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Lethal Beauty: Samurai come to Birmingham Museum of Art

 

Jan Swoope

 

Tales of the samurai have captivated imaginations since the 12th century. In Lethal Beauty: Samurai Weapons and Armor, a glimpse into the lives of these warriors who served Japan through times of intense warfare, as well as peace, is available to the public through Sept. 21 at the Birmingham Museum of Art. 

 

Sixty-three pieces including armor, swords and helmets made by master craftsmen of the 13th to 20th centuries make up the exhibit from the Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture in California. 

 

Bushido (The Way of the Samurai) is the code of chivalry by which this warrior caste lived. It encompasses not only mastery of martial arts, but ideals of morality, bravery, compassion, respect, honor, glory and loyalty. The samurai's sword was a revered possession and great attention was lavished on weapons and armor, resulting in stunning works. 

 

The Lethal Beauty exhibit was curated by Dr. Andreas Marks of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. The tour is organized by International Arts and Artists of Washington, D.C. 

 

 

 

How to go 

 

Tour the exhibit on your own, or docent-led tours are available through Sept. 7 for groups of 10 or more. To book a tour, call 205-328-7628. Cost to attend the exhibit is $10 ($8 for seniors and adult groups). Students are $5. Children 12 and under attend free. The museum is located at 2000 Rev. Abraham Woods Jr. Blvd. in Birmingham. 

 

For general information, visit artsbma.org or call 205-254-2565. A Japanese gardens tour is offered July 12; cost is $45 for non-members, $35 for members. 

 

The Lethal Beauty: Samurai Weapons and Armor was curated by Dr. Andreas Marks of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. The tour is organized by International Arts and Artists of Washington, D.C. 

 

The exhibit is presented by Merrill Lynch Management. Additional support is provided by The E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, the Asian Art Society of the Birmingham Museum of Art, the Japan Foundation New York and the City of Birmingham.

 

Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.

 

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