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Arms and Armor of the Samurai | 12th–19th century

"Arms and Armor of the Samurai | 12th–19th century"

Japanese Gallery (Honkan) Rooms 5 & 6  January 2, 2021 (Sat) - April 11, 2021 (Sun)

Armor ("Dōmaru") with "Eurasian Jay" Lacing, Red at the Top, Muromachi period, 15th century (Important Cultural Property, Gift of Mr. Akita Kazusue)

The samurai ruled Japan for nearly 700 years, from the late 12th to the 19th century. They emulated the imperial court, which was the home of high culture, but also borrowed from the practices of common people. Wishing for divine protection in this life and salvation in the next, they worshipped both Shinto and Buddhist deities. The culture of the samurai was complex and ever–changing, but always reflected their authority as the warrior class of Japan.

This gallery focuses on the most prominent symbols of samurai authority: swords, armor, and other military equipment. These had many purposes. Through diverse colors and materials, they showed the tastes of their owners. Differences in shape and construction reflected differences in rank and social standing. Many samurai passed down this equipment as heirlooms, while high–ranking samurai exchanged it as diplomatic gifts. Swords and armor were also donated to Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines in prayer for victory in battle.

Major Work(s) on Exhibit 4 results
Designation Name Amount Creation Excavation Period Acquisition Ownership Comment
_MD_RECOMMEND Important Cultural Property "Dōmaru" Type Armor with lacing in "kashidori" style, Red at shoulders Passed down by the Akita clan, lords of Miharu domain, Mutsu province Muromachi period, 15th century Gift of Mr. Akita Kazusue, F-20153
Important Cultural Property Long Sword ("Tachi"), Known as “Hōjō Tachi” By Ichimonji school Kamakura period, 13th century F-151-2 On exhibit from January 13, 2021
_MD_RECOMMEND National Treasure Dagger ("tantō") By Yukimitsu Kamakura period, 14th century F-19967-1 On exhibit from January 13, 2021
_MD_RECOMMEND Guardless Dagger Mounting with Auspicious Clouds Edo period, 19th century F-19967-4 On exhibit from January 13, 2021
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