Exhibition from the Collection of the Shusui Museum of Art
Bizen Swords: A Pedigree of Function and Beauty
Fri., December.21.2018 ～ Sun., May.26
Long ago, Kibi Province once spanned the entirety of modern-day Okayama Prefecture, the eastern part of Hiroshima Prefecture, and the western part of Hyogo Prefecture, and since ancient times, the region was known for its iron. During the Nara period (8th c.), Kibi was divided into the four provinces of Bizen, Bitchu, Bingo, and Mimasaka, and Bizen in particular went on to flourish as a center of swordmaking.
From the mid to late Heian period (10th to 12th c.), Japanese swords developed the iconic form they would come to be known for, and Bizen Province produced such swordmakers as Tomonari and Masatsune. Starting around that era, numerous smiths took up residence in the Yoshii River basin in particular, and Bizen became medieval Japan’s largest producer of swords. The Bizen swords that still remain today tell us, through the inscriptions mentioning years on many of them, about the various ups and downs experienced by these smiths and their various schools of swordmaking over some 500 years, making them incredibly valuable as historical research materials.
This exhibition features Bizen swords belonging to the museum’s collection, organized by era and by school to show the changes over time by swordmakers and their work, all displayed so as to best show off their beauty and unique highlights. We hope that visitors will enjoy this opportunity to experience the characteristics of these swords, such as their beautiful jigane and their bright, clear hamon patterns.
*¥800 per person for groups of 20 or more.
Second Half of Exhibition: Fri., Mar. 1 to Sun., May 26, 2019
Concurrent Exhibition in the 3F Exhibition Room:
New Year Exhibition from the Museum Collection — Fri., Dec. 21, 2018 to Sun., Feb. 24, 2019
Ryohei Koiso Exhibition — Fri., Mar. 1 to Sun., May 26, 2019
Gallery Talk: Introduction to Japanese Swords
Second Sun. of each month at 14:00 (requires admission ticket)
Toyama City Collection Exhibition
Fri., July.30.2021 ～ Mon., August.09
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Sword-Sharpening Demonstration by Expert Polisher Ichiro Yokai
Sun., November.25.2018 ～ Sun., December.09
【 Lobby outside the 2F Exhibition Room, Shusui Museum of Art】
Ichiro Yokai is an expert polisher based in Takaoka City, Toyama Prefecture, and an award winner in the Sharpening Division of the Contemporary Swords and Artworks Exhibition. In celebration of this achievement, the museum has invited him to give a demonstration of sharpening a Japanese sword. Overview: (1) Sun., Nov. 25, 2018: Shitaji-Togi I The initial steps of shitaji-togi (foundation polishing): a polishing stone known as a kongoto is used to remove any rust and to neaten the shape of the sword. (2) Sun., Dec. 9, 2018: Shitaji-Togi II The final steps of shitaji-togi: a polishing stone known as an uchigumori is used to remove tiny bits of scrap material caught in the rough surface of the stone used in the initial steps. The raised wooden platform used by the polisher for sword-sharpening work is called a togibune. The polisher fills the bucket with water, and sits on a low wooden bench, leaning forward while polishing the sword. The entire process of sharpening and polishing a Japanese sword to a beautiful shine, from shitaji-togi through final finish polishing, involves a number of different polishing stones.
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Special Workshop by Hirofumi Adachi “I’m Picasso! And I Am Too!”
【Soka Seminar Room, 1F Mori Shusui Museum of Art】
During this event, participants draw one another’s faces, starting with nothing but a blank canvas and colored markers. Artist Hirofumi Adachi provides commentary. After the participants finish their spontaneous works of art, they are placed on display in the 1F Gallery of the museum.
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