Art of the Samurai: An Introduction

The exhibition Art of the Samurai: Japanese Arms and Armor, 1156-1868, on view at the Met from October 2009 through January 2010, is drawn entirely from public and private collections in Japan. The first ever exhibition to be devoted to the subject of Japanese arms and armor conservation, it evokes the life and culture of the historic Japanese samurai.

Morhiro Ogawa, curator of the exhibition, discusses the exhibition, its history, and its highlights. The show brings together the finest examples of armor, swords and sword mountings, archery equipment and firearms, equestrian equipment, banners, surcoats, fans, and batons, the majority of the objects dating from the rise of the samurai in the late Heian period, ca. 1156, through the early modern Edo period, ending in 1868, when samurai culture was abolished. The martial skills and daily life of the samurai, their governing lords, the daimyo, and the ruling shoguns are also reflected by painted scrolls and screens depicting battles and martial sports, castles, and portraits of individual warriors.

Morihiro Ogawa, special consultant and curator of the exhibition

This Sunday at the Met is supported by the Japan Foundation.

Learn more about the arts culture of the Shoguns:

Learn more about Arms and Armor collections at the Met: