Artifact of the Day
Japan (probably 16th century)
Of the usual form. Steel, single edged straight blade, the edges parallel from the handle for about 1/4 length, whence cutting edge is stepped & curves gently to back edge at the point. Deep "yakiba" (temper line) is barely visible on reverse. Long, rectangular handle almost as long as blade itself. This is of copper alloy ("shakudo"), with an inlaid silver plaque on obverse. This has floral sprays in relief on closely stippled ground.