I've posted previously about an art exhibition entitled Art of the Samurai. Another exhibition is opening in San Franciso, entitled "Lords of the Samurai." An excerpt of a review is to be found below. The full article may be found here. Of course with the full article, there are some pictures to go with it. One of them is on the left. It is entitled "Wild Horse" and it was painted by the famous samurai, Miyamoto Musashi.
Art review: 'Lords of the Samurai'
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Lords of the Samurai," which opened Friday at the Asian Art Museum, evokes a martial ethos completely antithetical to the remote-controlled carnage of today's high-tech warfare.
The samurai of premodern Japan belonged to a social order in which the cultivation of martial virtue did not preclude but encouraged cultivation of artistry in other disciplines such as calligraphy, painting and the composing of poems.
The core precepts: that as guardians of civil order, samurai ought to internalize something of their culture's highest accomplishments, and that the ideal of an honorable death implied that of a worthy life.
In a catalog essay, Takeuchi Jun'ichi, director of the Eisei-Bunko Museum in Tokyo, from which most of the exhibition comes, recounts an extraordinary incident of the emperor's intervention to end a battle that jeopardized the life of the daimyo, or warlord, Hosokawa Yusai.
Head of the Hosokawa clan at the time, Yusai (1534-1610) was probably the only man in Japan at the time with full knowledge of a canonical poetry anthology and of an orally transmitted esoteric commentary upon it. This knowledge, probably more than his hereditary prerogatives and his military and civil achievements as daimyo, argued for his life being spared.
Takeuchi speculates that even the attackers besieging Yusai's castle, aware of the knowledge he embodied, feared to prosecute their full strategic advantages, hopeful for some resolution that would preserve the cultural treasure he personified.