Art of the Samurai - photo by The Metropolitan Museum of Art
I visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art the other day. Sometimes I totally forget that I live in the center of the Art scene. How many times did I visit the Met since I moved to New York? … well… Oh, well…
I read an article about this exhibition which said that it took more than ten years to get together all the art pieces, and finally it’s ready to exhibit in New York this year. As soon as I knew about it, I wanted to go see the collections so badly!
The entrance of the Metropolitan Museum
The Metropolitan museum is like a HUGE maze. Oh, I should grab a hotdog at the stand in front of the museum. I asked three Met staff members, and finally found the Tisch Galleries where Art of the Samurai exhibition was held.
The armor for the boy samurai Honda Tadataka (1698-1709) - photo by the Met
Starting with Haniwa (terracotta figurine), samurai kabuto (helmet) and Yoroi (armor), swords and sword mounting, robes and the other national important treasures that came from the Kofun era to Edo Period were gathered together. Many familiar samurai names are on the instruction board. My parents love to watch the Japanese historical TV series, and I used to watch the show when I was little. Oda Nobunaga, Asai Nagamasa, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Tokugawa Ieyasu, etc etc…. I can’t believe that these pieces REALLY belonged to them. The strong energy filled the hall, and I could hear the sounds of wind on the battle field, and felt many stories behind these samurai armors…. I was too excited and felt a dizziness.
Mt. Fuji motif - photo by the Met
As I went to next room,?I found the samurai style and materials had changed. It was very interesting to see the pieces had combined cultures, with influence from Western countries, and names like Nanban Gusoku, or Kawari Kabuto which means an exotic armor and helmet. One Jinbaori (surcoat) attracted my eye. It’s made with golden yellow and black wool, with a volcano motif on the back of the coat. It was very interesting to know that Mt. Fuji first came to be used as a motif on craft objects in the Edo Period. As I know, Tenugui culture also had spread ?widely in the Edo period also. The influence from Western cultures and the samurai Art…. evolve style to next century….
That is something I would like to do for my Tenugui…
… to be continued.