Exhibition | Samurai: Armor from the Barbier-Mueller Collection

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on July 24, 2021

Touring since 2011 when it opened in Paris, the exhibition opens this November in Bern—its twelfth venue. Writing about the collection in 2017 for Apollo, Susan Moore noted that it then had been seen by 1.3million visitors.

Samurai: Armor from The Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection
Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac, Paris, 8 November 2011 — 29 January 2012
Musée de la civilisation, Québec City, 4 April 2012 — 17 February 2013
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 14 April — 4 August 2013
Portland Art Museum, 5 October 2013 — 12 January 2014
Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, 16 February — 17 August 2014
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 19 October 2014 — 1 February 2015
Centro Cultural La Moneda, Santiago, 13 October 2015 — 8 February 2016
Denver Art Museum, 6 March — 5 June 2016
Phoenix Art Museum, 1 March — 16 July 2017
Bellagio Gallery of Fine Arts, Las Vegas, 3 November 2017 — 29 April 2018
Kunsthalle München, Munich, 1 February — 30 June 2019
Bernisches Historisches Museum, Bern, 4 November 2021 — 5 June 2022

Visitors are immersed in the multifaceted history and culture of the Japanese samurai. The exhibition presents spectacular armour, helmets, and masks from the renowned private collection of Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller, along with priceless weapons from the collection of the Bernisches Historisches Museum. In addition to the familiar figure of the mythical fighter, the samurai manifest themselves as civil servants and scholars whose aesthetics, philosophy, and values endure to the present day.

J. Gabriel-Mueller, ed., with essays by Morihiro Ogawa, John Stevenson, Sachiko Hori, Stephen Turnbull, John Anderson, Ian Bottomely, Thom Richardson, Gregory Irvine, and Eric Meulien, catalogue text by Bernard Fournier-Bourdier, Art of Armor: Samurai Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011), 360 pages, ISBN: 978-0300176360, $65.

This extraordinary publication presents, for the first time, the samurai armor collection of the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum in Dallas. The Barbier-Mueller has selectively amassed these pieces of armor over the past twenty-five years, ultimately forming one of the largest and most important collections of its kind in the world. It is composed of nearly three hundred objects, several of which are considered masterpieces, including suits of armor, helmets, masks, horse armor, and weaponry. The objects date from the 12th to the 19th century, with a particularly strong focus on Edo-period armor. Offering an exciting look into the world of the samurai warrior, the book begins with an introduction by Morihiro Ogawa. Essays by prominent scholars in the field highlight topics such as the phenomenon of the warrior in Japan, the development of the samurai helmet, castle architecture, women in samurai culture, and Japanese horse armor. The book’s final section consists of an extensive catalogue of objects, concentrating on 120 significant works in the collection. Lavishly illustrated in full color, each object is accompanied by an entry written by a scholar of Japanese armor.

L. John Anderson is an independent scholar and collector of samurai armor. Sachiko Hori is vice president of Sotheby’s Japanese Works of Art department in New York. Morihiro Ogawa is special consultant for Japanese arms and armor in the Department of Arms and Armor at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Thom Richardson is keeper of armour and Oriental collections at the Royal Armouries in Leeds. John Stevenson is lecturer on Japanese art and history at the University of Washington. Stephen Turnbull is visiting lecturer in South East Asian religious studies at the University of Leeds.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: