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Curator’s Choice: Lethal Beauty

/ Collections - Staff Updates


One of my favorite pieces in the Lethal Beauty exhibition is the helmet decorated with a sake cup, a pair of chopsticks and a pair of sickles. Helmets were a very personal part of the armor, and represented things that were important to the owner. In this helmet the symbolism is great fun.  The sake cup and chopsticks are removable and could possibly be used if the owner wanted. The inscription on the right chopstick is the name of Hachiman, the Japanese Buddhist God of War. On the left the characters refer to a special scented Buddhist holy water.  The sickles to either side are a type used as a weapon, but also resemble those used to harvest rice.  I think it is pretty clear that this warrior was hoping for protection from Hachiman, but also for a good meal at the end of the day!

See this piece and many more at Lethal Beauty: Samurai Weapons and Armor before it closes on Sunday, September 21! Click here to learn more.