This weekend, we finally made it to the (last day of the) Samurai exhibit at the Portland Art Museum - and it was well worth the wait! The exhibit was the first museum tour of a private collection and was only being shown at a few museums worldwide, and Portland's was the only stop on the west coast, so we felt very privileged to be able to see it.
The collection (which was much bigger than I was expecting!) was pieced together over the years by a family from Texas and represents one of the largest of its kind in the world. On our way out, we stopped in the gift shop and got the exhibition book, which has a really interesting essay written by the collector about how his passion for samurai armor began. The book itself is huge and filled with essays written by samurai scholars - and, of course, photos of each piece from the collection.
What an incredible collection it was! The amount of care put into the tiniest detail was something that spoke to us, being crafters of (at times) very meticulous pieces.
There were so many different types of helmets! It almost seemed as though no two samurai would have ever had the same one. It was really different than the armor at the European armor court I grew up loving to visit - that seems much more restrained and standardized in comparison. The samurai warrior seemed much more individualized to each warrior.
I could have stayed for days, looking at every last thing - it seemed like there were inspiring details everywhere. I'm really glad we got the book, so we can look through it over and over again and find interesting bits that we haven't ever seen before.
All in all, it was a very inspiring trip to the museum, and a perfect way to spend an afternoon.