Monday, October 26, 2009

Art of the Samurai: Japanese Arms and Armor, 1156–1868 Metropolitan Museum of Art

In 1868 the Samurai culture was abolished, but for more then seven hundred years this culture flourished in Japan. Following the Bushidō, meaning "Way of the Warrior", these man were part of the military nobility of pre-industrial Japan. Now one can sign up for a 4-8 year hitch, but being a Samurai was not that kind of military service. The warrior looked forward to a glorious death in the service of a military leader or the emperor. This exhibit is made up of objects from public and private collections. Most of objects date from the rise of the samurai in the late Heian period, through the early modern Edo period. The focus in this exhibit is armor, swords and sword mountings. The swords and daggers are very impressive, but the equestrian equipment and surcoats are worth some extra time. The most eye opening pieces were of the archery equipment and firearms. At one point in time the Samurai was known as "the man with a bow." Also on display are other arts of the Samurai like banners, painted scrolls and screens depicting battles. Because of the age and delicate nature of these's item The Metropolitan Museum is bringing this exhibit out in waves. The first examples will be On view October 21–November 29, then the second wave will be On view December 8–January 10.

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