Of the many classes throughout human history, few capture the mind’s fascination as much as the military nobility of medieval and early-modern Japan—the samurai. The artistry of their materials, the technology behind their blades, and the details of their tradition represent a rich tapestry that today still maintains a presence in Japanese and pop culture.
Featuring more than 150 spectacular artifacts from the Peabody Museum—along with objects from the Yale University Art Gallery, the Yale Collection of Musical Instruments, and the Sterling Memorial Library—Samurai and the Culture of Japan’s Great Peace brings the origin and incredible history of the samurai to life, from the incessant wars of their early centuries to the Great Peace of the Tokugawa period that concluded their reign.
Focusing on the Great Peace—the longest peace that any large human society has known—the exhibition will invite you to consider the samurai in a new light: as not only warriors but also bureaucrats, admirers of the arts, and keepers of peace for their final 250 years. The exhibition will also highlight the history of the collections of the Peabody, beginning with its first director O. C. Marsh and including a parade of extraordinary collectors.
Developed by the Museum’s exhibition staff and a team of Yale historians, Samurai and the Culture of Japan’s Great Peace presents the history of the samurai as complex and unexpected. Throughout 2015, we invite you to explore the beauty of Japan’s elite warriors and their stories of honor, nobility, and violence. Be sure to see this very special display.
On view through January 3, 2016.
Presenting Media Sponsor WSHU Public Radio
Support for Samurai and the Culture of Japan’s Great Peace was generously provided by Connecticut Humanities, the Council on East Asian Studies at Yale University, the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, and The Japan Foundation, New York.