The Bowers Museum in southern California opens a new exhibition this Sunday, “Art of the Samurai: Selections from the Tokyo National Museum.” In conjunction, the museum is hosting a range of samurai-related events. Sword fetishists, get ready!
All lectures are free to Members and with paid admission unless otherwise noted.
Sunday, April 19
OPENING DAY LECTURE: ART OF A WARLORD, SHOGUN, AND DEITY: TOKUGAWA IEYASU (1546-1616) AND THE POLITICS OF SAMURAI CULTURE
Dr. Morgan Pitelka, Chair of the Asian Studies Department at Occidental College and a cultural historian of pre-modern Japan, explores the art collecting, patronage, and memorialization of the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate, the military regime that governed Japan from 1603 to 1868. Tokugawa Ieyasu was a collector of paintings and ceramics, a fan of the Noh theatere, a grudging participant in tea ritual, and a passionate devotee of falconry.
Saturday, April 25
SPIRIT OF THE SWORD, CONVERSATIONS WITH TWO RENOWNED BLADEMAKERS
Widely revered for their fine craftsmanship of Japanese-style swords, father and son Phill and Phil Hartsfield share insight, stories, the science, and the spirituality behind their over 30 years of blade making. A live demonstration will follow the lecture.
Sunday, May 3
WARRIOR VENDETTAS AND THE TOKUGAWA ORDER
Using the Incident of the Forty-Seven Ronin and other vendettas as examples, Dr. Samuel H. Yamashita, Henry E. Sheffield Professor of History, Pomona College, describes how Tokugawa authorities attempted to control the warriors’ vengeful feelings and how they reacted when such feelings led to impermissible behavior.
Thursday, May 14
AN INTRODUCTION TO JAPANESE SAKE & SAKE TASTING
Curious about Japanese sake but not sure where to begin? Meher McArthur, specialist in the art and culture of East Asia, explores the history of sake (rise wine), how and where it is made, drinking etiquette, and its importance in Japanese culture. McArthur will introduce you to eight different kinds of sake. Learn the difference between regular and premium, unfiltered and unpasteurized, as well as the best ways to drink sake – hot or cold. Space is limited. Members $18; General $22. Pre-payment is required. Space is limited. Please send reservations to Education Department, Bowers Museum, 2002 North Main Street, Santa Ana, CA 92706. For more information, please contact wbrown(at)bowers.org.
Saturday, May 16
JAPANESE CASTLES AND THEIR CONTENTS: SAMURAI ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE
Dr. Bruce Coats, Scripps, discusses the way in which the 17th century Japanese samurai class constructed enormous castle complexes throughout Japan, and filled them with spectacular paintings, fine furniture and ceramics, and extraordinary arms and armor. This lecture will explore some of these domains of the military, with particular emphasis on Kobori Enshu (1579-1647) who built castles, gardens, temples and teahouses for the shogun and provincial governors.
Sunday, May 31
JAPANESE SWORDS AND ARMOR
Dr. Bruce Coats, Scripps College, surveys the development and fabrication of Japanese swords from ancient to modern times. Attention will also be given to sword mountings, body armor, and battle tactics to gain a broader perspective on the lives and deaths of samurai. Japanese swords are among the world’s finest weapons
Sunday, June 14
LESSONS FROM THE PAST
Renowned Japanese kimono designer and stylist Nobuaki Tomita introduces the history and evolution of samurai clothing worn during the Meiji Restoration in Edo period Japan, along with that of the kimono during the Taisho, Showa, and Heisei eras. Accompanying this program will be a collection of clothing, modeled and displayed.