Apr 19, 2024 - Culture

Popular "Samurai Armor" exhibit comes to VMFA

A samurai in red and black armor

"Samurai Armor" runs through Aug. 24 at VMFA. Photo: Karri Peifer/Axios

One of the largest collections of Japanese samurai armor in the world will be on view at VMFA beginning Saturday.

Why it matters: "Samurai Armor" offers Richmonders a rare opportunity to see this stunning collection up close, and with 360-degree views of many of the intricate suits.

The big picture: The samurai period spanned nearly 700 years of Japanese history, running from 1185 to 1868.

  • Samurai (which means "those who serve") were the military elite soldiers of the nation's warrior culture. Their armor, made from iron and leather and passed down through generations, is a symbol of the samurai legacy.

What's inside: Around 140 objects from the samurai era, including 17 full suits of armor, 50 helmets and masks and, of course, samurai swords and other weapons, all made between the 14th and 19th centuries.

2 samurai on horses wearing armor
A few examples of horse armor, which was developed in the Momoyama period (1573–1615), are including in the exhibition. Photo: Karri Peifer/Axios

If you go: "Samurai Armor'' runs through Aug. 4. Adult tickets to the exhibition are $15. VMFA is open daily, and admission to the museum is free.

Worth noting: Amuse, the restaurant on the top floor of the museum, created a Japanese-inspired menu (and cocktails) to accompany the exhibition.

💭 Karri's thought bubble: I've been streaming the excellent "Shōgun" miniseries on Hulu and have become lowkey obsessed with samurai culture. This exhibition is a must-see for any fellow local fans of the show.


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