As part of our humanities class, we went on a field trip to the Tokyo National Museum. Earlier in the day we had gone to the zoo, but after lunch we walked over to the museum. Our unit in humanities class is about the silk road, so we were going to look at old Japanese artifacts to see if they had any connections to other countries. Unfortunately, only the Japanese exhibit was open, not the overall Asian one, so there weren’t very many connections. We had to take research notes on three to five exhibits, so I did four: a Tiered Stand, a flowered Dish, a Katana Sword, and an old Backgammon Board.
Out of those four, my favourite one was the sword. A man named Mr. Watanabe Seiichiro made the Katana Sword. It was made during the Kamakura – Nanbokucho period, 14th century, in a place called Soshu, which is now the Kanagawa Prefecture. By looking at the information in the museum, I think he might have been trying to impress his father, Masamune, because it said that it was so good it could have been made by him. Masamune was genius at sword making, his work including narrow and wide swords. The Katane Sword is one his best works, with a shining, slightly curved blade.
This exhibit was one that didn’t connect to any other countries, probably because the style was completely Japanese. One of the reasons the sword attracted my attention was because it looked really interesting and stood out from the other exhibits. It’s also known as the Ki’ko Sadamune, because of the tortoise shell pattern engraved on the handle. Because it was one of the most amazing swords from it’s time, it was marked as a national treasure.
The Tiered Stand was made by Hon’ami Koetsu during the Edo period, in the 17th century. It looks like a stand with drawers and open spaces to store things. I chose to look at it because it was one of the first things I saw, and it was marked as and Important Cultural Property. The flowered Dish was donated to the museum by Dr. Yokogawa Tamisuke. It’s a flowered plant design plate with a blue underglaze and an enamel overglaze that was made during the Edo period in the 18th century. I noticed it because it didn’t look Japanese, which it wasn’t. It was actually based on a Chinese design that used to be really popular. The old Backgammon Board was made sometime during the 16th and 17th centuries. It’s a bit of a mystery, because bothe the creator and where it was made is unknown. I chose it because I recognised the game board. I noticed that the game is the same, but it looks a bit different. The places where there are now long triangles, there used to be rectangles instead.
Not many of the exhibits have connections to the silk road (as expected) but going to the museum was still a fun and interesting experience, because we hadn’t actually had any regular field trips this year until yesterday. I hope we can do something like this again soon!