TRAVEL DIARY: Samurai history at an art gallery

I was lucky enough a while back to be wandering around an art gallery, where I found an incredible exhibition on the age of the samurai within Japan. I was fascinated to see real pieces of art, armour, pottery and sword pieces from Japan’s tumultuous history. And I took lots of photos, so though I might share them here, as I found the whole experience really interesting.

I hope you do too! 🙂

The first picture below though, is actually a piece of pottery from Korea. This was very interesting and exciting for me to see, as I have been doing a lot of reading and (amateurish hobby) research into the Imjin War during the late 1500s in Joseon Korea (when Japanese samurai invaded Joseon on their way to Ming China), and this little tea bowl is from the 1400s or 1500s Joseon Korea …. which just sort of blows my mind!

Wow.

Look at it. Someone during the Joseon dynasty drank from this tea bowl, more than 500 years before you were born.

Wow.

Next up is my other favourite thing from the exhibition. This is a sword with a story, and gosh do I love a good story. And this must be the most epic one ever!!!!

Check out the photos I took below of the sword itself, and the caption, which tells you a little about the young assasin who wore it.

The engraving on the hilt is what really gets under my skin. and those delicate golden bones carved into the casing. Can you see them?

Sorry about the picture quality for the caption, but I had to include it, because it is the story behind the sword that makes this piece so fascinating!

I can’t even imagine it. Over 150 years ago in Japan, when the world was a very different place, a young man carried this sword. And used it to kill.

And if you look at his birth and death dates in the caption, you see that this assassin took up this sword when he was only fifteen years old, and was executed by the time he was thirty two.

Gosh.

Whoah.

I love also, the delicate gold characters of the inscription, which you can see on the blade, where it would normally be hidden beneath the hilt of the sword.

Humans Have No Bones.

Chilling, right? And utterly fascinating.

Aaaaaaaand here is a bunch of other incredible things I learned about during this exhibition. I loved it!

The photo directly below is of intricate sword hilts, mostly from the 1800s, to protect the hand while using a sword.

Sorry about the quality of the caption above, I included it as it is for tyhe previous armour photograph, and it is always more intestering to understand things in context, with the time they were worn and the meaning behind them.

I really hope you enjoyed this little look at the pieces I saw. I had a lot of fun and learned quite a bit! 🙂

Thank you for reading, please feel free to leave a comment below!

Lee Evie

LEE EVIE is a podcaster, blogger and author of dark historical fiction set in old Korea.

Lee Evie’s historical fiction novels!


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