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Lethal Beauty: Samurai Weapons and Armor
Unknown artist of the Kano school, detail from 'Scenes from the Tales of Heike,' c. 1650-1700, screens 'Suit of armor with a pink rib-bone cuirass,' 18th century Attributed to Sukenaga II, 'Mounted dagger (tantō 短刀),' Mid-19th century, mixed wood burl grain, brown lacquer 'Red camp vest,' late 19th century, felt, silk Unknown artist of the Kano school, detail from 'Scenes from the Tales of Heike,' c. 1650-1700, screens

SUMMARY

The striking duality of deadly weaponry forged with artistic beauty is on full display in this exhibition. With 63 works by master craftsmen from the 13th to 20th centuries, Lethal Beauty features full suits of armor, helmets, warrior hats, face masks, long and short swords, daggers, rifles, and more.

Tales of the samurai have enchanted people since the 12th century, and continue to delight and captivate audiences today. The oldest sword in the exhibition dates from the 13th century but is so finely crafted it could appear new. The exhibition also showcases a pair of 17th century folding screens by a Kano school artist, and a seven-piece set of 17th century sword fittings, both depicting battle scenes from the famous Tale of the Heike. The Tale of the Heike is one of the greatest warrior epics in Japanese literature and marks the dawn of samurai honor, valor, and fortitude.

The exhibition is accompanied by a color-illustrated catalogue and curated by Dr. Andreas Marks, the director and chief curator of the Clark Center for Japanese Art & Culture.

“祇園精舎の鐘の聲、諸行無常の響き有り。 沙羅雙樹の花の色、盛者必衰の理を顯す。 驕れる者も久しからず、唯春の夜の夢の如し。 猛き者も遂には滅びぬ、偏に風の前の塵に同じ。”
“The sound of the Gion Shōja bells echoes the impermanence of all things; the color of the sāla flowers reveals the truth that the prosperous must decline. The proud do not endure, they are like a dream on a spring night; the mighty fall at last, they are as dust before the wind.”

- Excerpt from The Tale of the Heike, translated by Helen Craig McCullough


SPECIFICATIONS

Number of Works: 63 works, including full suits of armor, helmets, warrior hats, face masks, long and short swords, sword fittings, sword guards, daggers and sheaths, rifles, a short spear, an equestrian parade mask, gunpowder cases and ammunition containers
Curator: Dr. Andreas Marks, Director and Chief Curator of the Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture
Organized by: The Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture
Approximate size: 2,500 square feet
Security: High security
Fee: $48,000 plus courier costs and outgoing shipping
Shipping: IA&A makes all arrangements; exhibitors pay outgoing shipping within contiguous US
Booking Time: 12 weeks
Publication: Exhibition catalogue
Tour: January 2013 – January 2015
Availability: Fully booked
Contact: Margalit Monroe

 


TOUR SCHEDULE

Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, NH
February 2, 2013 - May 5, 2013

Honolulu Museum of Art, HI
June 5, 2013 - August 18, 2013

San Antonio Museum of Art, TX
September 28, 2013 - January 5, 2014

Detroit Institute of Arts, MI
March 9, 2014 - June 1, 2014

Birmingham Museum of Art, AL
June 28, 2014 - September 20, 2014

Katonah Museum of Art, NY
October 12, 2014 - January 4, 2015


IMAGES


    INSTALLATIONS


      PRESS

      Samurai armor and the art of intimidation
      The Fresno Bee, by Donald Munro, April 9, 2011

      Rare samurai weaponry exhibition at Fresno State
      Fresno State News, March 28, 2011

      Lethal Beauty: Samurai Weapons and Armor - Clark Center for Japanese Art & Culture
      Japanese-City.com, by Kathleen Kim, February 21, 2011

      'Lethal Beauty: Samurai Weapons and Armor'
      Hanford Sentinel, by Heather Halsey, September 7, 2009