The Samurai Sword has long been considered the symbol of the spirit of old Japan. It has been said to be the embodiment of the samurai's code, the expression of his steel discipline, unswerving devotion, and peerless skill. It is, in addition, one of the most outstanding examples of Japan's tradition of highly skilled craftsmanship. The product of the tireless efforts of hereditary artisans, whose sole purpose in life was the achievement of perfection in their craft, the samurai sword is indeed a beautiful work of art as well as a formidable weapon. In the opinion of informed critics, both the workmanship and quality of the Japanese sword far surpass that of the Western Damascus and Toledo blades of folklore fame.