to die at any moment.

The other, the wakizashi, was shorter weapon generally uniform in decoration with the katana, for these two were worn together thrust through the belt.
Japanese sword
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