A while back I found a picture of very ornate and painstakingly designed /created /decorated Katana on My Confined Space, a picture blog that I harass frequently:

Antique Katana

Antique Katana
[view full size]

[view super size]

Now normally this kind of sword is not my thing. But this one is too much a work of art for me to ignore. On many levels. And I thought this would be appropriate for the first weapon post of the year. There are so many unique and amazing points of fine aesthetic detail that went into the making of this sword, I really don’t think I can cover them all in a single post. So I’m just going to let you ogle the pic.

Aww, who am I kidding. I have to at least draw your attention to some of the less obvious traits of interest. Like the shape and the detail of the tsuba, or guard. While this sword conforms to traditional Japanese design, the guard carries a rather distinctive Chinese flair to it’s design, which makes this weapon all the more intriguing. The traditional ray skin grip with the brass overlay, tassels and fittings are excellently done. And though you can see one regular bamboo pin for the blade, it appears as though there were, at some point, two white pins, possibly of ivory, of which one is left. A very nice touch.

The details of the engravings on the butt cap and the tip of the saya or scabbard are extraordinary, as are the brass rings and purple ribbons to which the braided cord used to wear the sword is attached. Even the fittings to which the purple ribbons are attached to the saya are amazing. Not only are they beautiful, but they appear to also be hinged!! Mechanics and aesthetics in harmony. What more could one ask for?

Obviously, I can’t say much more about it than what we can all see in the picture, but I can say this. If a picture is a thousand words, this one is easily worth a cool million…