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Art From Us MUSEUM GUIDE : The Metropolitan Museum of Art : Gallery 377

 The MET : Gallery 377 : Japanese Arms & Armor

Art From Us, Museum Guide #594

Art From Us presents a must-see Museum Guide daily, where we showcase specific artworks in specific museums – from across the globe. Today, for Art From Us, Museum Guide #594 the spotlight is on the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the MET) NY’s Gallery 377. Showcasing a collection of Japanese Arms & Armor.

The three works in focus are :

  1. Armor (Yoroi), early 14th century.
  2. Cuirass of a do-maru, from 15th century.
  3. Helmet (Hoshi Kabuto) in the 13th century style, from late 17th or early 18th century.

The significance of the 3 works chosen for Art From Us, Museum Guide #594

Welcome to the Art From Us, Museum Guide #594. As is best describer by the Metropolitan Museum of Art itself :

“This gallery includes the finest display outside of Japan of Samurai armor, edged weapons, equestrian equipment, and accessories from the Kofun Period in the fifth century to the end of the Edo Period in the late nineteenth century.”

Over the last few days of Art From Us, Museum Guide, we have spoken of the evolution of different types of weapons, including swords, firearms etc. Today, in order to explore the development of weaponry in a Japanese context, let us turn east and focus on the Kofun and Edo periods.

The Kofun Period

The period between c. 250 BC to 538 BC was referred to as the Kofun period in Japan. The era borrowed its name from the burial mounds that were designed to bury the remains of members of high society at the time. Apart from housing the remains of the dearly departed, the mounds also housed the persons personal belongings. The Kofun period was also marked by developments in pottery and agricultural technology.

The Edo Period

Japan’s Edo Period spanned from 1615 to 1868. This was around the time that the civil unrest in Japan finally settled down, through the country’s unification under the Tokugawa family. While the Japanese economy remained a predominantly agrarian one, this period saw innovation in crafts and developments in transport and communication.

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