Usually, when we encounter the samurai in works of art, we are watching something by Akira Kurosawa, Quentin Tarantino, or George Lucas (just scratch Star Wars a bit), and consequently there is a lot of clanging blades and screaming bloody murder. Sometimes, too, the history is lost under the flash of a yellow tracksuit, a sexy eyepatch, or a Vader helmet (its a dead ringer for a samurai helmet, any kid could tell you). At the exhibit Lords of the Samurai, however, all is silent: This is the chance to contemplate, and properly imagine, the way of the warrior. The exhibit, composed of 160 objects, was imported whole from a legendary source: the Hosokawa family, a 600-year-old elite military clan that collected, commissioned, created, or were given pieces throughout the centuries, including armor, paintings, swords, guns, masks, music instruments, and tea sets (which were massively important, comparable to vast acreage given as gifts for honor in battle). The clan also kept meticulous notes, which is essential when you have stuff like the Moriie sword from the 13th century.
June 12-Sept. 20, 2009