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Samurai the Way of the Warrior

On Friday I had an appointment with the dermatologist in Houston and I always like to add a visit to a museum to the day. The day was dripping, chilly, and overcast, a great day to be indoors.

It had been a few months since I had been to the Museum of Natural Science; a new exhibit featuring the Samurai was on display.

I’m not sure if that link is active but it is easy enough to find under the exhibit section of the museum’s website.

In the late 1800’s early 1900’s, a man call Stibbert began to collect armor and war gear from around the world. Most places were happy to part with such relics but he put them all together in a museum in Florence Italy. If any of you recall the row of armor in one of the Batman movies–this is probably where it was shot.  But I digress.

The samurai armor and weaponry were carefully crafted to be light yet decorative. Lacquer was used along with many meters of silk ribbon to tie the pieces of leather or wood together. The helmets were fantastical creatures with fans and ogre faces and so forth. The horses they rode were Mongolian imported in the 4th century and controlled without reins–just body weight and legs. There were examples of their swords and bows–and two saddles, one inlaid with thousands of mother or pearl pieces.

Although I was allowed photography, no flash was allowed–so very dark photos. I took a few of the video which described the collecting process.

The workmanship of the pieces with the decorative embellishment was quite fascinating–and I wondered how the samurai dressed himself in all those pieces–and got up on the horse. Knights had helpers whose job it was to help them dress and mount–but there wasn’t a mention of a similar type person here.

It was a worthwhile exhibit; a lot of reading and I am surprised at the richness of decoration of the objects in view of the spare-ness of their artwork as noted on the scroll on display illustrating a battle.

This is from the video–which describes Stibberts collection and shows a few of the pieces.



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