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The exhibit showcased some of the finer components of the Samurai's sword in the Museum's collection.

It also followed the transition of this art into other forms when the wearing of the Samurai swords were outlawed in Japan. 

The sword guard motif for the lid of the box and the dragon relief on the jars are some of the examples of work done by former sword fitting artisans.


Museum of Fine Arts Boston

Lethal Elegance

By Wan Chi Lau

There is probably no higher expression of form following function than the Japanese katana. Its simple form is the results of hundreds of years of brutal refinement forged from successes in battle.

While the blade of the katana is rarely adorned so as not to interfere with its primary purpose, the rest of the sword's fitting is another matter. In fact, the adornment of these supporting components is its own art form.

The "Lethal Elegance" exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston is a celebration of this art. Every Wednesday the Museum opens its galleries to the public for free. We took advantage of the offer and went to see the exhibit in the Asian wing today.


Photography by Wan Chi Lau
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