Hey all. Hope this doesn't get buried. So, I've been stuck in academic hell for a while, and my last act that is necessary is to write a big academic paper. So, I need the bladeforums hivemind to help!
I'm writing a paper about the cultural traditions around forging and bladesmithing, and would like to compare 2 cultures. It's got to be an anthropological/cultural focus, so just writing about chromium content and the materials science has to be incidental and not primary. Thus, it has to be around cultures with a strong reverence/tradition not just in the usage of swords/blades, but of the bladesmiths.
For obvious reasons, I've chosen Japan as one of the cultures. I'm still undecided on who to compare it to- I've gotten a strong push from my adviser, an expert in Southeast asia art (not including weapons), to do the Javanese/Indonesian kris/keris, and was supposed to talk to a longtime expert in the field. Unfortunately, this guy hasn't gotten back to me, and I refuse to be at the mercy of someone else to escape this blackhole I've been in. So, I would love suggestions (only if you can back it up with good academic sources though!) on a culture to draw a comparison with. Japan and Java were going to be a good match up because of the elaborate differential hardening and laminating that both cultures engaged in; and the fact that today both nations regard their bladesmiths with reverence.
At any rate, I appreciate the help guys. I'm assuming this is going to be a ~40 page paper, so I need to have LOTS and LOTS of sources (or a few excellent, top quality sources) and things to say. I would love to compare to European sword traditions, but most sources will be far from me, so I'll need to know quickly so I can get those sent to the university I'm working out of. So please, if you know some good sources/cultures to look at, please, please, help me out! If it sweetens the pot, I'm strongly considering a giveaway after I finish this last bit of academic torture in December.
Anyway, thanks all. Keep 'em sharp. My mind is getting blunt from all this research.