Shape of Sword : Late Heian to Early Kamakura Periods

shape of early kamakura japanese sword

What influenced the change in the shape of swords made from the late Heian to the early Kamakura period(1100-1221)?

The emergence of curved swords dates back to the mid 10th century when the combat methods changed from fighting on the foot to attacking from horseback. Before the change, the shape of the Japanese sword was so-called CHOKUTO(直刀), which is straight, HIRA-ZUKURI(平造) or KIRIHA-ZUKURI(切刃造) and used on foot for stabbing or slashing, while Tachi was designed to slash while being swung the horseback.

Common Characteristics

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