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The Samurai Art Museum - Berlin

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#1 DaveT


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Posted 03 July 2017 - 05:43 PM

Last week I had the amazing opportunity to visit the Samurai Art Museum in Berlin prior to its official opening. All I can say is wow! If you are a katchu fan you really must put down a visit on your bucket list.

Here is some additional information written by Ian.


Owner and collector Peter Janssen

In the late 19th century Western culture was revolutionised when it discovered the sophistication and novelty of the arts developed in Japan during its 230 years of isolation from the rest of the world. Japonism became a craze as artists and collectors scrambled to acquire woodblock prints, lacquer ware and other items that had begun to appear in antique and curio shops. Tourists flocked to Japan to see for themselves the final days of a fast vanishing society, bringing back souvenirs to adorn their homes, not least being the arms and armour of the samurai, the hereditary military class that had dominated Japanese society for almost 1000 years. Many saw these items simply as curiosities, but others recognised the superlative quality and artistry they showed.


Visitor Ian Bottomley, Curator Emeritus of Oriental Collections at the Royal Armouries UK seen here admiring an old akodanari style helmet. One of the collections many treasures.


It was exactly these attributes that were recognised some 30 years ago by Peter Janssen who sought out and began to acquire examples of the finest quality, building up a large collection of Japanese arms and armour that can have few if any rivals anywhere in the world. In an act of unprecedented generosity, Peter Janssen is now making his magnificent collection available to others, both for study by experts or simply to be admired by others. In his new, purposely-built Samurai Art Museum, visitors can see for themselves some of the finest products of Japan’s armourers, swordsmiths, lacquer workers and makers of sword fittings. While some of the armours and helmets were made to protect their wearers on the battlefield, others were made for Japan’s aristocracy, to be worn as an indication of their rank and status.

Also displayed are swords carried by some of Japan’s highest nobles, blades treasured in families for centuries and sword fittings produced by artists whose exquisite workmanship has never been equalled. Their products in iron, gold, silver and metallic alloys depict scenes from nature, from myths and legends as well as everyday objects in such minute detail as to almost defy belief. Art is displayed here in almost infinite variety. 
In short, the Samurai-Art Museum offers visitors an experience that will delight and surprise how imaginative and consummately beautiful Japan’s applied arts can be.


The Samurai Art Museum is due to open to the public in late 2017

Website: thesamurai-artmuseum.com


Also there will be a Gathering in May. A perfect opportunity to meet some of the forum members, socialise and look at great armour and swords.


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David Thatcher - Katchushi Koubou UK       http://yoroi.uk

Professional Conservator and Restorer of Japanese Armour
MEMBER OF: 一般社団法人 日本甲冑武具研究保存会 Nihon Katchu Bugu Kenkyu Hozon Kai

The Association for the Research and Preservation of Japanese Helmets and Armor - Japan

#2 Bugyotsuji



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Posted 04 July 2017 - 09:34 AM

I was wondering what on earth could be keeping both Dave and Ian quiet recently. Say no more. Outstanding.
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Piers D

平常心 Heijoshin

#3 IanB


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Posted 04 July 2017 - 11:06 AM

Piers, Sadly very few guns - unless has others stashed away, only 2. As for swords and fittings, they are there in such abundance and quality that all but defy belief. My favourite is a mint daisho koshirae in plain polished black saya with golld mon, tachibana and 9 stars, black bindings and all the mounts in shakudo of dragons in clouds by Omori Teruhide. Sounds ordinary, but never have a pair of swords screamed such consummate quality and refined taste to me - they were breath taking. I suspect the two mon may indicate they were made for a wedding present.

Ian Bottomley

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#4 Jussi Ekholm

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Posted 04 July 2017 - 06:08 PM

Thanks for the info Dave & Ian. I have heard about this upcoming museum from few sources and my mind is bit blown. Guess I'll definately have to visit Berlin again.  :laughing: 

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Jussi Ekholm

#5 Anthony de Vos

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 06:58 PM



Rumors say that among all the Tokubetsu Juyo swords in the collection, there is also a national treasure.

I think the museum will be a treat for sword lowers and armor geeks alike.



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