Sword wielding experience at its most thrilling, swordcraft at its peak
Shinwa's "Provenance" Tachi breathes new life into an ancient Japanese sword that predates the legendary katana by centuries. Though little known outside niche sword enthusiast circles, the "tachi" is one of Japan's great ancestral swords - a pivotal foundation stone on which Japan's unrivaled swordcraft tradition is built, and a direct predecessor to its decidedly more famous descendant, the ubiquitous katana. But make no mistake - the tachi is no mere "katana prototype," and the Provenance proves no exception. Like all tachi, the Provenance boasts form and function all its own - distinctive appointments, a unique look and feel and real-world combat capability that keeps pace with and often bests that of the katana. It should come as no surprise; after all, the elder tachi was slaying foes by the thousands and proving itself on the battlefield centuries before the katana was even a twinkle in a swordsmith's eye. And though its profile, dimensions and overall aesthetic configuration are largely faithful to history, some of Provenance's key features buck tradition in favor of a more inventive approach - tailored especially to today's serious swordsman and/or avid collector. Far and away the boldest, most compelling example is the formidable, visually electrifying tanto blade - hand forged from breathtaking Damascus steel.
Pairing Damascus steel with the tachi seems only natural, as both claim rich histories that stretch back more than a millennium. Unparalleled and positively bewitching, the Provenance's Damascus blade is a raging steel river through which thousands of distinct, contrasting lines flow. The lines twist, writhe, ripple and whirl as if swept up in some unseen current, forming captivating, near-hypnotic patterns across the surface of the blade. But this striking figure is more than just skin-deep, as each line represents a distinct layer of steel that forms the underlying fabric - the very heart and soul - of the Provenance blade. To put it plainly, the blade's spectacular patterning is just the natural result of the ingenious, time-honored hand-forging technique utilized in its construction.
Shinwa Swordcraft 101: Intro to Hand Forging a "Provenance" Blade
One of Shinwa's master swordsmiths fires a stack of steel strips - each a different alloy - in a white-hot forge until the metal glows cherry red. He then removes the stack and hammers it until it’s around half as thick as the original. Then he folds the metal onto itself lengthwise and hammers each half together. The process is meticulously repeated – hundreds of times in some cases – until the desired layering effect is achieved, at which point a final quenching strengthens the resulting blade blank and an acid etching highlights vivid contrasts in the layers. And the slow, laborious process itself it just the beginning! To achieve sufficiently dramatic contrasts, Shinwa’s master smiths must expertly select an appropriate combination of steel alloys of varying color, luminescence and other visual qualities. For the sake of strength, resilience and countless additional blade factors, the smiths must also must consider each alloy’s distinct melting point, proper stacking order, forge temperature and myriad other variables. Simply put, an unbelievable quantity of blood, sweat and tears goes into every Provenance blade, but lay eyes on it just once, and you’ll know it was well worth the trouble. Furthermore, like a steel snowflake or fingerprint, the patterning on no two Provenance blades is exactly alike.
The Provenance's Damascus steel blade is certainly a work of beauty - meant to be admired and exhibited - but it's also a potent weapon. With its thick, sturdy spine and carefully honed edge, the Provenance blade slices cleanly through thick bamboo, rolled tatami mats and other traditional tameshigiri materials, retaining its razor sharp edge cut after cut. The blade's graceful curvature, slender profile, flawless balance and ideal thickness gradient makes it remarkably powerful yet responsive, agile and easy to control. , is gracefully curved, with a simi slender profile e
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