During the Edo period, musha-e was a popular genre along with Hokusai’s landscapes, Utamaro’s bijinga, and Sharaku’s yakusha-e. This exhibition aims to introduce the musha-e world through the unparalleled collection of Japanese art of the MFA.
118 musha-e have been selected from the approximately 50,000 ukiyo-e prints in the MFA collection. They include prints by famous artists, such as Hishikawa Moronobu, members of the Katsukawa school, Utagawa Kunisada, Utagawa Kuniyoshi, and Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, and will be on display for the very first time in Japan! Preserved in excellent condition, the prints retain their fresh and bright colors.
27 tsuba sword mountings that have musha-e related imagery, such as Minamoto no Yorimitsu’s Earth Spider and Ushiwakawaru and Benkei’s Gojō Bridge, will be exhibited together with the ukiyo-e prints.
Twenty precious swords, ranging in date from the time of Yasutsuna in the Heian period to the end of the Edo period, will be featured from the MFA’s collection of around 600 blades. Swords recently gifted from the W. A. Compton Oriental Arts Foundation will be among them!
Well-known swords such as Chōen, one of the Genji’s most prized swords (renamed several times as Hizamaru, Kumokiri and Usumidori) and Uesugi Kenshin’s cherished sword by Rai Kunitoshi will be on show from collections in Japan.