What is Meikiri in Japanese Katana terminology?

"Meikiri"" (銘切り) refers to the process of engraving the maker's signature (Mei, 銘) on the tang (Nakago, 茎) of the sword by making continuous cuts with a chisel (Tagane, 鏨). This task is performed after the foundation polishing (Shitaji Togi, 下地研) or the finishing polishing (Shiage Togi, 仕上げ研).

In addition, a signature that is not engraved by the swordsmith but by a later owner or such is referred to as a ""Kiri Tsuke Mei"" (切付銘) or ""Ato Mei"" (後銘). These terms refer to inscriptions added after the sword's creation, often to commemorate ownership or an event.

This process is crucial in the sword-making process as it provides important information about the sword's origin and history. The style and quality of the engraving can also be a factor in the sword's overall value."

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