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Old 5th November 2020, 01:13 PM   #6
Peter Dekker
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Kingdom of the Netherlands
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Interesting piece!

While I agree that laminated steel is seen on pretty much all pre-industrially made Asian edged tools, from chisels to scissors to knives and swords of all types and all qualities.. what we see here is a rather deliberate effect. Especially the combination of straight lines in the middle and wavy lines near the edge is something that doesn't generally appear without some very intentional effort put into it.

It reminds strongly of the horse tooth patterned swords made among others in Yunnan. To get that wavy effect near the edge, the smith forges the edge a little thicker than necessary and then bends sections of the edge up and down. He then grinds the edge flat again, so what you get is that you look deeper into the layers at each wave. (If this method is used, then each wave on one side should be in the middle of two on the other.)

The effect on the Chinese swords I know of is a little more outspoken and neater, but due to the structure of the steel these effects water down somewhat after repeated sharpening, as the effects get less pronounced closer to the core of the piece. That might be what we are seeing here.

I add some photos of a pretty little duandao I used to own that was made like this. It is also seen on a North Vietnamese sword of the late 17th century that was once owned by Czar Peter the Great, now held in the Hermitage in St. Petersburg.
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