Japan and New Hampshire are about as far apart geographically as you can get. However, from now until May 5th, there is a little bit of Japan visiting Manchester. The Currier Museum is now host to “Lethal Beauty: Samurai Weapons and Armor” which showcases the beauty found in the trappings of Japan’s warrior class.
|Photo from Currier Museum|
|Photo by Maria C. A. Fowler|
While I enjoyed seeing each piece in the collection, there were definitely a few standouts I paid extra attention to. First, I loved all the face masks. They were nothing I’d want to wear or see coming at me at high speed, but they were beautifully crafted and would cause serious damage in a head butt situation. Of all the many helmets, the tie for favorite head gear was between the helmet that looked like a bear head and the one that came with its own sake cup, chopsticks, and pair of sickles—so efficient for the traveling warrior!
|The exhibit catalog can be found in the museum shop.|
Finally, I was most surprised to see a re-purposed weapons section. It hadn’t occurred to me that one would recycle weapons, but it happened. After Samurai had their weapons taken away from them in the mid-to-late 1800’s, craftsman found ways to use such weapon parts as arrow shafts and sword pommels to new and brilliant purpose including baskets and small pill boxes with stories carved into them. My favorite recycled art was a basin made of 40 scabbard pieces that was used to hold bonsai. Quite the conversation starter.
“Lethal Beauty” is open until May 5th here in Manchester, NH before it moves onto Hawaii for a June opening. The Currier Museum is open every day but Tuesdays. See the website for hours and general admission rates. During the special exhibition, “Lethal Beauty,” there is an additional special exhibition charge per ticket-type of $5.00. Children under 18 are always allowed in free.
Other events related to the collection are also planned for the duration of the exhibit:
SAMURAI IN ACTION!
How were Japanese Samurai weapons and armor used? Gordon Fisher Sensei, senior instructor of laido with over 40 years of experience in martial arts, will demonstrate a selection of Samurai weapon exercises and wear armor after early Samurai. This program will also include an introduction to Samurai history and culture. This is sure to be an entertaining and informative event for adults and families alike.
Saturday, April 13, 2 pm
INSPIRED WORDS: WRITE A HAIKU OR TWO
Use the museum collection or special exhibition Lethal Beauty: Samurai Weapons and Armor as inspiration to write a poem or two in the style of Japanese haiku. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to submit your haiku and sign up to read your poems on April 14.
Sunday, April 14, 2 pm
SUPER SAMURAI SUNDAY
Celebrate Children’s Day, the Japanese national holiday celebrating the healthy growth and happiness of children, on the last day to view the Lethal Beauty: Samurai Weapons and Armor special exhibition. Create traditional Children’s Day crafts, participate in a Storytime in the Gallery, a performance by Dimensions in Dance of Manchester and more!
Sunday, May 5, 11 am-2 pm
If you are in the New Hampshire area, you really should stop in and see this intimate look at “Lethal Beauty.”