Monday, October 14, 2013

Samurai Sword Symposium! (Photo/Video/Sake)

I got a notice from the Dallas Japanese American Society of the following event:

"In partnership with Kokusai Tosogu Kai (KTK), an international non-profit group devoted to the study, research and publication of accouterments of the Japanese Samurai Sword, the Crow Collection welcomes collectors of Japanese Arms from across the world for an afternoon discussion in the galleries."

While hardly a collector I did hope I might see or hear something interesting. Boy, was I not disappointed! I'd call the event a stunning success - well organized, well presented and with high content value. Unfortunately, what the notice did not tell me was that it was an RSVP event. Heck, it might even have been a Crow Museum members only event. Yikes!


The Trammel Crow building with attendant museum is surrounded with Asian influences. I got there early to take a few pics:



Buddhist monk sweeping framed by Museum Tower,
a place of million dollar condos.

Crow7 In my version of this the sweeping monk finds no serenity
but rather has a disgruntled I-want-a-fucking-weekend-pass look.


My name naturally was not on the RSVP list but the woman at the table graciously took my name to be on the waiting list. I hung around to look at the awesome Kusho exhibit:

(Google pic. I was too afraid to take one of my own)

A couple of minutes before the start I was called over and let into the symposium. The displays were a bit overwhelming at first and feeling like an interloper I hunkered down in my chair. An elderly gent sitting next to me had an old Musashi book (Miyamoto Musashi is considered the most skilled swordsman of all time). He flipped through a few pages of it before his wife swatted him down fearing he was boring me.


There was a series of short lectures followed by breaks where everyone dispersed to the exhibits to ask inquiring questions. I was particularly delighted when they specifically pointed towards the Sengoku Jidai (era of warring states) period of Japan. Warfare turned professional during those times and thus the weaponry followed suit. The craft of sword-making was also discussed and finally a few hints in starting your own collection.

Crow24 This fellow flew in from Japan. Another was from Australia. This was no mean event!


Crow28 Small knife slides into the indentation of the scabbard below.

Crow30 From the Nakamura collection, first time outside of Japan. Boy, did it hold some treasure!

Provenance for this tsuba (sword guard) is attributed to Musashi!
My friend was especially excited when he saw this because
there was a picture of it in his Musashi book.

But this got my blood flowing: an Oda Nobunaga tsuba!!
Oda (first of the three great unifiers) is the warlord who most interests me
and to find a relic of his was both fascinating and thrilling.

Crow34 From the host's own personal collection.

The host, the speakers and the exhibitors all displayed a keen passion for swords as an art and also for Japan, understanding that the art must be placed into context to gain full appreciation. It was almost religious in nature, anxious to gather us into the fold to be as excited as they were. To be a serious collector is to easily spend into six figures so that was of no interest to me. But I certainly enjoyed the company of collectors for one day!

Click here to view the entire photo set

A few moves from the discipline of sword strikes

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