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Samurai Armor Exhibit Debuts at High Museum of Art

Ann and Gabriel Barbier Mueller collection showcases the artistry and intricacy of Samurai armor.



Now on view, the High Museum's "Samurai" exhibition from the collection of Ann and Gabriel Barbier Mueller explores the artistry and intricacy of Samurai armor. Featuring 150+ pieces of different armor, weapons, and helmets, the exhibition will transport you to a world you could only dream of in pictures and movie screens. These objects were made centuries ago. But this is the first time the collection has been presented in the Southeast.  

Pop Culture's Fascination with Samurai

Upon first entry, your ears are hit with booming music. A drum bangs slowly and rhythmically as you make your exit from the elevator. All around you are pop culture references of the samurai warrior that are familiar. The cult film “Kill Bill” plays on nearby TV screens. As you continue your journey into this new world, you are met with the first piece of armor. Go ahead and contemplate the intricacy, and the dedication it must have taken to create this this armor, as well as to wear it. These objects reveal the culture, lifestyle, and artistic legacy associated with the samurai warrior in Japanese society.

An Uncommon Merging of Delicate and Formidable

Move throughout the exhibit and imagine the stately men who would wear this garb in combat as well as ceremony. The pieces are intricate, with a sense of delicateness in a strong armored suit. Helmets have fire emblems, some show a family crest, and some have butterfly clasps. 

Artist Interprets Samurai and Calligraphy in New Complementary Works

In another part of the exhibit, you can view commissioned artwork from an artist named Brandon Sadler created especially for The High. It depicts the journey of a Samurai named Yasuke. The samurai lived by a code that valued honor, loyalty, bravery, and willingness to die. Theirs was a culture of fearsome contradictions: expert archers and swordsmen, they were also poets and scholars who were schooled in literature and the arts. Sadler’s recent work focuses on calligraphy. Sadler tells more of the Samurai story with words and lettering integrated into his works.   

More to Explore

Samurai Armor from the Collection of Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller is on view through September 17. View this link for ticket info.

After exploring the world of the samurai, you can continue your journey with a meal that celebrates the best of Japanese culture. After your visit to The High, head a few blocks south to Nagomiya, an authentic Japanese-owned IZAKAYA located at 10th and West Peachtree Streets.

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