Discover the Japanese Samurai at the Cincinnati Art Museum

Exhibit runs Feb. 11-May 7, 2017
Discover the Japanese Samurai at the Cincinnati Art Museum
Posted at 7:29 AM, Dec 20, 2016

CINCINNATI -- The Cincinnati Art Museum will present an in-depth look at the historical and cultural influence of Japan’s Samurai in the exhibition Dressed to Kill: Japanese Arms and Armor from Feb. 11 to May 7, 2017.

More than 130 warrior-related objects from the 16th to 19th centuries will be on display from the Cincinnati Art Museum’s collections and first-ever loans from the outstanding holdings of collector Gary Grose.

Samurai began as skillful provincial warriors before rising to power as members of the powerful military caste in feudal Japan. Their traditional moral principles, known as bushid or “the way of the warrior,” stressed loyalty, mastery of martial arts and honor until the death.

Dressed to Kill aims to reveal the true story and deepen the understanding of the warrior-nobles of Japan. Contrasted with popular depictions, the context and understanding of Samurai is integral to Japanese art history.

This exhibition features 11 full suits of armor including one commissioned for a youth between ages 11 and 13, weapons, banners, costumes, prints and paintings, many on view for the first time. Celebrating Japanese art and fine craftsmanship, this exhibition explores the powerful impact of Samurai ideals, principles and power that influenced the historical and cultural development of Japan.

“Dressed to Kill is an eye-opening exhibition intended to separate Samurai fact from fiction,” said Cincinnati Art Museum Curator of Asian Art Dr. Hou-Mei Sung, who organized the exhibition. “We hope to contribute a unique and deeply impactful historical depiction of the role Samurai warriors played in Japanese culture.”

The Cincinnati Art Museum houses one of the oldest and most extensive Japanese art collections among all U.S. museums.

Transcending Reality: The Woodcuts of Ksaka Gajin

Running concurrently, Transcending Reality: The Woodcuts of Ksaka Gajin celebrates the Cincinnati Art Museum’s Howard and Caroline Porter Collection, the largest repository of the woodcuts of Ksaka Gajin outside the family in Tokyo, Japan.

Transcending Reality captures the beauty of Japan’s landscape and architectural monuments in a manner that is modern in its individualized expression as well as related stylistically to European and American abstract painting. The exhibition will be shown next to Dressed to Kill in Western and Southern Gallery 233.

Joint special exhibition tickets allows entry to both Dressed to Kill and Transcending Reality. All ticketed exhibitions are free for museum members. Non-members may purchase tickets at or at the art museum. They are $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 6 to 17 and college students with ID. Other discounts are available.