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Edson has approached me to design him a L6 sword by Howard Clark, based on the Go rin no sho, the Book of Five Rings.
There was a very nice empathy as I reviewed the concept. How to design a sword whose theme could be perhaps one of the books.
I went back to my memory and remembered this phrase from the book of void.
Then you will come to think of things in a wide sense and, taking the void as the Way, you will see the Way as void.
I personally dislike the obvious, the cliché of things, so for the main theme I went to the five circles forming a Pentagram. It may not be entirely a new solution, but the tsuba that was born from it was certainly the sum of the parts of five circles.

In fact, I assembled the pentagram first, symbolizing the five circles interconnected. And then I designed a large circumference that would be the tsuba's limit and placed five times the mon achieved by this way. The top circle pointed outwards. Now I inverted the mon and the top pointed inwards and placed a new set of five circles, thus forming another ring. Each set of 5 mon is symbolically one ring, so there were two sets of rings touching the outer side of the tsuba's edge, the third ring. Then, to further reinforce the tsuba, a smaller ring was placed inside, therefore forming the forth ring within multiples of five. Finally I came about the two semi-circles corresponding to the kozuka-ana and kogai-ana and created the last of the five rings, hidden under a broken shape.
I don't think that it's significant is obvious. I prefer to work with symbols that are not obvious, and that through the usage of symbology, things appear to assemble themselves. I could have simulated the concentric circles of water when a stone is thrown in, but then it would not be the void. Sukashi helps reinforce the sense of void.
I knew that beauty was important, but it had to make sense.

Blade specifications:

1. Shinogi-zukuri
2. 2 inches kissaki
3. Tori-Sori
4. Sori: 2 cm
5. Nagasa: 29 inches
6. Motohaba: 3 cm
7. Sakihaba: 2.8 cm
8. Motokasane: 5.5 mm
9. Sakikasane: 5 mm
10. Nakago: 13 inches
11. Hira niku (no niku)
 

Other specifications:

a. Dark blue silk ito.
b.
Hineramaki style of tsukamaki
b. Silver habaki.
c. Silver seppa, plain style like a bevel.
d. High quality samekawa with center node.

I assisted Edson in providing the specifications while at the same time this page also helped him accompany the growth of the concept which had his inputs. Edson however is a customer who does understand my role and while he made suggestions, I explained the yes or the no using design and symbology explanations.
The customer wanted a horimono similar to my Katsujin-ken as he was touched by it.

This is the horimono kanji for the Sword of Void, Kara-no-Ken.
It is to be carved in the same place as the
Katsujin-ken.

Eric started to first render a tsuba that had less detail and then it grew into a much more detailed rendering which allowed for a full understanding.

The designs below show different parts of the designing of the fittings.

Menuki final design.

A relief view. Should be about 2 mm thick in high polished steel with the same look as silver.

Fuchi is 12 mm high and it will then be engraved here: link

The Kashira will carry 5 onyx stones, cylindrical, to form the five circle mon, and should be protruding 1 mm from the top surface. The side view here does not show it.
I personally like a kashira that has some presence, specially in a long tsuka katana.

Edson has chosen dark blue for the color, so we came up with a very simple yet elegant color combination. Blue, black and silver.

If one looks at the sky it is blue by day and black by night, so the colors are also connected with the visual symbol closest to the void, though the void that you see is not the real void.
However this is but a design concept that has to take shape.

   

Eric very much succeeded in rendering the L6 hamon, thus allowing for a better visualization of the sword before it is done or finished.

 

At the suggestion of Edson the kashira's mon will have five protruding pieces of onyx carefully placed into it. Just a relief of 1 mm so as not to interfere with the sword's handling.

 

Very much impressed by my own Katsujin-ken, Edson asked for a horimono to be placed at the shinogi-ji.


STEREOSCOPIC IMAGES BY ERIC LITTON