New art exhibit features lethal Samurai weapons, armor

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It doesn’t get any more lethal than this — a true Samurai sword.

“We have two swords in the exhibition that have been designated as important swords, which is the highest recognition that a sword can receive,” Honolulu Museum of Art’s Curator of Asian Art Shawn Eichman said.

One of the precious blades has a fascinating story.

“One of the swords we have in the exhibition is actually war booty. It was seized from a family after a battle from a defeated enemy. It’s been kept in the family for centuries after that,” Eichman said.

The exhibit also features ceremonial armor that would have been worn centuries ago by Samurai.

“I think that there is something strangely familiar about them. We’ve seen so much influence in samurai culture in pop culture. For example, the helmet in this suit of armor here really reminds one of Darth Vader’s helmet in Star Wars. And Darth Vader’s helmet was modeled after a real Japanese helmet,” Eichman said.

There’s more than just weapons to see at this exhibit.

“In the six years I have been here, this is the first opportunity to bring an exhibition like this to the museum. So, it’s a real opportunity for everyone,” Eichman said.

The “Lethal Beauty Samurai Weapons and Armor” exhibit opens Thursday and will run through Aug. 18.

There are also plans for a Samurai themed film festival and a special Samurai art after dark.

For more information, visit the Honolulu Museum of Art’s website.

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