DECORATIVE ARTS, JEWELRY, CERAMICS, TEXTILES

PUBLISHER
MFA Publications

BOOK FORMAT
Clothbound, 8.5 x 9.25 in. / 250 pgs.

PUBLISHING STATUS
Pub Date
Out of print

DISTRIBUTION
D.A.P. Exclusive
Catalog: FALL 2004

PRODUCT DETAILS
ISBN 9780878466795 TRADE
List Price: $50.00 CDN $60.00

AVAILABILITY
Not available

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MFA PUBLICATIONS

Lethal Elegance

Samurai Sword Fittings

Essay by Joe Earle.

As the “soul of the samurai,” the sword is famously both the symbol and instrument of Japanese military prowess. Less known, at least in the West, is its role as a fashion accessory or status symbol. And more than the weapon itself, it was the sword's metal fittings--from the hand guard to the small decorative plates on the hilt--that reflected the complexities of samurai life. Some fittings were meant to convey the honor and self-control expected of a samurai while on official duty, while other, more flamboyant ones reflected his leisure-time persona as “man about town.” Later, when the wearing of swords spread beyond the samurai class, both the decorative function of the fittings and the variety of their designs sharply increased, leading to some of the most sophisticated and accomplished metalwork ever created. Lethal Elegance presents 150 of these remarkable sword fittings, and is one of the few books in a Western language to focus on the visual presentation, rather than the function or culture of the sword. It discusses the many effects achieved with different alloys, the evolution of fittings in relation to changes in warfare, the symbolism of particular motifs, and standards for connoisseurship. Nearly all these fittings were once owned by trained swordsmen, and the weapons they ornamented could surely inflict fatal wounds. But their extraordinary variety and beauty, lavishly illustrated and carefully presented by Joe Earle, also reveal them as marvels of self-expression and personal style.
Lethal Elegance

STATUS: Out of print | 5/18/2011

For assistance locating a copy, please see our list of recommended out of print specialists

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