The Macao Museum of
Art under the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau hosted last year
the exhibition `Masters
of Fire – International Exhibition of Contemporary Blade Smiths’.
On that occasion, the exhibits came from the People’s Republic of
China, Korea, Japan, Sweden, the United States, Canada, New Zealand
and Brazil. It was the world’s first exhibition for international
contemporary sword smiths and it was warmly acclaimed both by the
public and critics alike.
Now the Macao Museum of Art hosts the `History of Steel in
Eastern Asia’, which assembles ancient weapons from China,
Korea, Japan, the Philippines and Continental South East Asia. Once
more a world first, this is the first time an exhibition of this
magnitude has been held anywhere in the world.
When ancient weapons from different eras and regions make their
appearance in the exhibition hall of the Macao Museum of Art,
visitors may initially feel overwhelmed by the perception that the
“taming” of steel represents an important part in the advance of
mankind. In a not so distant past, swords did indeed play a
significant role in human life.
Although today their function is anachronic, ancient weapons have
not retreated from the historical stage. These swords – the
instruments of despair or exhilaration in fierce conflict - provide
us with important historical references and transport us to an era
of shining spears. The early casting and the forging crafts and
varied ethnic qualities indeed come alive on the stage of art, and
we hope that through this exhibition we can reveal the inherent
features of the ancient weapons of Eastern Asia and thereby open a
gate into another dimension of understanding culture and art.
On behalf of the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau, I wish to
extend my most sincere gratitude to all contributors, both
institutions and individual collectors alike. Without your earnest
and dedicated efforts, these marvellous ancient weapons would not be
in Macao - and our visitors would have been the poorer for it.
I am confident that this uniquely historical and artistic exhibition
can inspire you and give all who view it cause for reflection on
Lau Si Io
Chairman of Administration Committee
Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau of Macao