Large Pictures Chapter 11.6

This picture shows the changes of the shape of the Japanese sword from about 1000 AD to
modern times (like WW II). In comparison to what happened in Europe and the Middle East during
the same time period, there was hardly any change.
Japanese sword; development
Link to text Source: The Beauty of the Japanese Sword, History and Traditional Technology. Michihiro Tanobe; The Japanese Sword Museum. From the Macao Museum of Art page.
Here is the full picture and the description of the 36.000 Euro sword offered by the
Japanese Sword Shop Aoi-Art in March 2015.
I do not doubt that it is worth that much money, by the way.
Japanese sword
Link to text Source: Japanese Sword Shop Aoi-Art, March 2015
Here are the Metropolitan 6th century Japanese / Chinese swords.
The metal, as far as preserved, shows no particular structure.
Japanese / Chinese swords, 6th century
Link to text Source: Metropolitan Museum, NYC
Development of the complexity of the Japanes sword blade.
Japanese sword; development of complexity
Link to text Source: is not the original source but a student paper
without recognizeable references (it contained Japanse parts). I could nto find the original picture
Here you see Master smith Miyairi Akihira (1913-1977) at work around 1960 or so.
He was a so-called living national treasure when the pictures were taken.
To the left and right are picures of the tamahagane pieces to be welded and steps
in the folding process
Japanese sword; forging
Link to text Source: See above
Here .is the South German sax from 600 AD - 750 AD before and after Japanese polishing
from Stefan Maeder's Ph.D. thesis. See also this module.
There is a clear hamon and since it is not parallel to the blade there might have been a clay coating.
On the other hand, the wavyness of the hamon may just be due to thickness variations of the blade.
Alemanni sax with hamon
Link to text Source: Stefan Maeder
Here is what kind of papers the NBTHK issued for good swords now and then.
Japanese sword evaluation NTBHK
Link to text Source: Unique Japan, Fine Art Dealer
What iwe see here are some impressions of the katana of my daisho.
Katana of daisho
Link to text Source: All mine
Here we get some idea of what the koshirae of the daisho katana looks like
Koshirae of daisho katana
Link to text Source: All mine
Here we have some parts of the wakizashi:
Wakizashi; daisho
Link to text Source: All mine
Here is a painting from around 1550. It is traced to the work shop of Lucas Cranach the Younger
and shows the offering of Elias. Here is the story (from Wikipedia):
  Elijah (Jewish prophet) challenges one Ahab (High priest of Baal; some old God)
to a direct test of the powers of Baal and the Jewish God by seeing how some offering will go.
Two oxen are slaughtered and cut into pieces; the pieces are laid on the wood. Elijah then invites
the priests of Baal to pray for fire to light the sacrifice. They pray from morning to noon
without success. Elijah ridicules their efforts. "At noon Elijah mocked them, saying, 'Cry aloud!
Surely he is a god; either he is meditating, or he has wandered away, or he is on a journey,
or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.'" They respond by cutting themselves and adding
their own blood to the sacrifice (such mutilation of the body was strictly forbidden in the Mosaic law).
They continue praying until evening without success.
Elijah now orders that the altar of God be drenched with water from "four large jars" poured three times.
He asks God to accept the sacrifice. Fire falls from the sky, consuming the water, the sacrifice and the
stones of the altar itself as well. Elijah then orders the deaths of the priests of Baal.
I guess we see the end of the priests of Baal in the background. The marked area is shown below in full gory detail
There is more to this painting. The Cranach's were ardent fans of one Martin Luther, and Luther was
linked to Elias and the pope to Baal. The painting thus also shows that the family that ordered it were Protestants
(the noble or at least rich guys, shown in the bottom left).
Cutting tests_Leipzig
Sword testing Leipzig
The sword is not a typical 1550 western sword but a kind of "scimitar". After all, the whole story took place in the
East and a long time ago. Of course, the Cranach's had no idea how people that far away in time and space were
dressed and therefore painted them generally in the style of their region and time. The occasional exotic
element like a scimitar just added a bit of spice to an already rather rich painting.
The Cranach's, however, were probably quite aware of what one could do with a good sword, curved or straight.
Link to text Source: Photographed in the "Altes Rathaus" museem in Leipzig, 2018

With frame With frame as PDF

go to Books and Other Major Sources

go to Critical Museum Guide: Metropolitan Museum, NYC

go to Faggoting

go to 11.6.3 Making a Japanese Sword - Part 2

go to 11.6 Japanese Swords 1.6.1 The Myth and the History of the Japanese Sword

go to My Japanese Swords

go to 11.6.2 Making a Japanese Sword - Part 1

go to Testing Japanese Swords

© H. Föll (Iron, Steel and Swords script)