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Despite iron's rarity, they gained enough familiarity with ironworking techniques to have used wrought iron in the manufacture of swords and blades as early as 3000 BC.
The Proto-Celtic Hallstatt culture (8th century BC) were among the earliest users of iron swords.
Bladesmithing was common practice in India and the Middle East during the Middle Ages.
Due to the quality of metal found in Japan, Japanese bladesmithing became an extremely rigid, precise process, involving folding and forge-welding the steel many times over to create a laminated blade.
This technology included folding, inserting alloys, and differential hardening of the edge, which historically has been the most common technique around the world.
While the Japanese would be more influenced by the Chinese dāo (single-edged swords of various forms), the early Japanese swords known as ken are often based on the jian.
By the time of the Kamakura period (1185–1333 AD), Japan was under the rule of a military class and repelling Mongol invasions.
This became known as the "Golden era" of Japanese bladesmithing under Emperor Toba II, who became a bladesmith himself.