The Saya, the Japanese sword terminology for the scabbard.
The Saya contains the sword when it is not being drawn or removed for cleaning, in the traditional form they are made of wood, carved in two pieces to fit exactly the blade and then glued together to form a whole piece. Then the wood of the Saya is protected and ornamented with a lacquered finish of varnish and paints in different colours and finishes, or even in ages past bound in different types of animal skins.
Part of the furniture of the Saya includes the ‘Kurikata’, or cord knob, that holds the Saigo cord in place, and sometimes there is a ‘Kojiri’, which is metal cap that fits over the end of a Saya protecting the wood from damage.
So is the purpose of the saya to simply protect the blade from damage or the swordsman from the blades sharp edge? What if it is a cloak masking the latent danger that resides within? Or is its purpose to signal to the knowing observer the mindset and skill of the swordsman? It would appear if it serves all of these!
All sword movements begin with the swords draw and end with the re-sheath, so the saya is truly part of this whole, the beginning and the end. So don’t be fooled by a saya’s plainness, or wary if it’s very ornate, you may say; never judge a book by its cover or the swords man by his saya!
For we don’t always see all that there is to see, and we don’t always know all what there is to know.
His hand on the Tsuka, sword resting easy within the Saya.
Posture relaxed, dialogue prefered.
State your intention!
Blade now partially revealed.
A mere flash.
The strike swift and true the threat now over.
The sword now back within the saya,
Tranquility and harmony no longer disturbed.