Lords of the Samurai

Legacy of a Daimyo Family

Lords of the Samurai

Contributions by: Morihiro Hosokawa
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.

Hosokawa Morihiro, eighteenth-generation head of the Hosokawa family and seventy-ninth prime minester of Japan, introduces the book. Takeuchi Jun'ichi, director of the Eisei-Bunko Museum, contributes an essay of the literary world of the daimyo. Yoko Woodson, curator of Japanese art at the Asian Art Museum, surveys the history of the Japanese warrior over several centuries. Deborah Clearwaters, director of education at the Asian Art Museum, considers the artistic world of the samurai, with special emphasis on the Way of Tea (chanoyu).

Lords of the Samurai demonstrates that Japanese warriors were not mere fighters but were also dedicated and inspired men of culture. It lays bare the principles that governed the spirit of the samurai, enabling it to endure for hundreds of years and continue to resonate today.
  • Asian Art Museum   | 
  • 240 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780939117468 | 
  • June 2009

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In 1991 the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco formally accessioned twenty-seven unique works of Japanese art spanning 800 years of Japanese culture, from the late 11th through the mid-19th centuries. In this catalogue, each work is presented in its historical, cultural, and aesthetic contexts. Photos are augmented by enlarged details and supplemental illustrations for comparison. The collection includes thirteen religious objects from the Heian through Muromachi periods, and fourteen secular...

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