Chronicles of the Warriors: Japanese Swords x Ukiyo-e from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Into the World of the Chronicles of Warriors!

“Musha-e” depicts the heroes that appear in Japanese legends and war epics such as The Heike monogatari. From Hishikawa Moronobu, considered the father of ukiyo-e, to Utagawa Kuniyoshi of the late Edo period, many ukiyo-e artists have illustrated warriors in their works. In addition to well-known warriors such as Minamoto no Yorimitsu, Minamoto no Yoshitsune, Uesugi Kenshin, and Takeda Shingen, legendary fighters like Susano-o no Mikoto and women warriors such as Tomoe Gozen are also portrayed.

Musha-e has remained widely popular in Japan as this traditional genre of art has been practiced and passed down through generations.

Through a carefully curated selection from the world-renowned, first-class Japanese art collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the finest swords, action-packed ukiyo-e prints, and tsuba sword mountings with correlating imagery will be featured in this dynamic exhibition of brave heroes and their feats!

Tsuba with design of Minamoto no Yorimitsu (Raikô) confronting the Earth Spider (Tsuchigumo) by Namekawa Sadakatsu, 19th century
Charles Goddard Weld Collection

Pick Up! Story of HEORES Pick Up! Story of HEORES Pick Up! Story of HEORES

The Earth Spider Slain by Raikō's Retainers (Minamoto Yorimitsu no Shitennō tsuchigumo taiji no zu) by Utagawa Kuniyoshi, c. 1839-40
William Sturgis Bigelow Collection

Slaying the Earth Spider

STORY

One evening, as Minamoto no Yorimitsu lies to rest, a monster appears—a giant spider casts a line towards him! Yorimitsu grabs his sword Hizamaru by his pillow, and strikes!
When Yorimitsu’s retainers follow the bloody trail, they see…

Find out what happens next in the exhibition!
Famous swords from the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston return for a homecoming after being away for half a century! Famous swords from the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston return for a homecoming after being away for half a century! Famous swords from the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston return for a homecoming after being away for half a century!

Sword of the tachi type signed: Osahune Jū Kanemitsu, 14th century
Charles Goddard Weld Collection

Mounting for a sword of the tachi type with decoration of crests, 17th century 
Charles Goddard Weld Collection

Photographs © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Sword of the Tachi type signed: Chōen (Usumidori),
12th Century, Private Collection *Only in Tokyo venue and Hyogo venue

This exhibition features one of the Genji’s most prized swords (renamed several times as Hizamaru, Kumokiri, and Usumidori) along with other well-known swords from various locations within Japan

2022.1.21-3.25 森アーツセンターギャラリー

(52F, Roppongi Hills Mori Tower)

Venue Website

Organizers: Nikkei Inc./ Museum of Fine Arts, Boston/ TV TOKYO Corporation/ BS TV TOKYO Corporation/ Mori Arts Center Gallery

【Other Venues】
The Niigata Bandaijima Art Museum
April 23(Sat) – June 19 (Sun), 2022 (TBD)
Shizuoka City Museum of Art
July 2 (Sat) – August 28 (Sun), 2022
Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art
September 10(Sat) – November 20 (Sun), 2022 (TBD)

Page Top