Bizen Province, now the southwest area of Okayama, was once known as the sword kingdom.
Possessing talented bladesmiths and nearby high-quality raw materials accessible by water transportation, Bizen produced the most swords in Japan during the Heian Period (794-1185), beating Yamashiro, Yamato, Sagami and Minohe, the other popular sword-making areas.
This exhibition traces the history of Bizen swords, starting with early Ko-Bizen (ancient Bizen) works, and looks into the styles of other schools, such as Fukuoka Ichimonji and Osafune Kanemitsu. It includes four Important Cultural Properties and 11 other important masterpieces.
Also on display is a special exhibit of three National Treasure "Inaba Tenmoku" Jian-ware tea bowls. (Yukari Tanaka)