The Samegawa of a katana is the traditional wrapping material made from shark or ray skin. It is wrapped around the tsuka (handle) of the katana to provide a non-slip grip for the wielder. The samegawa is usually wrapped around a layer of tsuka-ito (silk or cotton cord) and under the tsuba (handguard) of the katana. The texture of the samegawa can vary depending on the type of stripe used and it is often decorated with traditional patterns or designs.
Real ray skin vs synthetic ray skin
It can be difficult to differentiate real stingray skin from fake, as some manufacturers use synthetic materials that closely resemble the texture and appearance of real stingray skin. However, there are a few ways to identify real stingray skin:
- Look for small bumps or pores on the surface of the material. Real ray skin has tiny bumps of irregular shape and size, while synthetic materials have a more uniform texture.
- Check the back of the material. Real ray skin has a rough, fibrous texture on the reverse side, while synthetic materials have a smooth, even texture.
- Smell the material. Real ray skin can have a slight fishy smell, unlike synthetic materials.
- Check for elasticity. Real ray skin has some flexibility or elasticity when pressed, while synthetic materials can be stiff and inflexible.
- Consider the price. Real ray skin is a premium material and can be expensive. If a product is priced significantly lower than comparable items, it may indicate that it is made from synthetic materials.
It is important to note that some manufacturers may use genuine stingray skin for the visible parts of the handle and synthetic materials for the hidden parts. Therefore, it is always best to research and purchase from a reputable source if you are looking for genuine stingray skin.