May 30-July 20

During the peaceful latter part of the Edo Period (1603-1868), samurai katana swords evolved from being just weapons into status symbols and luxurious accessories. Rarely used in combat, they were embellished to become symbolic fashion items for samurai dandies.

The status of katana owners could be identified from the decorative work on various parts of the swords, such as their fittings, square guards and grips. The trend to decorate also extended to inro medicine cases and netsuke straps, which are also on display in this exhibition of around 100 works.

Nezu Museum; 6-5-1 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo. Omotesando Stn. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. ¥1,000. Closed Mon. 03-3400-2536; www.nezu-muse.or.jp

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