Samurai Sword

29 x 42 in. | acrylic on canvas | 2019


Sharp enough to cut through silk that’s been dropped over it, and can shatter blade and bone alike. Designed to slice in one motion from the moment it exits its sheath. The curve streamlines the blade’s edge, so the wielder can draw and strike swiftly, almost simultaneously, because of which the katana is lightning-quick. Scarcely is the blade drawn when the opponent must block the strike or be struck down.

I made this with my own distinct hamon, or blade pattern, using my signature geometric style and brushstroke. Required a lot of precision and focus. Blade length is 31 inches (78.74cm), or in traditional Japanese measurements, 2 shaku 5 sun 9 bu.

Palette is brilliant yellow green, lemon yellow, white, olive green, sap green, payne’s grey, and their combinations.

A katana is a Japanese long, curved sword used by samurai warriors. A traditional katana is made of a type of high carbon steel called tamahagane, which is made by smelting a type of Japanese iron ore, called iron sand, in a large furnace called a tatara.

The tamahagane then undergoes an immensely complicated process involving heating, cooling, thereby removing impurities by bringing them to the surface, then folding the billet over on itself dozens of times creating more than a thousand layers in the cross section of the blade. Technically, these swords are made of iron that has never melted, allowing the craftsman to heat and cool to shape before the hardening process.

Yaki-ire (hardening process) changes the molecular structure of the blade steel and gives the border a patterned sharp edge, shown as Hamon. This is also the point where the sword is given its distinctive curve, heated and rapidly cooled by water, and the process the katana is said to be infused with soul.

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