"In no other culture has the sword been developed to such a level of technological excellence, and attained such a position of spiritual importance, as in Japan. The swords made for the samurai, the hereditary warrior class, were both practical weapons and objects of intrinsic beauty. More highly prized than lands and riches, swords of superior quality have been handed down from generation to generation. This catalogue examines the history of the Japanese sword from the first introduction of iron blades from China in the Yayoi period (c. 300 BC - c. AD 300) to its last practical use in the nineteenth century. The varying hues and patterns of the crystalline structures of the steel, created by the forging of the blade, were considered the most important aesthetic element of the sword, and by the tenth century AD were seen as an expression of the craftsmen's individual skill. The authors examine the development of this tradition and the different schools of blade forging. Swords of the finest quality are shown from each of the main periods, from major Japanese collections and the British Museum, together with examples of mountings and accessories, helmets and armour worn by the samurai, as well as paintings and other documents reflecting contemporary fashions. With 23 colour and 125 black and white illustrations."
Book in very good condition.