"It seems that when they were not fighting one another the famed samurai liked to indulge in calligraphy and painting and compose poetry. This exhibition brings together more than 150 works from across Japan, including armor, swords and guns, calligraphy and paintings."—The New York Times
Samurai means "he who serves," and these fierce warriors acted in the service of powerful feudal lords known as daimyo. Among the most important daimyo families were members of the Hosokawa clan, whose lineage dates back some six hundred years.
Lords of the Samurai illuminates the private and public lives of the daimyo by focusing on approximately 160 works from the Hosokawa family collection housed in the Eisei-Bunko Museum in Tokyo, the Kumamoto Castle and the Kumamoto Municipal Museum in Kyushu. Objects discussed include suits of armor, armaments (including swords and guns), formal attire, calligraphy, paintings, tea ware, lacquer ware, masks and musical instruments.
Featuring an extended essay by Thomas Cleary, Lords of the Samurai lays bare the principles that governed the spirit of the samurai, enabling it to endure for hundreds of years and continue to resonate today.