Bizen (the southeast part of modern-day Okayama prefecture) has been known as “the kingdom of Japanese swords” for its excellent swordsmanship and overwhelming amount of production because of its geographic location, which is blessed with the high quality raw materials and being a center of water-transportation. The strong appearance and opulent flowery patterns on its blades are known as the characteristics of Bizen swords which have fascinated many people including samurai and generals since the Heian period to present. The Seikado Art Museum is famous for its splendid collection of Bizen swords and thus has been named as “the treasure box of Bizen swords.”
For this exhibition, some 30 swords with the seal of swordsmithes (including four designated as National Important Cultural Property and 11 as National Important Art Object) were chosen mainly from the Seikado collection in order to trace the history of creation spanning from its early days of “Kobizen” (old Bizen) to various schools of swordmaking such as Ichimonji, Osafune, Hatakeda, Yoshii and Ukai, alongside the collection of sword equipment by the generations of Gotō Family who had been commissioned by the Shogunate.
In addition to the swords, a fantastic yōhen tenmoku tea bowl (“Inaba Tenmoku”; designated as National Treasure) is also exhibited.