Showing posts with label samurai. Show all posts
Showing posts with label samurai. Show all posts

October 22, 2015

NWOS Fall Show & Sale Nov. 7-8th

Come visit the NW Orchid Society's annual Fall Show & Sale at Swanson's Nursery November 7-8th 2015.   Here is an excellent opportunity to get ahold of some species and rare genetics for my orchid friends in the Pac NW.  There will be at least five vendors including Seattle Orchid​, Emerald City Orchids​, Lucky Girl Orchids​, and Ahtanum Orchids.  Talks will be offered as well as AOS judging on Saturday morning.  Come join us...(Click here for more info)
Neofinetia fulcata

Swanson's Nursery
9701 15th Ave NW
Seattle WA, 98117
Saturday 9-5
Sunday 10-4

And for those of you scratching your heads wondering what orchids could possibly have to do with martial arts and this blog... well besides being a passion of mine, Neofinetia falcata are known as "Wind" or "Samurai" orchids because they were coveted by the warrior class of feudal Japan since the 1600's.  Shogun Tokugawa fell in love with the plant and is rumored to have sent samurai to all corners of Japan in search of rare specimens.  Often carried in protective cages, if commoners were to even breathe on the plant they risked beheading! 

Rest assured we will not behead anyone for breathing on any orchids, unless of course you are rocking halitosis! 


April 22, 2014

Samurai: Beyond the Sword - Review of the Samurai Exhibit at the Detroit Institute of Arts

For the second time this year (recall the review I did on the Portland Art Museum's exhibit "Samurai") we have had the luck to get wind of rare collections in cities we were visiting.  Just last week the Detroit Institute of Arts museum was the latest stop where the "Samurai: Beyond the Sword" blew away all expectations. 

Meant to illustrate the everyday life of a Samurai, the exhibit was encompassing without being redundant and boring.  Compared to the armor centered focus in Portland, BTS offered a few pieces of everything from armor, to weapons, to tea cups, and wood blocks.  Security was obnoxiously overbearing so I was only able to sneak a few shots of the lethally stunning blades from three to five hundred years ago, but as you can see they were amazing.  Razor sharp even after being dormant for generations, yet the craftsmanship is better than most you will find even today.

A number of pieces could be talked about but the one item my mind keeps floating back to is an amazingly well kept quiver with half a dozen arrows.  The shafts were straighter than any lathe could mill.  The arrow heads of various size carried an aire of death about them even through glass as if I could feel how heavy they were both in weight and intent.  Feathers lined the shaft just forward of the notch.  Seemingly perfect in their upright attention.


I personally love these types of exhibits.  A connection to a past that we are quickly losing.  A legacy where one may not agree with the tendencies of war, but no one can question the virtues of the men and women of the Samurai.  I walk away with a greater appreciation of all craftsmen and artisans.  Armor is functional.  Swords, axes, knives are functional tools.  People like Jeff Crowner are modern day bladesmiths who make functional art and should be celebrated as such.  I am reminded of all the "small" people who make every day livable in our country, and I am reminded that it is ok to pay a few more bucks for something made but someone local.  Why?  Because they matter more than a factory does in China.

If you get the chance to visit before June 1st you certainly will not be disappointed, and the quality of the naginata and katana blades is worth the $16 entry fee.

Click here for more info on Samurai: Beyond the Sword. 

January 5, 2014

Armor as Art: A Review of the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Samurai Armor Collection

Craftsmen as talented and skilled as any of the warriors that adorned their ware are the feature at Portland Art Museums "Samurai!" exhibit running through January 12th.  Truly an amazing representation of the culmination of skill in fabricating the various armor, tacks, quivers, helmets, and other various accouterments that joined Samurai on the field of battle.  From an artistically functional standpoint this is most likely the best exhibit I have ever seen, and viewing it with a martial artists eyes showcased a rare view of the armor (not the arms) of the samurai.  

Portland's museum is easily accessible in the southwest part of downtown, within walking distance of most major hotels.  A $20 entry fee grants you unlimited access to Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller's unique collection of human and equine armor, a collection normally housed in Texas.  I loved the exhibits and design as they allowed you to view 360 degrees around many of the pieces, housed in cases that were tight enough to allow extremely close viewing.   The detail involved with many of the designs was nothing short of amazing, absolutely stunning.

Not only were these various pieces eye catching, but they were functional as well with adaptations derived directly from combat.  For instance doe skin tabs on the chest of archers ensured that the bow string would not catch on the armor.  That kind of shit absolutely fascinates me.  Born of experience, these inventions meant the difference between life and death... literally!!  In the 21st century we can cling onto the idea of being true "warriors" but the fact is there is no such equivalent to the samurai in the modern world.  No one specializes in the warfare of blades and arrows as in the past.  This exhibit offers a peek into a world that no longer exists, and offers us a most beautiful portrayal of a level of functional craftsmanship that is all but forgotten in modern society. 


I understand this review comes merely a week prior to the end of the exhibit, but trust me when I tell you that you will not regret dropping your silly plans for next week and making this a destination for you and your family.



Click here to be re-directed to a most amazing exhibit on the Samurai! 

October 1, 2013

Samurai Armor Exhibit: The Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection at the Portland Art Museum

Both connoisseurs of classic Asian art and martial artists alike will not want to miss this rare opportunity to view the rarely seen private collection of Samurai armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller collection.  With pieces spanning from the 14 - 19th centuries you will get a glimpse of the beautifully intricate designs and dressings that would be considered by many as functional art.

The Samurai exhibit opens at the Portland Art Museum this Saturday Oct 5th through January 12, 2014 and this will be the ONLY west coast showing for this amazing collection.

For more information including directions and viewing times please click here!