The Japanese Sword and the Japanese Aesthetic

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.

Victor Harris considers the arms and armor of Japan, relating it to Japanese engineering and genius for industry, but especially to the Japanese aesthetic. Arms and armor were the public art of the period, the "face of Japan," and as such, their design was integrally tied to Japanese culture. Harris focuses on the Edo period, when decoration flourished, but also reflects on the enduring aesthetic of Japan, and traces the visual history of arms and armor construction.

Victor Harris, Keeper Emeritus of Japanese Antiquities, British Museum, honorary librarian of The Japan Society, and author and art consultant

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

Learn more about the artistic culture of the Shoguns:

Learn more about Arms and Armor collections at the Met: