Armour
Japanese armour was an article of great beauty and impressive craftsmanship. For seven centuries the form was almost unchanged and included 23 different items that composed six main areas. Bound with silk braids, the colour and closeness of the binding indicated the warrior’s rank. The mon, or family crest, was often displayed on the helmet and identified each warrior – for example a chrysanthemum flower was the symbol of the imperial household. Even when out of armour, the samurai always wore two formal swords (daisho or the ‘long and the short’) with their ceremonial dress.

Weaponry
The samurai used several weapons including the bow and arrow, spear, and matchlock gun, but it was the sword that was “the soul of the samurai.” In addition to their incredible quality, being both flexible and strong, the great beauty of the Japanese sword fostered legends surrounding both them and the men who crafted them. The samurai themselves believed that every sword housed a divine spirit.

Armour
Japanese armour was an article of great beauty and impressive craftsmanship. For seven centuries the form was almost unchanged and included 23 different items that composed six main areas. Bound with silk braids, the colour and closeness of the binding indicated the warrior’s rank. The mon, or family crest, was often displayed on the helmet and identified each warrior – for example a chrysanthemum flower was the symbol of the imperial household. Even when out of armour, the samurai always wore two formal swords (daisho or the ‘long and the short’) with their ceremonial dress.

Weaponry
The samurai used several weapons including the bow and arrow, spear, and matchlock gun, but it was the sword that was “the soul of the samurai.” In addition to their incredible quality, being both flexible and strong, the great beauty of the Japanese sword fostered legends surrounding both them and the men who crafted them. The samurai themselves believed that every sword housed a divine spirit.

© 2006, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. All Rights Reserved.

A Samurai warrior dressed in full armour.

Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (Print - Utagawa Kuniyoshi)
Print given in memory of Suga Mutsu by her husband Ian Mutsu

JAPAN
© 2006, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. All Rights Reserved.


Learning Objectives

The following learning objectives have been created with considerable and specific reference to the Prescribed Learning Outcomes (PLOs) for various grades and subjects as outlined by the Ministry of Education for the province of British Columbia. The portions that directly reflect curricula language have been italicized. All applicable texts, websites, and other learning resources are listed in the bibliography under References.

• Students will be introduced to a variety of arms and armour used by samurai through visual and didactic information.
• Students will recognize certain components visually and identify their use.
• Students will have a visual concept of life under a military political regime and analyze how this contributed to the identity of feudal and contemporary Japanese civilization.
• Students will learn some Japanese vocabulary (e.g. mempo, do-maru).


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