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My Arms & Armor

"Ivory" Katana

purchased roughly around 1996

I didn't know much about katanas when I bought this one at a Science Fiction convention, having only my display-only katanas prior to getting it. To this day I know little about its origins.

The vendor that I bought it from seemed like a bit of a con-man, but the price seemed reasonable at the time even if he was exaggerating. He made claims that it could be punched through a cinderblock wall and not break. He also claimed that the hilt was real ivory, which I strongly doubted. I made the decision to purchase based on what I was observing, and not what he was saying.

Functionally, it seems very comparable to the Shinto Katana, including weight and balance, and therefore seems a bit unremarkable to me.

In terms of it's "authenticity", the hamon (temper line) in the blade (which is washed out in the picture, but it quite obvious in person) doesn't show obvious signs of being fake. That is, it seems to have the right color, and the pattern matches on both sides of the blade, and it's not too "regular" to appear to be machine-made. Still, a lack of evidence to fakery does not prove it's real.

The hilt is almost certainly plastic, despite the seller's claims. I never got around to trying the "hot nail" test, but there is a faint casting seam, and the color has yellowed somewhat over time.

The blade is also very rigid, perhaps even more so than the "Shinto". Hitting the side with the palm of your hand induces a visibly imperceptible vibration, not a flex or wide resonance. Since I'm not as familiar with "proper" characteristics for Katanas, I'm not sure how close to correct the blade properties are.

In any case, I considered it to be a gorgeous display item, so even if the vendor was lying through his teeth, at that time I wanted to have it.

Based on some discussion on SwordForum.com, it appears this is probably a Marto sword, similar to the #8164 Marto katana. If this is the case, it appears the price I paid was reasonable.

Overall Length 37 ½ inches  (95.25 cm)
Blade Length 27 ½ inches  (69.85 cm)
Hilt Length 10 inches  (25.4 cm)
Center of Gravity 4 ½ inches from guard  (11.43 cm)

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