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Museo d'Arte Orientale, Venezia


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Hi All,

 

These days I am visiting my elderly mother in North-Eastern Italy for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, so I took the opportunity to go to the Asian Art Museum (Museo d'Arte Orientale) in Venice (see also here for a virtual 3D tour). I am sorry to say that the exhibition feels old-fashioned and somewhat disappointing: the artifacts are amassed in dark vitrines with little context and no attribution, and it is left to the viewer to pick the good stuff from the background noise.

 

For what concerns Nihonto, I recall hundreds of undistinguished koshirae, three or four vitrines of sword fittings (including some really nice stuff, unfortunately the reflections on the glass prevented me from taking decent pictures), one vitrine of arrowheads, one vitrine of bare tanto blades with showy horimono, and finally one vitrine with fifteen bare sword blades:

 

 

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The surprise came when I looked closer: many of the blades sported big, fat fingerprints!!!

 

 

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I got hold of two staff members and showed them the problem, they told me that they would report it to the person in charge of the conservation. However, it did not look like they were taking me too seriously: at first they thought I was referring to the hamon, my reaction to that was a bit piqued...;-)

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WOW Thank you for sharing. The shame about the fingerprints and the lack of caring on the keepers part is the same reason other Great Pieces of Art are lost for ever or destroyed.
    MikeR

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Hi Ken,

I agree; most museums are graveyards for Nihonto.  But there was one exhibition at a museum in the US that was most impressive:

https://www.japaneseswordbooksandtsuba.com/store/books/b475-art-samurai-metropolitan-museum

18, I think, Kokuho (National Treasure), including the O-Kanehira.  That was a spectacular show.

Grey

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7 hours ago, ROKUJURO said:

Pietro,

I found the same in a German museum - and worse! They had a scissors sharpener 'restore' their blades......:steamed: 

Where Jean?

Can you remember the name of the museum?

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I have been to the Museum many times, this is the first time I see this happening. I proceeded to report it to the Director of the Museum who immediately went to check.

In addition, those blades are only touched with gloves, so I think they may be "fingerprints of fabric ".

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