What is Horimono in Japanese Katana terminology?

The term ""Horimono"" (彫物, ほりもの) refers to the carvings made on the body of a Japanese sword. These carvings often reflect the religious beliefs of the swordsmith or the owner. Typical motifs include Sanskrit characters (Bonji), three-pronged vajra handles (Sanko-tsuka), and the deity Fudo Myoo.

During the Kofun period, these carvings were used as symbols of power among the ruling elite. As samurai governance took hold, grooves (Hi) were added to the sword body to reduce weight without compromising strength.

In times of war, carvings often depicted objects of faith. However, in peaceful times, decorative elements such as Chinese poetry and Waka (a type of Japanese poetry) became more common. These carvings not only serve a functional purpose but also add to the aesthetic appeal and spiritual significance of the sword.

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