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Old 16th June 2021, 06:09 PM   #31
Philip's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: California
Posts: 963

Originally Posted by Bryce View Post
G'day Norman,
The new photos of the blade you posted don't prove the blade is Japanese, but on the other hand they don't rule it out either. If you can see a hamon then that makes it more likely to be Japanese (or maybe Korean?).
I've polished a number of Burmese dha which have very prominent and well-controlled hamons, many with nice bands of snowy crystallization along the delineation (the Japanese term escapes me at moment). Also the effect is strongly evident and well-executed on some wootz saber blades from Iran. So there's nothing specifically Japanese about the concept. I see hints of it on fine late medieval and Renaissance European blades (although a full polish is out of the question on such a blade since doing so will kill its market value).

You might be interested to know that Mohammed ibn Ahmad al-Bīrunī, a medieval Persian polymath, wrote a treatis "On Iron" in the 11th cent., in which he mentions that in India, craftsmen "coat the broadside [i.e. full width] of the sword with suitable clay, cow dung, and salt in the form of a paste and test [mark out] the place of quenching at two fingers from the two sides of the cutting edges. They then heat it by blowing [the hearth], the paste boils, and they quench it and cleanse its surface of the coating on it with the result that the nature [jauhar, a visible pattern] appears..." The translator and editor, Robert Hoyland and Brian Gilmour ( Medieval Islamic Swords and Swordmaking,2006), add a comment that the reference to "test" implies scraping off the paste in the appropriate area prior to quench.
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