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Japanese Weapons

Thursday, 23 July 2009

japanese weaponsThe Oriental things are always in. They are mysterious, strange to our culture and thus so attractive. Utilitarian West is attracted to philosophical East, as all is attracted by something unusual and magic. No wonder that elements of cultural and everyday life become the core of collectors' activity. The Japanese weapon is the special stuff that personifies the unique technologies and external elegance, on the top of it, is the quintessence of philosophy and culture of the Japanese nation.

Therefore, collection of the Japanese weapons wins more and more hearts of people. The katanas are not any longer just images in the specialized literature. Yet, they become VIP-present. However, it is somehow difficult to define what kind of weapon to acquire for the collection.

First, you need to identify what exactly is eligible to collect. When you collect katanas, this collection is considered in one way, but collection of Japanese swords is something different. The point is that katana is one of the Japanese swords. This is well-practiced belief though wrong. Katana is the Japanese sword, but the Japanese sword is not necessarily katana. Nihon To that stands for Japanese sword in Japanese language includes almost all weapons with the blade excluding the Kama and the Shuriken, meaning «a dagger hidden in a palm»'. Nihon To includes swords, different types of the Wakizashi, Yari and Katana. Here «То» meaning sword is not to refer to all swords but only to arched and with single-sided sharpening. Actually the technology to make blades is similar, while size, shape and task differ.

In addition, collectors might pay their special attention to furniture for swords. Thus, Katana is the unique kit to construct from various parts. Some time ago every part used to be made by the qualified master and all the parts were removable. Most frequently the collectors prefer tsuba, the flat bow, for their collections. Tsubas were manufactured from the special alloy shakudo (copper, silver, tin and gold), yet, they were of stunning beauty. Japanese menuki is a part of a Samurai sword represented as small figures also frequently appreciated and collected. The menuka designed in the form of a pair of mythological rhinoceroses are crafted with shakudo bodies.

The person who just comes to the idea to collect finds it a bit difficult to choose what to start with, yet, the attractive appearance of the item is not the attribute of the real weapon. The true katana looks splendid though it possesses other features, and the simplest thing is to produce fake katana. Above all, even the «hamon» line (hardening line, temperature line) that goes along the blade is deemed to be the distinctive feature of the true katana, though it is not the ‘quality sign'. This line is very easy to falsify, just etching or facing on the surface of the blade. The genuine Japanese weapon gets the «hamon» line in process of steel hardening, and it parts the hard steel from the soft iron.

Before you start acquiring things for your collection, you'd better study the Japanese weaponry as well as the Japanese philosophy, world outlook, Bushido code of the Japanese warriors. Also you need to know the basic principles of weapon manufacture, types and shapes of weaponry, the history and process of weapon production development. Providing you know all these facts, it is not complicated to make a choice and acquire the genuine thing but not the outright fake. Currently lots of books are published with the purpose to help the beginners-collectors of the Japanese weapon. Yet, the book tells about everything important for the collector. The books with plenty of pictures and descriptions of the weapon types (sometimes pictures are not enough) and the books are easily accessible and popular among the specialists and the wide readership.

The price of the weapon is also determining factor for collectors. So, katana is rare to find for less than $3000-5000USD. And this is the price for the modern katana while the ancient type of weapon costs the fortune, somewhat not affordable even to the wealthiest collectors.

Old time katanas have a unique mark of high quality which says the tests the blade was exposed and the test outcomes. So, the traditional test included the cut of bunch of rigid bamboo, while the most aggressive warriors used to cut two corpses tied up together. Once you decided to acquire the weapon for your collections, you'd better go to specialized stores or at auctions where experts inspect and evaluate them. The beginner is the easiest prize for the tricksters unless the former learns to identify the quality of the subject to be bought. Here, the purpose varies based on whether you want just a souvenir resembling the Japanese weapon or the real sword. The store will openly provide the information about this. The souvenirs also might be expensive, splendid and quality, though being souvenirs.

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