Musashi Glorious Dragon
The Glorious Dragon, a
mythical creature that appears in dozens of ancient cultures around the world.
Whether it’s the large, winged, fire-breathing beast of European lore or the
wingless water serpent of Asia, the Dragon has a majestic and commanding presence.
It’s no wonder that we frequently see depictions of these creatures in the
world of sword collecting, especially among Asian blades such as the Japanese
Japan’s own history with
the Dragon is very interesting and unique. In their native form, the Japanese versions
of the serpents were Water Gods, associated quite frequently with the sea. The
Japanese Emperors are often said to be descendants of Dragons, perhaps an
allusion to Japan’s relationship with China. This is not hard to imagine, since
they are often used to represent the ancient Chinese Emperors.
powerful symbol finds itself being used for profit rather than tradition far
too often. I frequently notice stainless steel display katana and sword sets
adorned with dragons galore in malls all over the place. These rat-tail tang
blades that aren’t made for anything more than cheap décor sell more popularly
than the honest to goodness blades made by traditional smiths and companies
devoted to making blades used by martial artists or owned by true collectors
This mass production of
sacred symbols is nothing new since there are many aspects of world cultures
being sold as consumer products with no actual concern for historical accuracy behind
them. Well, I can think of several companies that break that cycle, and will
continue to do so as long as there exists in some place a market of devoted
enthusiasts. Whether for art appreciation, historical enthusiasm and passion,
or the practicality of a functional martial arts weapon, collectors can turn to
Musashi swords for a blade that is functional, aesthetically appealing, and
economical. When Musashi puts a Dragon on one of their products, it is because
they have earned that right by being passionate about making real, functional
swords in a modern take on traditional Japanese sword-making techniques.
When observing the
Glorious Dragon Katana Sword offered by Musashi, I immediately noticed the
prominence of gold coloring on a lot of the detailing, evoking the imagery of
an Imperial Palace of China or a Shinto temple honoring the kami (gods or spirits, ancient
protectors of Japan). This wasn’t simply a functional blade, which Musashi is
renowned for making, it is a work of art. Well, a work of art that will still
cut like a dream. The blade is hand forged with 1050 carbon steel, and is water
tempered bringing the hardness to 55 HRC. To put it in layman’s terms, this is
a vast improvement from the stainless steel paper wieght in the mall back home.
The blade is beautiful and the hamon,
or temper line, is genuine and prominent.
To the collector who is
more inclined to have an artistic piece, the saya, or scabbard, steals the show. The creature depicted is
unmistakably the water serpent of Asian myth, done in a Chinese style. For those
who’d like a quick lesson, the Chinese Dragons are typically shown with four
claws on each foot. This is, of course, unless it appears as an Imperial seal
or furnishing, in which case there will be five claws. The Japanese, almost
without fail, depict the serpents as having three claws per foot. The choice of
the Chinese version of the Dragon may be a reflection of the forge which makes
Musashi’s blades, located in China. It may also be a reference to the
relationship between China and Japan, culminating in the beauty and
unchallenged supremacy of Japanese style sword making meeting the ancient
legacy of the Chinese take on the water serpent. Since the Japanese language
and writing systems are highly influenced by classical China, it is not too
much of a stretch to believe that this sword was made as it was intentionally.
tsuba, or hand guard, on this model is a motif of a Dragon
appearing in traditional Chinese fashion. The tsuba and other metal parts on the tsuka (hilt) of the sword are done in copper. Those who are
familiar with metals may know that copper has a tendency to react to oxygen
resulting in a discoloration called a patina. On a sword like this, this would
not be detrimental. A patina effect naturally suggests an old or ancient aura
to whatever it may appear on, and the same is true for swords. When observing a
copper furnished katana that has had time to oxidize and patina, one might very
well be reminded of the history behind that particular blade’s art or style.
Nothing could be more fitting than to have such a feature on a sword featuring
the regal water serpents of Japan and China. For those who do not want such an
effect to take place, sealants are available at very cheap prices which will
protect the copper.
Tsunetomo is attributed with the following quote from the text, Hagakure;
“It is said that what is called the Spirit of an Age is something to which one
cannot return. That this spirit gradually dissipates is due to the world's
coming to an end. In the same way, a single year does not have just spring or
summer. A single day, too, is the same. For this reason, although one would
like to change today's world back to the spirit of one hundred years or more
ago, it cannot be done. Thus it is important to make the best out of every
generation.” There is no practical need for a katana as a weapon of warfare or
self-defense. However, that does not mean that we cannot honor the spirit of
nobility and honor of a warrior class who’s influence is now felt worldwide,
not confined to Japanese borders anymore than the sun is confined to the
horizon of any one country. If you choose to pay tribute to the Samurai and
their legacy, choose a blade that has meaning, a blade you can be proud of.
Leave the plastic clad stainless steel abominations unsold on the shelves of mall
stores where they belong.
sword should tell a story. Whether through the nicks in the blade resulting
from use on backyard targets or tameshigiri mats, remembering when and why you
chose a sword, remembering receiving the it as a special gift, or simply
knowing the story behind a blade model’s name or the artwork adorning it, a
sword should always tell a story. Without stories, there is no legacy. Without
a legacy, we are nothing.
you would like more information on this blade and others, please visit
SamuraiSupply.com Sword Articles. You can also check out Musashi Swords and
shop for good quality, economically priced pieces to add to your collection. If
you have any questions or comments, please direct them to firstname.lastname@example.org.