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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  July 6, 2021 (Tue) - September 26, 2021 (Sun)

Gusoku Type Armor with Dark Blue LacingEuropean-style cuirass
Azuchi-Momoyama period, 16th century (Important Cultural Property)

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 5 results
Designation Name Amount Creation Excavation Period Acquisition Ownership Comment
_MD_RECOMMEND Important Cultural Property "Gusoku" Type Armor with Dark Blue Lacing, European-style cuirass Azuchi-Momoyama period, 16th century F-20137
_MD_RECOMMEND "Handachi and Daishō" (Pair of Long and Short Swords) Style Mounting with Silver Stream Design on Green Lacquer Ground Azuchi-Momoyama–Edo period, 16th–17th century F-20005 On exhibit from July 13, 2021
Important Cultural Property "Tachi" Sword By Sadazane Kamakura period, 13th century Gift of Meitokukai Foundation of the Mitani Clan of Izumo Province, F-20156-1 On exhibit through July 11, 2021
National Treasure "Tachi" Sword By Sukezane Kamakura period, 13th century F-19985-1 On exhibit through July 11, 2021
"Gusoku" Type Armor with Red Lacing, Two-piece cuirass Edo period, 17th century E-19929
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