Katana is the iconic sword of Feudal Japan and is a symbol of power and honor. The blade is slender, with a slight curve, making it ideal for cutting through flesh and bone. The curved shape of the katana allows the samurai to cut with more precision than a straight sword. In addition, the hilt of a katana is typically made of wood or metal and may be as simple or as elaborate as a samurai wishes. A scabbard, or saya, completes the sword.
The katana’s forging technique, called the Tatara-buki method, sought to achieve three highly desired traits: not to break, not to bend, and a razor sharp cutting edge. The process achieved these qualities by heating the steel with a clay mixture and then cooling it quickly, forming a wavy line known as hamon. This is what distinguishes a katana from other swords and is a key attribute for which connoisseurs judge the quality of a blade.
In the Muromachi period (1336-1573) samurai favored katana that were lighter and more compact than the larger, curved blades of earlier centuries. This change in emphasis encouraged the development of more sophisticated and artistic qualities in katana blades.
Other swords in the samurai arsenal included the wakizashi, a shorter weapon used for close-quarter combat and as a backup weapon; and the tanto, a smaller knife designed for thrusting and piercing. The naginata, a pole weapon consisting of a curved blade mounted on a long shaft, was also used by samurai for distance fighting. Whether in battle or in a dramatic scene, the katana is a powerful symbol of samurai culture. click on this page