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Dandyism and the Sword
Exhibition of Swords and Koshirae Fittings and Mountings from the Collection of the Shusui Museum of Art

Sat., September.01.2018 ~ Sun., November.18

We are pleased to present this Dandyism and the Sword exhibition, showing off sword blades, koshirae fittings, armor, and other items from the Japanese sword collection of the Mori Shusui Museum of Art, with a focus on items to which sword fittings would be attached.

Because Japanese swords were, at their core, ultimately weapons, user safety was a prerequisite, necessitating tsuka hilts, tsuba handguards, saya scabbards, and other fittings. Many decorated sword fittings have been found dating back to the Kofun period (ca. 3rd to 7th c.), suggesting that this tendency already existed even by that time. Decorated swords were a way for influential individuals to flaunt their power to those around them. Due to their association with authority figures, sword fittings developed over time into works of art carried primarily by nobles and the samurai, with designs changing to fit the tastes of each era.

On the whole, the Edo period (ca. 1600–1870) was an era of peace, spared from the bloody upheaval that defined the Warring States period before it. As a result, swords took on more of a symbolic meaning, and many ornately decorated items were produced during this time. There were also master artisans who specialized in sword fittings, and their work was as highly treasured as the swords’ blades themselves. However, the official decree banning the wearing of swords following the Meiji Restoration led to many swordmakers, metalworkers, and other sword-related artisans losing their jobs. These artisans had staked their livelihoods on works of art, created through their exceptional skill and technique; they paved the way for the uniquely Japanese art that would blossom through the country’s transition into the modern age and on to the present day.

For this exhibition, the 2F Exhibition Room features both sword blades and the fittings and mountings used with them, while the 3F Exhibition Room features armor, horse harnesses, and other related items. We invite visitors to explore the beautiful designs on these samurai swords, koshirae fittings, and armor, as well as the exquisite artisanry that went into their making.

Date/Venue
Sat., September.01.2018 ~ Sun., November.18
Open:
10:00 to 18:00 (last admission at 17:30)
Closed:
Mon. (open if Mon. is a holiday, then closed the following day)
Admission:
Adults ¥1,000*, ages 15–17 ¥500, ages 14 and under free.
*¥800 per person for groups of 20 or more.
Gallery Talk: Introduction to Japanese Swords — Second Sun. of each month at 14:00 (requires admission ticket)

Events
Iai Sword-Drawing Demonstration
14:00 to 15:00 on Sun., Nov. 4 (requires admission ticket)
Held in the Soka seminar room, 1F Mori Shusui Museum of Art; approx. 40 participants (no reservations necessary)
Standing room also available if all seats are occupied.

Related event

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Talk Event by Shigeyuki Yamamoto, Honorary President of the Toyama Municipal Family Park Zoo
“Reading the Scenery of an Era through Pictures”

Sun., December.17.2017

【Soka Seminar Room, 1F Mori Shusui Museum of Art】

The museum’s current exhibition, Mountains Clad in Autumn, Sleeping in Winter: The Four Seasons in Modern Japanese Paintings, features a number of works depicting animals and nature. At this fun talk event, Shigeyuki Yamamoto, the honorary president of the Toyama Municipal Family Park Zoo, discusses the works on display at this exhibition, and shares anecdotes from his personal life, with a focus on the beauty and wonder of animals and nature. Background Information on Shigeyuki Yamamoto Honorary president of the Toyama Municipal Family Park Zoo. After graduating from Takaoka High School, attended the Ritsumeikan University College of Social Sciences (dropped out). Yamamoto returned to Toyama, drawn by a combination of his interest in participating in the planning of Toyama Municipal Family Park Zoo, and the allure of the Northern Alps. He has been involved in the operation of Toyama Municipal Family Park Zoo and the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums ever since. In April of 2017, he resigned from his role as president of Toyama Municipal Family Park Zoo, and was appointed as honorary president. Regular Publication: “Discussions on Various Topics: People and Animals, in Villages, Mountains, and Hot Springs,” published every Tuesday in Kyodo NEWSmart (starting Apr. 2, 2017)...

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