Amateur sword wavers really should not be using authentic artefacts to practice their tameshigiri at home. Sword collecting is quite a popular hobby in Poland (home after all of the winged hussars). There are a lot of copies and fakes around, which of course is fine if all one wants is a decorative item to give a home a particular "feel". I was quite taken with the products of a Polish blacksmith who I came across on the Internet (Edward Pajewski of Stargard Szczecinski, trading on the internet as murarz-kazik: 'Kazimierz the bricklayer') who has taken this a step further. Among his other activities, he produces near-copies of Early Medieval and Medieval swords but treats them in some way to make them look like dugups that have been "cleaned" (stripped) electrochemically and the effect is quite realistic. An interesting addition to home decor. The one pictured here (auction ending today) is not a very convincing copy technically, but some of the "Viking" swords he was offering earlier were closer to the originals in concept. I liked his work so much I am going to give him a free plug here (spelling corrected):
Witam, od wielu [lat] zajmujemy się prawdziwym kowalstwem, wykonujemy ogrodzenia, bramy, balustrady schodowe i balkonowe, mebelki, wieszaki, lampy, świeczniki... oraz mieczyki, o których dwa lata temu było bardzo głośno, kiedy to pewne organy ścigania odzyskały miecze robione u nas, a ogłoszono sukces - odzyskania skarbów narodowych. Ze wstępnych badań wynikało, że mają po 1000 lat, więc jak widać przy robocie się staramy : ). Cena 150 [zł] jest ceną za metr prostego ogrodzenia bez cynku i malowania. Wykonujemy indywidualne projekty klienta. [...] Zobacz inne moje aukcje .For those who do not read the lingo, he boasts that two years ago "certain authorities" seized swords he had made and announced that national treasures had been saved, and that initial investigations showed that they were "a thousand years old" - "so you can see that we try hard in our work".
Among the many re-enactment groups we have in Poland, "being a Viking" is also very popular. There is a reconstructed "Viking fort" to the north of Warsaw where various events are organized in the summer). If one wants to wave a newer-looking Viking sword around dressed in the authentic kit to get the "feel", these too are available on the Internet from specialist suppliers.
On Friday I came home from work on the underground with a group of long-haired pikemen in linen tunics and pretty authentic looking turnshoes on their way to the station to go to some medieval battle or other. I have friends in the reenactment community, and while some treat it just as a bit of fun, or have some rather romantic notions, when you talk to some of them, they have a deep knowledge of various aspects of the past they are trying to recreate (as do many reenactors generally). Unlike collectors, these people of course (also "passionate about the past") have absolutely no antagonism towards archaeologists or historians. On the contrary.
I really do not see that one has to participate in the antiquities trade to "express a connection" with the past or get the feel of a period or whatever. Even if mere "book knowledge" is not enough, or beyond you.