Stefan Maeder:


Steels, Stones and Snakes

The cultural and technological significance of Early Medieval Sword-Blades

(in German, with English summary)




Hardcover, 227 pp., 80 figs., 41 in colour

ISBN 978-3-033-01931-7

Solothurn 2009

Price: 30,00 Euro, shipping: EEC: 6,90 Euro;

USA, Australia, Asia: 12,00 Euro


Available only by advance-payment (Bank Transfer, Paypal) from:





            The first extensively researched comparison of sword-making and sword-polishing between Japan and Europe is available now as an illustrated book. It is published as No. 24 in the Series of Studies from the Old Arsenal Museum in Solothurn, Switzerland. The historical and technological significance of the craft of the sword-polisher is demonstrated as well as the perspectives for European Archaeology when adopting the Japanese method of sword-appraisal.



            These points are illustrated by three early-medieval sword-blades from Southern Germany, which are the first European blades to have been polished and documented in Japan according to the traditional methods. The polish was carried out by the Art Sword Polisher Takushi Sasaki. A variety of hitherto unpublished written and pictorial sources for the history of surface-technology as well as macro-photographs of the polished blades allow for a new evaluation of the level of European sword-makers. There are more than 80 figures, 41 of which are rendered in colour. The book contains summaries in English and Japanese, as well as an extensive bibliography. As it has been published in a quite moderate number it will undergo the same fate as most publications in the field of ancient arms and armour: unavailable soon.