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The Cutting Edge: Ingenuity and Artistry of Japanese Swords with James Lawson and Emily Sano

Feb 20, 6:00 PM–7:00 PM

John L. Santikos Auditorium

Ticket Price: $5.00

Ticket Price Members: Free


The gracefully curved, mirror-polished blades of the samurai are as beautiful as they are lethal, a paradox that has consistently captivated the popular imagination since the heyday of the Japanese warrior class. James Lawson, a San Antonio-based collector and sword afficionado joins SAMA’s own Emily Sano, Senior Advisor for Asian Art for an informal conversation about his interest in historical Japanese weapons and how modern viewers can appreciate the technical and aesthetic achievements that they represent.



James Lawson has been collecting Japanese swords and sword fittings for 30 years and is a lifetime member of the Nihon Bijutsu Token Hozon Kyokai (NBTHK) in Japan as well as a board member of the NBTHK-AB in the United States. He travels to Japan multiple times per year and is an avid collector of Japanese art. James is a serial entrepreneur and owns several companies with his wife, including Nowhere Bookshop here in San Antonio.


Emily J. Sano joined the San Antonio Museum of Art in January 2016 as the Coates-Cowden-Brown Senior Advisor for Asian Art. Previously, she served as director of the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco and presided over the planning, design, and construction that moved the Asian Art Museum from Golden Gate Park to the Civic Center. Prior to San Francisco, she was the Deputy Director and Chief Curator of Non-Western Art at the Dallas Museum of Art. She took her first museum post in 1979 at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth.


Artist unknown. Katana (long sword), ca. 1300. Steel. 27 5/16 in. (69.4 cm). San Antonio Museum of Art, acquired in memory of Dr. Robert R. Clemons with funds realized from his estate, 2022.11.2

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