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Hanford, CA 93230
Phone: (559) 582-4915
Website: Click to Visit
2009 is the year when the samurai invaded California. Four museums in four different cities organize exhibitions related to the legendary Japanese warriors. Whereas the three spring and summer exhibitions in Santa Ana, Pasadena, and San Francisco present an overview of samurai culture, the fall exhibition at the Clark Center for Japanese Art & Culture in Hanford solely focuses on the beauty of weaponry and armaments.
The samurai are especially famous for their moral code, stressing loyalty, honor, and the mastery of martial arts. Like no other warrior class in world history, they continue to captivate the imagination and fascination of young and old. Since the 12th century, the samurai warrior class served the nobility through periods of intense warfare and during peaceful times like the reign of the Tokugawa family from 1603 until 1868. In 1876, the samurai were officially disbanded and ordered to give up carrying swords.
Higher ranks of these samurai engaged not only in battles but also followed artistic and spiritual pursuits. Based on their sense for aesthetics and beauty, suits of armor became exquisite designs and, literally on top of them, flaunted fierce face masks and dramatic helmets, underlining the owner's superhuman image of power. Swords were decorated with elaborate mountings reflecting the accomplished taste of the owner and the blades, created by highly refined craftsmen, are themselves unsurpassed artistic expressions of a lethal beauty.
Scenes from the Tales of the Heike
Detail from a six-panel screen pair
Late 17th cent.
Clark Center Collection
This duality of deadly weapon and artistic beauty is the focus of the fall exhibition Lethal Beauty: Samurai Weapons and Armor at the Clark Center for Japanese Art & Culture. On view will be more than 60 objects from different Californian collections, featuring superb suits of armor, outstanding helmets, face masks, sword fittings, and especially weapons like exquisite short and long swords, daggers, and matchlock guns. A part of the exhibition presents examples of how these weapons were recycled after the disbandonment of the samurai.
Curated by Andreas Marks, Director & Chief Curator
September 1, 2009 – January 30, 2010
Tuesday through Saturday 12:30 – 5 pm. Closed on national holidays and during the month of August.
Admission (including $1 surcharge for this exhibition): $6 for adults, $4 for students and active military service with valid ID. Children 12 and under free.
Weekly docent tours are held Saturdays at 1 pm and guided group tours can be arranged by calling the Center in advance at (559) 582-4915.
Wednesday, 30 December, 2009
ContactWebsite: Click to Visit
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