Cutting Edge: Japanese Swords in the British Museum
no other culture has the sword been developed to such a level of technological excellence and attained such a position of spiritual importance as in Japan. As a cutting weapon, the fully developed curved sword of the samurai is extremely effective. Complex traditional methods of forging, conducted according to the ancient precepts of reverence and cleanliness of the Shinto religion, impart these qualities to the swords. Countless varying hues and patterns of the crystalline structures of steel, which result from special methods of forging and heat treating, are visible on the surface of a finely polished blade.In these textures lies an extraordinary and unique feature of the sword - the steel itself possesses an intrinsic beauty. The Japanese sword has been appreciated as an art object since its perfection some time during the tenth century AD.
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ashi bequeathed by R W Bitchu Province Bizen Province blade and mounting blade is hira blade is shinogi boshi is komaru carved chdji choji chrysanthemums closely packed koitame coloured metal inlay cutting edge early Echizen Edo period fanfo file marks fuchi and kashira grain is closely hada hamon is suguha Heian period high-relief coloured metal hilt hira zukuri Hizen hole itame Japanese sword jinie Kaga Province Kamakura period kami kashira Katana blade katte sagari koto kozuka Kyoto makie marks are kesho marks are kiri medium kissaki Meiji menuki metal fittings Minamoto Mino Province Momoyama mune Muromachi period naginata Nambokucho period nashiji nioi omote Osafune Prefecture R W Lloyd Esq samurai scabbard shakudd shape shibuichi shinogi zukuri shinshinto shinto Signed smiths Soshu steel style sujigai Sukesada sunagashi swordsmiths tachi tachi mounting tang tip tip is kurijiri tradition tsuba tsukuru uchigatana uchizori unmodified tang utsuri Wakizashi blade Yokoyama