May, 21 - July, 16, 2008

the Assumption Belfry and One-Pillar Chamber of the Patriarch's Palace

Organized by:
Moscow Kremlin Museums, Tokyo National Museum 

01# Armour in ROKUMAIDO GUSOKU style with dark blue lacingThe exhibition, composed of items from collection of the Tokyo National Museum, continues a long-term programme of the Moscow Kremlin museums as a topical display among the others, i.e. exhibitions from the Louvre, Vienna's Museum of Art History, State Hermitage museum, Dresden Green Vault, Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium.

Enthusiasm for "Bushido", a code of conduct, and interest in culture of the Japanese military nobility have largely increased in recent years. "Samurai" means "a warrior" in Japan, but the very word "samurai" is derived from the archaic Japanese verb "samorau", changed to "saburau", meaning "to serve"; thus, first of all, a samurai is a servant of a lord. With time samurais have preserved enough arms and armour to perform the duty of security guards for a court nobility. By the XIIth century they came to power and developed an independent society with their own traditions, art and aesthetics. That highly educated, literate people have made an important contribution to culture and political relations of Japan with other countries.

The exhibition presents over 70 unique artworks relating to a long period from the Xth to XXth century, i.e. arming, cold steel, utensils for tea ceremonies, costumes and dresses of the Noh theatre, articles of everyday life (clothes, jewellery, household stuff), which testify samurais' high level of education, accomplishment, technical skills. The most part of the collection dates from the Edo period (1603-1868), known as the end of internal wars and beginning of the early modern period of Japan. At that date the Japanese appeared in the territory of Russia thus initiated an interaction between our countries. In a certain way the represented exhibits reveal a history of those centuries-old Russo-Japanese cultural relations.

The exhibition consists of two thematic sections, illustrating multiple aspects of samurai: "Arms and Armour", devoted to swords and armour, and "Culture of Samurai", which introduces audience to costumes for Noh performance and tea ceremony implements. Also the display includes garments and a wedding set for woman of samurai families.