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May 4, 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM | Auditorium
Lecture, Lethal Beauty: Design Elements in Samurai Suits of Armor by Dr. Andreas Marks, Mary Griggs Burke Curator of Japanese and Korean Art, Japanese and Korean Art Department Head, Director of the Clark Center for Japanese Art, Minneapolis Institute of Art
After the lecture, Dr. Andreas Marks will be signing his book Lethal Beauty: Samurai Weapons and Armor, available for purchase in the Museum Shop.
Japanese suits of armor stand out among the armor of other world cultures because of their flashy, colorful appearance and exquisite design. The armor most often seen in exhibitions or auctions ranges in date from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries. During this time a large industry of samurai-oriented crafts catered to a significant part of Japanese society. Based on the sense for aesthetics and beauty of wealthy samurai, such armor was custom made, employing a range of materials from different types of metal to leather, lacquer, and silk. An iconic part of Japanese armor is the head protection consisting of fierce face masks and dramatic helmets, underlining the owner’s superhuman image of power. This lecture will focus on the design of suits of armor and will especially address helmet forms and often found elements like demonic Chinese lions.
Held in conjunction with the exhibition, Samurai: The Way of the Warrior
Helmet in dragonfly shape, 17th century, unknown artist, Japan. Iron, lacquer, wood, leather, gilt, pigments, silk, papier-mâché, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, The James Ford Bell Foundation Endowment for Art Acquisition and gift of funds from Siri and Bob Marshall, 2012.31.1a-c