A few nights ago I went to the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) in Boston – Wednesday nights are free for the public (as an MIT student I always get in free )- to see the Samurai exhibit. All I can say is that you absolutely have to go see it. I had no idea that samurais were such dandies! I knew the basic look, but I had no idea how much it varies and how ornate it is. Not only did it remind me of Nick Cave’s Soundsuits (which I wrote about a few weeks ago) it also reminded me of the hats of Stephen Jones and Philip Treacy, the preeminent milliner’s for most of the major fashion houses (both have inexplicably terrible websites, you’re better off with Google image search). Even if you think you haven’t seen their work, you have. Anytime a celebrity pops up in Yahoo! news with a wild hat, it was designed by them. But I’m getting sidetracked.
The show is modest in size, but packed with content. They have full samurai ensembles sitting, standing and galloping on horseback. They even have a child-sized samurai suit! They also have individual pieces – helmets, shin guards, gloves – on display, as well as large mural-sized artwork of the samurais in action. My partner was so thrilled he bought an oak “samurai-inspired” sword from the gift shop. It was $15 if you’d like your own.