Katana Hamon learn more about this fascinating pattern on the katana blade
Everything You Need to Know About Hamon
The Japanese term "Hamon" means edge pattern. It refers to the differential hardening process's visible impact on the blade in the art of sword smithing. As a sword enthusiast, you should know more about this part of Katana. This guide will help you in this regard.
What Is Hamon?
The Hamon, the katana blade's sharpened portion, is a product of differential hardening. The line, which is frequently wavy, separates the blade's sharpest point from its softer point.
The Hamon looks like a milky-colored trail along the blade's edge. It is the outcome of the cutting-edge Katana being hardened through heat treatment. To be more precise, Hamon is the distinctive design running along some or the entire length of the blade of a Japanese sword.
In the heat treatment stage, a mixture of clay and charcoal is painted on the blade. The main body of the sword receives a thick coat while the edge receives a thin coating. It is then heated till bright red. Then it is instantly cooled in water. The hardened clay is then removed and the sword is polished.
Due to variation in the initial clay coating, the heat treatment affects the edge and body portion differently. And this is reflected by their distinct colors. This is how the Hamon is formed.
What's the Purpose of Hamon?
Although some individuals believe that swordsmiths made Hamons for aesthetic reasons, it's not always the case. Hamons undoubtedly have an aesthetic component. But, aesthetics is not the first reason why swordsmiths put them on the sword.
The clay tempering process we talked about earlier is essential to provide the sword some unique properties. This process causes the body of the sword to be soft and shock absorbent for providing support to the sword. This is especially important for blocking.
The sharp edge on the other hand becomes hard. This is important for maintaining sharpness for longer. The hamon is just an aesthetic byproduct of this essential process. This differential heat treatment was a crucial component of conventional Japanese swordsmiths' production processes.
What Are the Common Types of Hamon?
Although there are many different forms of Hamon, the two most common types are straight and wavy lines. Some of the common patterns of this part are Suguha, Notare, Ko-Midare, etc.
One may distinguish Hamon based on wavy or straight lines. Here are a few of the most usual Hamon types:
The Gunome is a set of semi-circles that relate to the classic game GO's stones when viewed from the sides. As a result, the game GO directly influenced Hamon's title. Later, during the Kamakura period, a variety of Hamon was inspired by Gunome, such as Gunome Choji, Gunome Kataochi, and Gunome Kaku.
Suguha is a type of Hamon that runs straight parallel to the sword's edge. This particular Hamon is quite old, and one can find them on the earliest Katanas. So, it is the most traditional design. However, there are some variations of Suguha. These are Hiro-Suguha, Chu-Suguha, and Hoso-Suguha, etc.
Ko-Midare is a Hamon with subtle irregular and extremely intricate patterns. This Hamon line stands out from the conventional Hamon with only a few shapes. Besides, it was most common on swords during the Heian period's end.
In our custom katana section, we offer various hamon options to build your own sword.
History of the Hamon
The exact history of the Hamon is still a mystery, much like most other facets of conventional Japanese swordsmithing. However, according to mythology, renowned swordsman Amakuni Yasutsuna invented this procedure sometime in the 8th century. He also produced the first single-edged sword having curved blades.
Yasutsuna allegedly observed the army of the emperor using seriously broken swords. So, he gathered the blades, and he and his son Amakura started mending them. After around a month, the father-and-son swordsmithing team reappeared with freshly forged swords. These included differential hardening in addition to the recognizable Hamon patterns.
Hamon is rather tough to construct. Thus, numerous sites sell Katanas featuring artificially crafted phony Hamons. So, it's best to ask for an expert's opinion and go for high-end ones while buying a Katana. Thanks for reading through. Good luck!