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Now on View
Museum Collection Exhibition
The World of Edo Dandyism: From Swords to Inrō
May 30, Saturday- July 20, Monday, 2015
Closed Mondays except July 20th
Hours 10 am to 5 pm
(entrance closed at 4:30 pm)
General admission Adult 1000 yen, Student 800 yen
Gallery 1
 The early summer exhibition at the Nezu Museum is The World of Edo Dandyism The extended peace of the Edo period resulted in the emergence of swords and sword fittings that were elaborately decorated with designs reflecting their owners’ taste and unswayed by former convention. They intimated the owner’s status or sophistication, or reflected the season, and became objects of obsession. Similar trends developed in the production of exceptional inrō medicine cases and netsuke toggles worn by men. This exhibition presents approximately 100 carefully selected objects focusing on swords, sword fittings and inrō from the museum’s permanent collection. We hope that you will enjoy these intricately crafted accessories that were all the rage among the Edo dandies.

Gallery Exhibits

Pair of Sword Mountings with Ears of Rice and Wild Goose Design
Japan Edo period, 19th century
The shape of the sheaths with their flaring ends coupled with the boldness of the makie designs make this long and short sword set quite striking. The long sword is decorated with a stalk of rice with thick, ripe ears of grain and the short sword bears an image of a wild goose with outspread wings executed in gold makie. Themes of agriculture and the pine shore of Miho-no-matsubara on the sword fittings express the abundant harvest of autumn.
Sword Guard with Peony and Butterfly Design By Kanō Natsuo
Japan Edo-Meiji periods, 19th century
This work depicts a boldly positioned peony flower with its center formed through a uniquely three-dimensional carving style and gold inlay. The feathery petals of the peony flutter, and it is as if one could almost smell its fragrance. The creator of this masterful work, Kanō Natsuo (1828–98), became an imperial craftsman after the Meiji Restoration.
Inrō with Wisteria and Swallows Design By Hara Yōyūsai
Japan Edo period, 19th century
A spray of wisteria in full bloom and a swallow in flight are depicted in gold and silver makie, expressing the feel of early summer. The creator, Hara Yōyūsai (1765–1845), is known as a Rinpa makie artist active in the late Edo period who executed works designed after Rinpa painter Sakai Hōitsu’s drawings.
Inrō with Boys’ Festival Design By Shibata Zeshin
Japan Edo-Meiji periods, 19th century
This is a large inrō by Shibata Zeshin (1807–91), a master craftsman of the late Edo to Meiji era. The design represents a farmer’s wife with children in her arms calling out to a peddler selling tooth-blackening dye from the window of a farmhouse. A banner for the Boys’ Day Festival is set in front of the eaves.