From the end of Edo Period (1603-1867) into the Meiji Era (1868-1912), Japanese arts and crafts experienced major changes. Sword and sword-accessory-related metalwork, in particular, was affected by the opening of Japan to the West and its influences.
During the Edo Period, Japanese metalwork supported itself through the samurai demand for swords. The collapse of the shogunate and the domain system, however, led to an 1876 law banning samurai from wearing swords.
Swordsmiths turned to honing their skills and boosting the artistic value of their work with meticulously crafted and decorated objects.
On display are around 170 pieces from the collection of Kyoto’s Kiyomizu Sannenzaka Museum in Higashiyama Ward, a museum that was established to re-evaluate such works; till May 29.
Osaka Museum of History, (06) 6946-5728, 4-1-32 Otemae, Chuo-ku, Osaka; in front of Tanimachi 4-chome Station (Exit 9), Tanimachi and Chuo lines. 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. (Fri., till 8 p.m.) ¥800. Closed Tues. www.mus-his.city.osaka.jp.