The Met Experience

The MET Museum is home to many vintage and antique artifacts, sculptures, painting, etc, that goes way back to possibly the B.C. time period. Even though I couldn’t make it to this field trip, I have been to the museum before. I was truly amazed and inspired by their sculptures. This time I explored their virtual exhibitions, and the one that caught my attention was Samurai Splendor: Sword Fittings from Edo Japan. 

Blade and Mounting for a Short Sword (Wakizashi) Artist: Owari-Seki (Japanese, active 17th century) Medium: Steel, wood, lacquer, ray skin (same), baleen, copper-gold alloy (shakudō), copper (hiirodō)

This sword was crafted by a swordsmith in 17th century Japan. What’s unique about this sword is that it is made of multiple alternating layers of copper-gold alloy and dark red copper, which are carved in a spiral manner to reveal the layers. I chose this piece because I was attracted to its vintage feel and style. Also its color and polka a dot pattern.

Portraits of Twenty-eight Metal Artists Artist: Kitao Shigemasa Medium: Woodblock print; ink and color on paper Size: 20 1/8 × 14 1/4 in.

This is an ink portrait of Japan’s twenty eight of the most influential metal artists or sword fitting makers of the Edo period. This portrait is depicting the initiators of the renaissance movement of the sword craft in Japan. Sitting at the very top, Yokoya Somin, is celebrated as The Godfather of this movement. This artwork was interesting due to the fact that these artists were very much depicted like the European Godfathers of the Renaissance, who have started a new art movement, but this time it was swords.

Album of Designs for Metal Carving (Chōsen Cafu) Artist: Ranzan Tsuneyuki Medium: Ink on paper, pasted into a bound volume Size: H. 9 in. (22.9 cm); W. 6 1/2 in. (16.5 cm); D. 1 1/2 in. (3.8 cm)

This is the personal sketchbook of sword fittings maker Ranzan Tsuneyuki . The sketchbook contains monochrome and colored pen and ink sketches as well as drawings of existing works that served the artist as model and as inspiration alike. What amazed me was the mastery and skill it took to draw these beautifully sketched sword fittings along with other sketches of nature and patterns.