The Tioga Point Museum in Athens recently announced the opening of "Yari, Yumi, Ya, and more, Japanese Samurai Weaponry" exhibition from the Millard Hunsiker collection.

According to a press release issued by the museum, the collection, comprised of Samurai swords including katanas, spears, also known as Yari, matchlock pistol, and archery bows and arrows, known as Yumi and Ya, was donated to the Tioga Point Museum in 1902.

Development of the art of creating a Japanese Samurai sword was attributed to a 14th century blacksmith called Masamune. He developed a two-layer structure of two types of steel and the slight curve to the blade, gave the sword increased cutting power and endurance. The process of producing a katana is recognized as some of the most advanced technology of its time. Two of the swords in the Millard Hunsiker collection are believed to date from 1423 and 1484. There are 5 katanas on display.

Additionally, there are very heavy Samurai stirrups called abumi. The entire foot was placed inside the stirrup and, to this day, one can see the worn toe and heel areas in each abumi.

A matchlock pistol is also included in the collection. Introduced to the Japanese by the Portuguese in 1543, there were over 300,000 firearms manufactured within 10 years.The Hunsiker Samurai matchlock pistol is a fascinating firearm.

The exhibition also has Yumis and Yas on display. Ancient bows and arrows were an important weapon in feudal Japan and date back to the third century. Yumi were asymmetrical and nearly two meters in length, usually taller than the archer. They are used with ya, arrows made of bamboo.

The Samurai Weaponry Exhibition will remain on display through the summer of 2013. The Japanese Samurai Weaponry exhibition promises to be an exciting experience for our area. Stop by for an up-close look at these ancient weapons.

Children's interactive activities related to the Samurai culture are in development and will be available after April 1.

The Tioga Point Museum is located at 724 S. Main St., on the second floor of the Spalding Memorial Building, Athens, Pa. The museum's hours are from noon to 8 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. And, as has been the tradition for over 117 years, the museum is FREE.

Submitted article.