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Lethal Beauty: Samurai Weapons and Armor


February 12, 2013 - May 5, 2013

Key image for: Lethal Beauty: Samurai Weapons and Armor

Organized by International Arts & Artists, Washington, DC.

On February 2, 2013 the Currier welcomes Lethal Beauty: Samurai Weapons and Armor, which will display the striking duality of deadly weaponry and artistic beauty from the Samurai culture of centuries past. The exhibition is curated by Dr. Andreas Marks, the director and chief curator of the Clark Center for Japanese Art & Culture in Hanford, California. With approximately 60 works by more than 30 master craftsmen from the 1200s to 1900s, 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 1100s, and continue to delight and captivate audiences today. The oldest sword in the exhibition dates from the 1200s but is so finely crafted it appears new. The exhibition also showcases a pair of folding screens by a Kano school artist and a seven-piece set from the 1600s and 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 Currier’s presentation of Lethal Beauty: Samurai Weapons and Armor is supported by the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, Hitchiner Manufacturing Co., Inc., the Botnick Family Foundation, E & R Laundry and Dry Cleaners, and Northeast Delta Dental. The tour is organized by International Arts & Artists, Washington, DC.

Watch a short YouTube video preview of the exhibition!

A $5 special exhibition charge applies for adults to view Lethal Beauty; children 17 and under always get in free.

Image credits: Full face mask, c. 1800. Iron and lacquer. Courtesy of Richard and Adoree Suran:Suit of armor with a pink rib-bone cuirass, 18th century. Iron, lacquer, boar fur and cord. Courtesy of Private Collection (detail); Red camp vest, late 19th century. Felt and silk, Courtesy of the Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture.