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Korean Swords

An ancient and proud tradition!

Home
Korean Sword History
Korea's most famous sword manufacturers
Other Korean Swordsmiths and Manufacturers
Simple Directory
Korean Sword Anatomy
Interviews with experts
Unjangdo
Conclusions

Conclusions

Magnificent Kings Sword by Lee Sang Seon
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Short swords in Kyongju National Museum
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About this site

 

A few months ago I looked for information about Korean swords on the Internet. Though there are many sites about Korean swords in Korean language, I was surprised to find very, very little in English. 

 

In many ways history has been tough on Korea.  It's a relatively small nation with much larger neighbors, so Koreans have had to be tough and philosophical  just to survive. 

 

My only regret in researching, writing and otherwise compiling this site it that I would liked to have had more time to do a better job.  Hopefully in the future I can come back and improve it.  All errors and oversights are mine and mine alone.

 

If the visitor to this site should have information or photos useful to this site, please e-mail them to me at the address on the front page.

 

I would like to thank many people who helped me in researching and constructing this site.  They include Konyang University EFL Lecturer Mr. Kim Dammers, who was relentless in his academic research and acumen and Ms. Lee Joung Hee, who served as primary translator for almost all interviews.  A Konyang University student, Kim Mi-young did most of the research finding the swordsmiths and manufacturers for me to interview.   Many Konyang university students also helped translating, including Un Te-Kun, Cho Jung-yun and Jang Kyung-hui.   Finally, I need to thank the Korean swordsmiths and manufacturers who were - one and all - extremely kind, gracious, patient and generous.

 

Gregory C. Brundage

June, 2006

Sword made by Kang Cheul Kyu
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Korean Swordsmiths Conclusions

Though there are great variations between Koreas few master swordsmiths and manufacturers, they also have many things in common.

 

For one thing they are individuals of passion and character.  These rare individuals have devoted themselves to furthering an art that was lost in Korea 100 years ago.  They have connected in some way with the primordial spirit of ancient Korea and brought it magnificently back to life through the crafting of their swords.

 

They are awesome scientists in their willingness to experiment with different procedures to make the finest swords.  They are peerless artists in the awesome beauty of their work.

 

They are certainly rugged pioneers who have braved to seek their own paths in the jungles of the modern world.  They have found that the beauty and power of the ancient world as expressed in swordsmithing and manufacturing is enough to sustain an existence in a world that is increasingly devoted to empty image-making and mindless trivia. 

 

Theirs is an undervalued universe that deserves respect and admiration.  No amount of money can really compensate for the love and passion that goes into their work.

 

On the other hand:

 

Unfortunately, some of the “manufacturers” don’t know much about Korean sword history and design.  Their swords look good, but are not the genuine articles.  Some just buy from cheep Chinese sources, sell them as “Korean swords” and laugh all the way to the bank.  It was Kang Cheul Kyu who first told me this.  Then Han Jong-Chil said the same thing.  Finally, Lee Seok Je hammered the point home, refusing to be on the same page with some of the manufacturers I had interviewed, saying they were fakes who knew nothing about Korean swords.  In other words: Buyer beware!  The one manufacturer I know for sure to be selling fake swords, I eliminated from this site.  A couple of others still may lurk here.  It is usually true, that one gets what one pays for. 

 

Gregory Brundage

June, 2006

 

 

Contact me with comments or questions:
greg_brundage@yahoo.com