The Manggha Museum is pleased to present a unique exhibition to the general public: Japanese militaria from the collection of General Sławomir Petelicki. Though not very extensive, this assembly offers a fine insight into the diversity of weapons and protective equipment, as well as the Japanese need and feel for beauty, even in this area of human endeavour which to Europeans may seem somewhat unrelated to aesthetic expectations. The exhibits include a suit of armour and a variety of swords: tachi, katana, wakizashi, tantō, aikuchi and guntō, with examples of both austere and sumptuous mountings.
The Japanese are a nation that has for centuries attached tremendous importance to all forms of combat and warfare, and to related skills, and they have always placed high value on objects used in this field. The sword was traditionally the most important element of their armament, which was reflected in its high rank. Fashioned from steel with unique properties, it was the perfect weapon.
Japanese swords were characterized by their elegant form, superb structure, and the hues of the blade metal. For more than twelve centuries this weapon has had a spiritual aspect and religious significance for the Japanese. It has long been a symbol of knightly virtues, honour, courage, and loyalty.
We hope that the specimens on display will acquaint the Polish public with the characteristic features of the most important Japanese military artefacts and their unique aesthetic qualities.
This exhibition is the Manggha Museum’s second take on the subject of the Japanese sword. The first one was our 2010 presentation of swords from several Polish private collections, entitled ‘Beauty Forged in Steel’. We have scheduled another for next year (2019): it will be our pleasure and honour to exhibit weapons loaned for our display by the Bizen Osafune Sword Museum in Japan.