The Japanese sword markings:
1. Sword tang markings
a) File markings
Few examples of traditional file mark patterns:
• Sujikai - diagonal mark across the tang
• Takanoha – file marks are filed in two different directions (almost forming an inverted “V”; it appears like a feather thus, this pattern was named takanoha which means “hawk feather”
• Katte Sagari – a shallow diagonal line across the tang
Signed swords, especially signed antique Japanese swords can be expensive depending on the age of the sword and whose name was engraved on the blade. According to the Japanese sword history, the oldest recorded signed blade was a tachi (an ancient Japanese long sword) which was forged by Sanjo Munechika of the Heian Period.
2. Temper lines on the sword blade (Hamon)
There are several types of hamon and a few of them are:
b) Gunome – regular waves or loops
c) Sanbon-sugi – literally means “three cedars”; it displays cone-shaped waves that look like three cedar trees
3. Temper line on the tip (Boshi)
a) Ko-maru – the temper pattern follows the shape of the kissaki part of the sword but forms a small arc when it reaches the back end portion of the tip.
b) Sansaku boshi – the temper line enters the point area and follows a straight outline until the tip of the point.
c) Midare-komi – a very irregular pattern
4. Blood groves (Hi)
According to some myths, grooves are created so that blood will flow from a stabbed person while some people say that blood grooves are made purely for decorative purposes. Both statements are not true.
A fuller is not made to let blood flow from the enemy. It is created to lessen the weight of the Japanese sword and improve sword balance, speed, and cutting ability.
Types of grooves:
b) Bo-hi with soe bi – a large straight groove with a smaller and thinner line beside it
c) Bo-hi with Tsure-bi – also a large groove accompanied by a thinner but longer line beside it. The thinner groove curves as it passes by the end of the bigger groove and reaches spine of the blade.
d) Futasuji-bi – two parallel grooves of different lengths
5. Artistic carvings (Horimono)
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