The noble ray glides fluidly through the sea, effortlessly slicing through the briny deep with grace and beauty. This delicate locomotion belies the stingray's potent, sometimes lethal weaponry - the savage barb stealthily tucked away beneath the lithe, flowing tail. Mirroring the noble sea creature after which it's named, Ten Ryu's "Stingray" Katana exudes nimble grace and elegant allure, with its sleek Damascus steel blade, luxurious genuine ray skin handle and distinctive simulated ray skin-jacketed saya (or scabbard). But also like its oceanic namesake, the Stingray sword has a deadly secret lurking behind its handsome facade. The gently arced 27 9/10" tanto blade is beyond sharp, carefully honed to an impossibly keen edge and accented with a chic blood groove. Like a ray gliding through water, the blade slices cleanly through rolled straw mats, thick bamboo and other challenging materials. It's forged from Damascus steel, a unique high carbon steel characterized by eye-catching, vividly contrasting layers. Master metalsmiths employ a centuries-old technique to achieve the distinctive steel's breathtaking whirlwind of ripples, waves and swirls. Top grade steels are hand-fired in white-hot forges, folded, hammered, quenched, then fired again. Metalsmiths meticulously repeat the process numerous times - sometimes for days on end - until the desired layering effect is attained, at which time the steel is acid etched to highlight its intense stratification. It's a slow, laborious process that has changed little since Damascus steel's development in the Middle Ages - no automation, every step diligently performed by hand. The Stingray's black cast metal guard is inspired by the bitterly serrated "stinger" of its oceanic namesake. It depicts two stingray barbs, symmetrically curved to form a perfect circle and ideal base for the Stingray's elegant genuine ray skin-shrouded handle. Robed in soft black cord in the traditional Japanese style, the handle provides a delightfully tactile no-slip grip. Taking the "ray" theme yet another step further, the Stingray's included saya - or scabbard - is decked out in faux ray skin from top to bottom. The simulated hide retains the outstanding texture and earthy allure of genuine ray skin, but sheds the real deal's exorbitant price tag. A stunning tribute to the mysterious, sea-dwelling ray, Ten Ryu's Stingray Katana combines natural beauty with ancient human engineering to yield a masterpiece that's both traditional and innovative in the same stroke.