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Thomas McDonald
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PostPosted: Sun 11 Sep, 2005 4:30 pm    Post subject: Museum Exhibition of International Contemporary Bladesmiths         Reply with quote



The Macau Museum of Art presents the first ever Museum Exhibition of International Contemporary Bladesmiths !

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This looks to be quite the event .... Mac

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Antonio Cejunior




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PostPosted: Sun 11 Sep, 2005 4:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Museum Exhibition of International Contemporary Bladesmi         Reply with quote

Thomas McDonald wrote:

This looks to be quite the event .... Mac


Hi Thomas, Happy

Thank you so much for posting. Happy
It is most kind of you. In fact I have been so busy I must apologize to myArmoury.com for not posting it myself.
But Thomas is a wonderful and generous man that I very much admire.

Due to expected high attendance from Chinese collectors and enthusiasts, and while my wish that this and other events can reach the American Continent public, I put up the Announcement as a way to assess and facilitate knowing if we can reach a number of catalogs that can be sent by bulk to the US and be sold through a representative that is in waiting.

Our Museum does not have an online shop. But you are invited to browse the amount of exhibitions it has put up since its opening in 1999. Happy

It has been my aim to somehow contribute to the recognition of contemporary swords as part of contemporary culture.
For this reason, there is a double end challenge. From the Museums to remove prejudice and re-think the notion of the
Art object but also from the smiths to feel chalenged enough to create swords that transcend the notion of "historic" alone, and go into the field of pure creativity.

There will be a large panel with this statement in Chinese, Portuguese and English:

MASTERS OF FIRE - ART AND CHANGE

Only those who work with fire and steel can perceive the moment when the red hot Yang iron meets the cool Yin water and hears the cries of the metal being transmuted from iron into steel, in a most significant marriage of the opposites that for long have been formulated by Daoism.

In a moment when deep changes in concepts go across the world we live in, when technologies provide instant communication, information and globalization, cultural hybridation accelerates and concepts once thought to be unchangeable - such as the definition of art – begin once more their process of mutation, for the history of the world is but the history of evolution.

Once art was considered an unchangeable concept of nationalistic nature, categorized as superior or inferior, depending on its origin being of intellectual or popular nature, immutable and authoritative. The art object was defined only as something without any other purpose than be art itself.
Yet, what today is considered art was not so when it was originally produced.

Therefore let us remind ourselves from this episode of Confucius, pertaining to Li (Ritual): When the Master was in the Grand Temple he asked questions about everything he saw. Someone then said: “Who says this son of a villager understands Ritual?”.
The Master replied: “Questioning is itself Ritual”.

In times when concepts require a new formulation, one of the possible answers is to look for the roots of Ancient Knowledge. The Earth’s core, its very soul, is molten iron that ensures gravity and the magnetic field that protects the Earth’s surface, Yang and Yin once more.
One of the most powerful icons that have presided over mankind, the sword, a product of ancient technology so very often overlooked has now, when its use is obsolete, acquired the right to enter the ranks of art objects especially when its artistic purpose is absolutely evident.

For the same reason that present day installations root their origins in ancient manifestations of mankind such as dolmens, totemic sculptures and other forms of territorial or sacred demarcation of lands and territories, the sword emerges today from the mist of Myths connected with power, heavenly choice, justice, honour or courage as pure art on its own right.

In times of change, seek the roots: “Questioning is itself Ritual”.


Thank you once more, Thomas Happy

Slàinte & Viva!

Antonio
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Joel Chesser




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PostPosted: Sun 11 Sep, 2005 10:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Surprised OOOOOHHHH! WOOOOW!
..." The person who dosen't have a sword should sell his coat and buy one."

- Luke 22:36
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Thomas McDonald
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PostPosted: Tue 27 Sep, 2005 3:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The catalogue of this exhibition can now be pre-ordered from Mr. Crampton, at Shadow Of Leaves ! :-) Mac
http://www.shadowofleaves.com/mastersoffire.htm

They will be accepting orders with advance payment until October 14, Friday US time.
Catalogs will be available on an online order plus email.
Only paid catalogs will be taken into consideration, after which the catalogs will be shipped in one single shipment to us who will than distribute it. Shipping is Free!


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Antonio Cejunior




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PostPosted: Tue 27 Sep, 2005 4:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Thomas,

Thanks for the post. Am really suffocated in work.
Bless you Happy

Slàinte & Viva!

Antonio
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PostPosted: Tue 27 Sep, 2005 1:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That's really cool. I've always looked at these things as art and it is about time the people who make them and their work gets to be in the spotlight. Thanks for posting this!
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PostPosted: Tue 27 Sep, 2005 2:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

WOW! That is certainly a list of "Who's Who" in the Bladesmithing world! Now to get a sword made by each of them.... Cool
I'll probably just have to settle for the catalog! Laughing Out Loud

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Thomas Jason




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PostPosted: Fri 14 Oct, 2005 9:50 am    Post subject: Masters of Fire Exhibit in Macau         Reply with quote

From Peter Johnsson: http://www.artmuseum.gov.mo/photodetail.asp?p...6&lc=3

Please tell me when I can order the above from Albion =)

The rest of the exhibit:

http://www.artmuseum.gov.mo/photolist2.asp?pr...&grp=1

Wow!


Last edited by Thomas Jason on Fri 14 Oct, 2005 10:51 am; edited 1 time in total
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Russ Ellis
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PostPosted: Fri 14 Oct, 2005 10:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oh wow is that pretty. I sure would like to know what the inspiration for that one was...


You are right, it's a virtual who's who of custom sword makers although I noted that Kevin Cashen, Rick Barret and Don Fogg amongst others were notably absent.

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Antonio Cejunior




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PostPosted: Fri 14 Oct, 2005 11:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Russ Ellis wrote:
Oh wow is that pretty. I sure would like to know what the inspiration for that one was...


You are right, it's a virtual who's who of custom sword makers although I noted that Kevin Cashen, Rick Barret and Don Fogg amongst others were notably absent.


Well Russ,

Sometimes is not advisable to jump into conclusions. Actually they were all invited. If they chose not to participate it is not our responsability.



I hope the link to the parallel site with more information is clickable.

Cheers. Wink

Antonio
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Russ Ellis
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PostPosted: Fri 14 Oct, 2005 11:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Antonio Cejunior wrote:
Well Russ,

Sometimes is not advisable to jump into conclusions. Actually they were all invited. If they chose not to participate it is not our responsability.



I hope the link to the parallel site with more information is clickable.

Cheers. Wink


Oh I'm sure they were Antonio sorry didn't mean to imply that you guys were not inviting them or something. I was merely mentioning that they were some of the notables not featured.

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PostPosted: Fri 14 Oct, 2005 11:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Antonio wrote:
Sometimes is not advisable to jump into conclusions. Actually they were all invited. If they chose not to participate it is not our responsability.


Nor is it advisable to assume that someone is jumping to conclusions. Russ simply stated that they were notably absent. Whether or not a person finds their absence notable is strictly a matter of perspective.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Antonio Cejunior




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PostPosted: Fri 14 Oct, 2005 11:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Russ Ellis wrote:
Oh I'm sure they were Antonio sorry didn't mean to imply that you guys were not inviting them or something. I was merely mentioning that they were some of the notables not featured.


No problem Russ Happy

I posted this version because it contains more data and pictures and also allows to see the behind the scenes as well as opening pictures.
Best

Antonio
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Lancelot Chan
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PostPosted: Sat 15 Oct, 2005 6:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm just back from the show. First of all, I would like to thank Antonio for hosting the show and here's my report:

The people:
Anthonio for the warmest welcome I've ever experienced in my life. He recognized me right away and treated me as a good old friend, making me feel special even among the high rank government officials and other guests. This was something unexpected on my part. He also introduced me to another forumite who was visiting from Philipines, Antonio A. Lichauco. I and Lichauco had exchanged private messages before but never met in person. That was our first time.

Secondly, I was surprised by how many people whom I had never met in reality before recognized me easily. As a person who made more than a couple rivals and enemies, this could be worrying for me. :P However, I never realize I've made so many friends either and I felt so at home. Among them, my friends in Macau Kendo were the most enthusiastic to me. They brought us around for the night after the show for foods and tour. They also invited us to cross train with them in the future.

Thirdly, even meeting those who hate me in this event was a peaceful and gentleman-like experience, which I appreciate very much.

The display:
The swords were displayed in the room embedded in the wall with special lighting from both sides. Antonio's idea was to illustrate the blade geometry through the reflection of the lighting and making the viewing of the swords become a very personal, individual activity because one has to stand right in front of the glass on the wall to see the sword inside.

The good things are that the outcome is very artistic and the whole sword can be viewed like a beautiful photograph with limited depth perception, like the laser hologram we have nowadays where we can see limited 3D.

The bad things are that just as it was designed, the best viewing position was limited to one person at a time and at the opening ceremony, there were crowds around where one could easily block another's view. It wouldn't be much a problem for the latter days when the visitors flow was diluted though. Another thing is with the sword embedded into the wall, as a student of sword, I could not move to the side and study the thickness and distal taper of each item. I understand the general public would care less about this, but if the sword could be displayed in a "free floating in the air" mode, it could be both COOL and convenient for study.

One method to do this is to place the sword on a narrow transparent arcylic piece that holds the sword at its balance point, and the whole system was placed on a digital scale. So, one could see the POB, weight, and the profile and the distal taper of the sword at one glance. Since the sword is above any surface, one can view it from virtually any angle and look for what they want.

Another room for improvement was that there was no description in the display windows so one had to look up for the leaflet for information. The information on the leaflet was presented in 3 language, Chinese, English and Portugese. To my surprise, all of them presented different content individually. In the Chinese version, the description was more poetic. In the English version, the data was more specific and technical. I don't know about the Portugese version, though.

The swords:
I've spent a night thinking about how to talk about the pieces. I could have easily offended some while praising others. At the end, I decided just to be straight (as always) and could be ended up making enemies again (as always). Besides, I'm not well versed in the katana genre so I will leave that uncommented.

First, the Brazilian smiths were surprisingly accomplished. If I remembered correctly, there were katana, short sword and european style pieces from them that were very well made. However, the smiths I paid the most attention to were Peter Johnsson, Michael "Tinker" Pearce and Vince Evans.

Talking about Tinker's sword first, the viking sword was much smaller than I expected! The hilt was small, which I often heard from people who handled Viking swords. But I didn't expect the blade to be quite short and narrow either. When I view a viking sword on the net, it often seems to be as quite broad. Yet, this piece was narrower than my Brescia Spadona and could not be considered as broad at all. It's overall small in size. At the end, I found that it was the scale of the hilt playing a visual trick to me when I view it on the net. Another thing was that during the bladeshow earlier in Atlanta, my Korean friend wasn't too impressed by his show pieces and were more attracted to the Albion ones. It was only when I did some test cutting on both soft and hard targets did I convince my friend that Tinker's swords' performance and quality are not what they seem to be. However, viewing the show piece this time made me understand how he felt back then. Among all the show pieces that were probably of the highest quality by the respective makers, Tinker's sword shows the asymmetrical lines the most obviously and the tip was slightly tilted to one side. The hilt crafting was easily recognized as man-made with some randomless here and there. I wonder how normal visitors would view the sword without knowing the superb performance Tinker's stuff has.

It was the first time for me to see both Vince and Peter's work in person. I'll talk about Vince's stuff first.

It was an European hanger with a fuller along the spine. I've been spending much time viewing Vince's work on the net and viewing his piece in person confirmed my feeling all along the time. His work has a special organic feel attached to it and makes it very antique-like. This could be due to his early work experience as an antique restorer. As a result, the swords he made could be confused as antiques easily. The edge on the show sword was slightly convex near the edgeline (a smoothened secondary bevel, one may say). It's very common on the surviving antiques for this type of sword. The grip was made by Grace and was octagonal. The facets were not all equal and would made no doubt that it was man(woman)-made. All the shapes and the choice of materials carried a special subtlty that could make it pass as an antique. I think in terms of that aspect, he's one of the top smiths, if not THE top smith.

---- starting from here I may get flamed again..... ----

It had been quite some time since I first exchanged emails with Peter Johnsson. I used to worship him as my sword god and still respect him greatly nowadays. I still remember the first day I saw his works on Bjorn's site and they were so perfectly made. I couldn't spot any flaws and his works were the ones I can proudly show a katana collector with and say "This is what European swords were like when new". The beautiful, flawless swords with crisp lines, symmetrical planes, would just stun those who thought European swords were crude and crappy pieces of device right away. He wasn't taking order back then, though, and the availability of his designed through Albion was the only way I can get a glimpse of his stuff at the time.

Patrick Kelly was right. If one expects PJ's quality from the Albion+PJ joint project, one would have no choice but be disappointed. So was I.

A metallurgy lover friend of mine once told me after my pig-skull test cutting that 1075, at the same volume and diimension, would be less tough as 5160. Upon viewing the online data of the PJ show sword, I spent a night to dig up the metallurgy composition of SIS 2090 and tried to compare it with 1075 that Albion uses and 5160H that Tinker uses. To my surprise, I found that it was more similar to 5160 than to 1075 in the chemical content, saving that SIS 2090 has more silicon contents.

Metallurgy aside, when I went to the viewing port and see the piece, it has totally refreshed my memory when I first saw PJ's swords on Bjorn site. Man... how should I put it to words? Hmmm... it's just like you're meeting a girl that reminds you of your first love and your first date! Big Grin The sword was PERFECT! The crisp lines I saw from the net photos were there in front of my eyes. No photo editing tricks, no visual tricks. It's just THAT crisp and straight and were unbelievable as a man-made work. The symmetry was astonishing and the gilding on the hilt was unearthly. Yet, most of my attention was to the blade. The satin finish was different from the Albion's scotch-brite satin finish. It was very uniform and consistent with no scratches on it. The blade thickness was very thin for its width as well. Antonio commented that it was highly flexible and sharp that he got cut merely by an accidental brush during giving the staff a tutorial on oiling the sword.

The sword's impression remained in my mind for the whole night. I could not get rid of it's perfectness. In the next morning, I dug up the leaflet and the poster and did some study on the hilt. Only then did I find signs of human work where there were asymmetries. Nevertheless, it was a magnificent, breath-taking piece. I only wish PJ is going to take custom orders again and I would like to congratulate Patrick Kelly and Harlan Hastings on owning their PJ swords. They are second to none.

----- Ok, check if I'm full of bullet holes now.... -----

That's about the event. On the next day I went to kart racing with my guys for 2 sessions (the first one being an orientation run to familiarize ourselves to the course and the second one was the real race). On the 3rd session where my guys had enough of it, I drove a girl I brought to the sword show around, she was very unappreciative for my speedy driving skill, always screaming "are we over yet?" "can you slow down?" "be safe!" and "AHHHHH~!"

Damn, and I thought I was cool!

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Antonio Cejunior




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PostPosted: Sat 15 Oct, 2005 7:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lancelot Chan wrote:
I'm just back from the show. First of all, I would like to thank Antonio for hosting the show and here's my report:

The people:
Anthonio for the warmest welcome I've ever experienced in my life. He recognized me right away and treated me as a good old friend, making me feel special even among the high rank government officials and other guests. This was something unexpected on my part. He also introduced me to another forumite who was visiting from Philipines, Antonio A. Lichauco. I and Lichauco had exchanged private messages before but never met in person. That was our first time.


Hi Lance,

Most kind of you, but I was just being myself Happy Do they treat you that bad? Anyway, I like your frontal style. We may not agree with a couple of things, but that's no obstacle for welcoming you. Actually there are no VIPs in my book. I just called them like that as a matter of identifcation Wink

Courtesy required me to guide the exhibition, so I lost a little about what was happening around.

Quote:

The display:
The swords were displayed in the room embedded in the wall with special lighting from both sides. Antonio's idea was to illustrate the blade geometry through the reflection of the lighting and making the viewing of the swords become a very personal, individual activity because one has to stand right in front of the glass on the wall to see the sword inside.

The good things are that the outcome is very artistic and the whole sword can be viewed like a beautiful photograph with limited depth perception, like the laser hologram we have nowadays where we can see limited 3D.

The bad things are that just as it was designed, the best viewing position was limited to one person at a time and at the opening ceremony, there were crowds around where one could easily block another's view. It wouldn't be much a problem for the latter days when the visitors flow was diluted though.


Actually you are right Happy It is supposed to be a very intimate relationship between the sword and the viewer and as in all exhibition openings, there is very little time to view anything.
Later Anton told me that he saw an exhibition of nihon-tô in London, either it was at the Victoria & Albert Museum or at the British Museum and the lighting was so bad that he couldn't even see a hamon. I am just quoting Anton and you can confirm ...

Quote:

Another thing is with the sword embedded into the wall, as a student of sword, I could not move to the side and study the thickness and distal taper of each item. I understand the general public would care less about this, but if the sword could be displayed in a "free floating in the air" mode, it could be both COOL and convenient for study.
One method to do this is to place the sword on a narrow transparent arcylic piece that holds the sword at its balance point, and the whole system was placed on a digital scale. So, one could see the POB, weight, and the profile and the distal taper of the sword at one glance. Since the sword is above any surface, one can view it from virtually any angle and look for what they want.


Thanks for bringing this up. The fact is that the exhibition was not intended for sword specialists my friend Happy We made a very bold gamble by promoting this exhibition, which, fortunately was a success.
The point is that we must first gain people to accept swords as forms of art expression, therefore the exhibition is not for the initiate, but for the public in general. Happy
Then we must discuss why a sword is an art object. That is why today's conference, contrary to your remark that it would be politically correct was in fact a journey into culture and how the sword can now be legitimately an art object.

I placed a link on this subject but it seems very few people paid attention to it.

The scale with the weight and so forth would ruin the display again. Yi-zhai never made a sword exhibition, I had to define the acrylics, consider how the display cases were built, etc.
On the other hand, with the amount of activity we have (3 exhibition openings this month) what was achieved was, in my humble opinion of a Museum Director from 1978 to 1997, and a Consultant from there on, a feat.
While the exhibition was opening, invitations for the next exhibitions were already set to be sent out, so with 40 people doing everything this is a nightmare of work.
You see, if I fell into these details for the sword student I would be creating a precedent to other exhibitions such as oil paintings, meaning that I would probably need to have an infra red image so that people would be able to see how the brushwork was, or if there were a previous painting beneath it.

We are not an Armoury Museum Happy We are an Art Museum, and that makes a lot of difference. Anyway, I enjoyed reading your suggestions, but I hope you understand the reasons.

We must take into account that the general public is our main target and the success of the opening shows that we went the right way, one step at a time, because it may be very boring for you if someone starts talking enthusiastically about how many nail varnish colors are in this season Happy In other words, our position is always to mediate, to be balanced. Happy
Meantime I'm going to hit the sack Wink

Cheers and do visit whenever you like Happy

Antonio
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PostPosted: Sat 15 Oct, 2005 7:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Points understood very well! Agree as well! It's doubtlessly a daunting task to promote the sword as art objects and if successful, it'll bring us more acceptance in the societies. We wish you success!
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PostPosted: Sat 15 Oct, 2005 12:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you very much for the feedback Lance. I would have loved to have been able to attend this event. The opportunity to observe so many quality swords by so many talented makers at one time doesn't happen very often. Being a PJ fan I feel somewhat jealous that you had the chance to examine that sword and I did not. Big Grin

I've also been at gatherings where I have been recognized because of my work here. It's an interesting experience to say the least. This never ceases to seem very strange to me, probably because I'm not the kind of person who normally expects to be recognized for anything. I've also met people who I have corresponded with over the internet, sometimes for years. When we meet for the first time it always feels like we're old friends already. Strange yet very gratifying at the same time.

I'd like to hear more about the swords made by the various Brazilian makers. These are largely unknown to most of us yet they seem to be quite the talented bunch.

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PostPosted: Sat 15 Oct, 2005 3:22 pm    Post subject: Re: Masters of Fire Exhibit in Macau         Reply with quote

Thomas Jason wrote:
...The rest of the exhibit:

http://www.artmuseum.gov.mo/photolist2.asp?pr...&grp=1

After seeing these photos, I am really looking forward to getting my copy of the catalog.
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Antonio Cejunior




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PostPosted: Sat 15 Oct, 2005 8:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lancelot Chan wrote:
Points understood very well! Agree as well! It's doubtlessly a daunting task to promote the sword as art objects and if successful, it'll bring us more acceptance in the societies. We wish you success!


Good morning,

Thank you and also for the good wishes.

Your understanding is most encouraging.

It isn't an easy task to please everyone. We actually hope for the best, but as the Portuguese saying goes, we cannot please Greeks and Trojans at the same time Happy so we aim for the best possible presentation.

Today is time of total relaxation. Happy

Antonio
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PostPosted: Mon 24 Oct, 2005 8:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lancelot Chan wrote:
...The display:
The swords were displayed in the room embedded in the wall with special lighting from both sides. Antonio's idea was to illustrate the blade geometry through the reflection of the lighting and making the viewing of the swords become a very personal, individual activity because one has to stand right in front of the glass on the wall to see the sword inside.

The good things are that the outcome is very artistic and the whole sword can be viewed like a beautiful photograph with limited depth perception, like the laser hologram we have nowadays where we can see limited 3D....

I've just noticed that the arscives site has some photos of the individual displays, as described by Lance in his earlier post, excerpted above. These displays look really beautiful, and highlight the artistry of each of the pieces.
http://www.arscives.com/mastersofire/displaypics.htm
Wow.

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