Ten Wootz Steel Ingots with Bag
Not on view
Wootz is a crucible steel characterized by a pattern caused by bands of clustered iron carbide (Fe3C) particles and the presence of a large amount of carbonaceous matter, which results in greater plasticity and a higher impact hardness than seen with other types of steel, making it thus ideal for the production of edged weapons. The method of producing wootz originated in South India (present-day state of Tamil Nadu) in the mid-first millennium BCE and subsequently reached China and other regions of the Asian continent, and through the Middle and Near East Europe as well. From steel production sites, wootz was exported and traded in the form of smaller pieces of various sizes and shapes (ingots or cakes), which were then further processed by bladesmiths, etc. In the city of Damascus, the availability of wootz was the basis for the development of a local sword-making production, which soon became famous under the name of Damascus steel.