800 years of katana craftsmanship on display

People visiting Japan are often attracted to the beautiful and unique traditional arts, especially samurai culture.

The katana is one such item that represents the beauty of samurai culture. It is a highly functional weapon that symbolizes the formal attire and status of samurai.

The katana has established its position as an artwork exuding class and elegance, and was given as a gift to celebrate traditional rituals and prove trust-based relationships between samurai and Imperial families. Many katana are recognized as National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties by the government.

Prominent swordsmith Gassan Sadatoshi will hold an exhibition of his works at Takashimaya’s Nihonbashi Store in Tokyo’s Chuo Ward from June 14 to 20.

The exhibition, co-hosted with his father Sadaichi, who is recognized as a Living National Treasure by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, will be on the sixth floor. It will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. daily and admission is free.

The Gassan sword-making method dates back to the 12th century where it began in the shadow of the clan’s eponymous mountain in Yamagata Prefecture.

Successors to the Gassan method mastered the techniques to create the ayasugi-hada, a rolling wave pattern on the sword, in 19th century Osaka. The Gassan atelier moved to their current location of Sakurai, Nara Prefecture, in 1966, where the family skills are kept alive to this day.

Due to the Gassan family’s high-level engraving techniques, patterns such as dragons and plum blossoms, which swordsmiths usually ask experts to do, are handled in-house. Their swords are displayed in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Visitors will have an opportunity to meet Gassan Sadatoshi at the exhibition, as well as purchase Gassan creations and export them to most countries.

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