This gorgeous sword is 150 years old, comparatively new in the ancient world of Japanese swords, which first appear in the history of the Kofun era (300 to 538 AD). The detailed phoenix motifs in the opulently decorated sheath are frequently found in items created for the imperial household. Japanese swords in general refer to the curved blades made after the Heian period, and dier by size, shape, eld of application and method of manufacture; the meticulous metallic purity, shape and sharpness of the blade account for its quality. Katana, swords, are popularly thought of as weaponry, but in contemporary periods are more likely to be considered utensils for purication of the spirit and protection from various demons. Swords are among the traditional Shinto objects of worship thought to contain the spirit of a deity. This piece is among dozens of precious swords and blades officially registered with the government as works of art, on display at Sokendo, Lower Level One, in the Main Building.23This delightful work of Japanese ceramic art portrays a quartet of Chinese children amusing themselves with a toy horse's head. It was made in Arita and dates from 1750, and is in perfect condition. It and the stunning array of magnicent antiquities at Antique Tei in the Imperial Plaza bespeak the refinement evident throughout this distinguished shop, very much worth a visit if even just to be tempted.

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