Eyes on the Spine: principles of classical tanto design
One of the most common mistakes when attempting to recreate a Japanese classical style tanto is to caricature or over exaggerate certain design elements while entirely missing others. The Japanese aesthetic is subtle and nuanced, millimeter differences can make or break the lines of a blade or koshirae.
A subtle curve is almost always more pleasing than a straight line and the eye should always trump the hard math when it comes to aesthetics, but the math is an important starting point and sticking close to it is the fastest way to the aesthetic. The illustrations and notes in this article should provide some checkpoints for the design process and work flow, as well as some elements to observe when studying antiques.
(spoiler alert: there is no kink between handle and blade, and tanto spines are straight)
View the article