In the tradition of Blue Fascination - The Art of Joan Miró and Pablo Picasso, Art of Packaging in the Imperial Qing Dynasty, Mexican Pre-Hispanic Art, Enamel Icons and other exhibitions with specialist themes, the History of Steel in Eastern Asia provides a unique perspective on five countries or geographical regions in Asia that, while similar, have their very own identities.

The development of human civilization is like a raging river. In an uninterrupted stream of creativity, our ancestors have discovered and utilized metal to change the destiny of humankind, with its development and crafting of epochal significance.

Those able to appreciate the importance of the transformation of steel, or have witnessed a sword smith at work, will readily understand how weapons, springing from the creativity of the Asian mind, remain supremely artistic objects despite being rendered obsolete in practical present day terms. Inherent in the edged weapons on display in this unique exhibition, both in theme and in scale, is the emergence, and divergence, of specific cultures, apparent through the way the weapons are both formed and decorated.

I am sure that the numerous contacts that the Macao Museum of Art has made over years of preparation will render this exhibition a very special one, not only in the presentation of edged weapons but in the understanding of their design in a time when they can be fully appreciated as historical objects of art, regardless of their state of conservation.

This exhibition could only take place through the unstinting efforts of all contributors involved, both institutions and collectors. I would like to take this opportunity, therefore, of extending my sincere thanks to the Cultural Relics Administration Bureau of Henan Province, Henan Museum, Zhengzhou Museum, The Cultural Relics and Archaeology Research Institute of Henan Province, The Museum of the Guo State of Sanmenxia, Sanmenxia Museum, The Ministry of Culture & Tourism Republic of Korea, The War Memorial of Korea, National Palace Museum of Korea, Korea Army Museum, Korea University Museum, Kyung-In Museum of Fine Art and all collectors and participants who have helped in so many ways to present this exhibition. These efforts have resulted in an exhibition of unprecedented scale, with some 280 weapons on display; in addition, the convergence of different cultures, united in their different aspects, under one roof, reveal the wisdom and inherent creativity of human beings for all to see.

It is through culture that people of different nations can understand each other and cooperate in a common cause. By bringing together different cultures, the Macao Museum of Art feels that it has contributed in a small way to the reunion of five different cultures represented by a wider spectrum of contributors.

Ung Vai Meng
Macao Museum of Art




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