Japanese Samurai culture viewed as an art form

      Japan is the country I chose to represent my Art Gallery because of my fascination with the Samurai culture. I enjoy everything about the Samurai culture because of the skill, the discipline, the honor and the embracement of beauty in life that each and every Samurai possess.  There are so much culture and art in the Samurai culture because each Samurai was treated as an individual, instead of as a group.  With individualism comes with many perspectives and ideas about everything from the armor, the swords, the storytelling in the paintings and so on.  From an art perspective, everything associated with the Samurai culture can be viewed as some kind of art form because of how everything is portrayed with beauty and grace.                   The five artwork pieces that I chose to represent my gallery to symbolize the Samurai culture as an art form is a suit of armor, a sword mounted for display, a traveling case for the Samurai's sword, a folding screen, and a woodblock print.......Samurai suit of armor (Late 16th-early 17th century).Mmid-Eda period. Armor. The Israel Museum, Jerusalem......Sword mounting in itamaki tach style (1521). Daiei Period;Edo Era. Armors/Arms. British Museum......Sword traveling-case with grapevine design (1675-1725). Momoyama period. Wood; gold; nacre; lacquer. British Museum......Folding Screen Depicting the Genpei Wars (Edo period). Saritama Prefectoral Museum of History and Folklore......Forty-seven Ronin Held Back at Ryogoku (1866). Prints. Museum Victoria.                     ------------------------------References-------------------------------"Samurai: Japanese Arms & Armour" Victoria and Albert Museum. Web. 27. April. 2016.  <http: / /www.vam.ac.uk /content /articles /j /japanese-arms-and-armour>                                                                                                                                              "Sword-Case" The British Museum. Web. 27. April. 2016. <http: / /www.britishmuseum.org /research /collection_online /collection_object_details.aspx?objectid="565851&amp;partId=1&amp;searchText=japanese+sword+case&amp;view=list&amp;sortBy=imageName&amp;page=1">               "Saitama Prefectural Museum of History and Folklore" Web. 27.April 2016.           <https: / /www.youtube.com /watch?v="mejPop5Uv1o">          "Print-Woodblock, Forty-seven Ronin Held Back at Ryogoku Bridge, Japan, Jul 1866" Museum Victoria. Web. 27. April. 2016.                                                                  <http: / /collections.museumvictoria.com.au /items /1452802>                                                                                         I am fascinated with Samurai culture because I feel that it gives a distinct form of art that represents Japan.  I always had an interest in Samurai culture because of the swordsmanship, the battles, and the way of life, but now I am able to appreciate everything about the life of a Samurai as an art form.

To protect the samurai warrior, a sophisticated, flexible suit of armor developed through the ages.There was complete freedom in its design, determined solely by the wealth of the patron and the creativity of the armorer. Some families traditionally wore lacing or lacquer of a certain color, or adopted a particular design for the helmet crest. The materials used in the construction of the suit were numerous: iron for the helmet, face mask, and breastplate; chain mail on arms and legs; leather slats and lacquer; rich silk brocade for the sleeves; and colorful silk lacing. When traveling, the armor fit into a wooden chest. The crossed eagle feathers seen here on the leather-covered chest comprise the crest of the Asano and Kubo families.More than any other element of the armor, it was the helmet that embodied the samurai’s personality, wealth, and social status. The crest on the front of the helmet served to identify the wearer, his interests, religious leanings, or clan. Helmet crestscould be fantastic and wonderful, like this red lacquer lobster claw.This 62-plate ribbed helmet was made and signed by Japan’s most famous metalsmith, Myochin Nobuie, in 1525. What makes it especially rare and interesting is the dent on the front – made by a bullet from a matchlock gun, used to test the helmet’s strength against bullets.Helmet dated: 1525, signed: Myochin Nobuie
There were two ways of carrying Japanese swords: tachi-type swords were worn suspended by cords with armour and uchigatana-type swords were worn thrust through the belt. They both had scabbards of lacquered magnolia wood. Hilts were covered with the hardened skin of the rayfish and bound, usually with silk braid, to give a good grip. Itomaki means 'bound with cords'. This is an elaborate tachi-style sword-mounting from the Edo period (1600-1868). At this time the country was at peace, but daimyō and other high-ranking samurai would have required such ornate pieces for wear when travelling in procession to and from the capital Edo (modern Tokyo). The mounting is decorated with a motif known as the triple paving-stone or triple chequer, the mon or family crest of the Tsuchiya family. The blade is signed by Sukesada, a sixteenth-century swordsmith from Bizen Province.
Daimyō, provincial governors, and other high-ranking samurai carried swords mounted either as katana or tachi types. However, they were not able to wear these long swords when travelling in a palanquin (covered litter), when their swords accompanied them in cases carried by attendants. This sword case is made of lacquered wood with gold makie and shell inlay with an all-over design of a grapevine. The outer leather case has the mon (family crest) of the owner in gold leaf.
This folding screen depicts a battle between the Taira (Heishi) and the Minamoto (Genji) samurai clans during the end of the 12th century. Folding screens were decorative pieces used to separate rooms and shield against the wind, and this folding screen is the right half of the entire screen. The center of this screen shows the Taira Clan, which moved with the emperor from Kyoto to Fukuhara (present day Kobe). In the upper-right section of this screen, a segment of the Taira Clan is climbing down a dangerous cliff with the Minamoto Clan attacking from behind. The beach on the left side shows the young Taira no Atsumori from the Taira Clan trying to escape by ship while being pursued by Kumagai Naozane of the Minamoto Clan. It was painted in the first half of the 17th century.
This woodblock print depicts a scene from the story of the Revenge of the Forty-Seven Ronin. It wasproduced by an unknown Japanese woodblock artist and published by Tsujiokaya Bunsuke in Tokyo, Japan, in July 1866. It is possibly a panel of an original triptych; a work of art comprised of three distinct panels.The historical origins of the story of the Forty-Seven Ronin date to 1701. A young daimyo (local feudal lord) Asano Takumi-no-Kami Naganori, had a disagreement with a powerful Edo official of the Tokogawa Shogunate, Kira Kozuke-no-Suke, which resulted in Asano attacking Kira. Such was the disgrace of his actions, Asano committed ritual suicide.With his death, his retainers were made ronin; that is, samurai without a master. One of them, Oishi Kuranosuke Yoshio, who had been a high-ranking samurai in the service of Asano, led a group of forty-seven ronin to avenge Asano's death. They bided their time for two years, leading Kira to believe they were complacent and disloyal retainers, before breaking into Kira's mansion in Edo, beheading him, and laying his head as an offering at the grave of their fallen master, Asano.On the way to Asano's grave, the ronin crossed the snow-covered Ryogoku Bridge, but were temporarily held back by a Hatamoto Samurai, Totori Ippei (also Tottori Itsur, Hattori Itsuro). Being criminals, they were not allowed to go through a main street of Edo. However, the Hatamoto gave a detour to these loyal retainers of Asano.Having placed the severed head of Kira on Asano's grave, forty-six of the ronin - one had been sent off as a messenger - knowing they faced punishment for Kira's death, committed ritual suicide, and were subsequently interred in the grounds of of Sengaku-ji Temple, in front of the tomb of their master.
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