Asian Edged Weapons

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Asian Edged Weapons
In most cases, museums can only show a small part of their collection. This applies as well to the Deutsches Klingenmuseum (German Blade Museum) in Solingen. The exhibits in this museum, furthermore, centre on the Solingen blade industry, which means that smaller collections, like those of Asian edged weapons, are often neglected.

This has changed overnight with the book Asian Edged Weapons. Its subtitle, ‘Catalogue Raisonné of the Asian Edged Weapons in the German Blade Museum Solingen’ shows wat it is: a collection catalogue. This means that it contains all Asian edged weapons from the museum (about 250 pieces) have been included. It also means a scientific level. All texts are bi-lingual (German and English), there are notes and a bibliography, a list of abbreviations, and there is an extensive glossary. The photography is extremely well done and the authors are experts in their field. One of the editors, Dr. Barbara Grotkamp-Schepers, was until recently the museum director. The other editor, Maximilian Berkel M.A. is finishing his studies in art history. Introductions with each chapter were further written by Natasha Bennett M.A., Dr. Benjamin N. Judkins, Trudel Klefisch, Miachel Marlow M.A., Sixt Weitzler M.A. and Dr. Anja Zoermer.

Collection catalogues have an implicit drawback: they only describe what is in the museum collection. Much of the value of the catalogue depends on how complete this collection is. As said, the Deutsches Klingenmuseum is focussed on the products of the extensive Solingen industry, which in itself is work enough. The museum’s collection of Asian Edged Weapon has mostly been a sort of ‘side catch’, often obtained through gifts or legacies. However, recent efforts have been made to obtain at least one specimen of the most important models.
In itself, 250 pieces is a respectable number, but then Asia refers to a vast field. This is reflected in the chapter titles: Caucasus, Ottoman Empire, Persia, India, China, Japan and Malay Archipelago. Each of these regions is vast and interesting enough for a separate book.
Asian Edged Weapons, nonetheless, gives a good view of the multicity of cultures, shapes, styles and materials which have been used. The book can serve as an introduction to that field, with the bonus of having been beautifully published.
 
B. Grotkamp-Schepers and M. Berke (ed.), Asian Edged Weapons. Catalogue Raisonné of the Asian Edged Weapons in the German Blade Museum Solingen. Edition Fichter, Frankfurt, 2016. 280 pages, ca. 600 illustrations, hardcover. ISBN 978-3-943856-62-0. Price € 59,00. The book can be obtained through www.edition-fichter.de or at the Deutsches Klingenmuseum in Solingen, www.klingenmuseum.de.
 
With the appearance of this book, the Deutsches Klingenmuseum has organised a special exhibit of Asian Edged Weapons from its collection. This exhibit runs until March 19, 2017.