Samurai and the Culture of Japan’s Great Peace


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Fabian Drixler, William D. Fleming, and Robert George Wheeler

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An exquisite collection of objects relating to the traditions of samurai warriors, from swords and armor to dishes and paintings

Through artifacts from the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History and other collections at Yale University, this lavishly illustrated volume takes readers on a journey into Japan’s early modern cultural and political history. It also offers tantalizing glimpses of medieval Japan and the technology underlying the material culture of the samurai. Some objects are dazzling aesthetic and technical feats: impossibly intricate lacquerware, swords as bright and sharp as the day they were forged, and glittering suits of armor from daimyo collections. Others are more unassuming, but equally capable of evoking visions of a lost world. Readers will encounter commoners alternately fearful of samurai violence and swept up in the romance of the cult of loyalty; artists and writers conjuring scenes of adventure and wit; families reaching out to departed kin across the chasm of death; parents deciding whether to raise or reject a newborn baby; underground Christians hiding their faith behind a Buddhist icon; and Japanese artifacts that take on new meanings in Ainu villages and the parlors of New England collectors.
This book covers some well-known facets of Japanese history, but also features cutting-edge research. Like the exhibition from which it emerges, it is designed to be engaging and accessible to the general public while offering experts new information and perspectives.

Distributed for Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History

Fabian Drixler is associate professor of history at Yale University. William D. Fleming is assistant professor of East Asian languages and literatures and theater studies at Yale University. Robert George Wheeler is the Harold Hodgkinson Professor Emeritus of Engineering and Applied Science, professor emeritus of applied physics, and professor emeritus of physics at Yale University, and a faculty affiliate in anthropology at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History.

“Ambitious and well-rounded.”—Publishers Weekly
ISBN: 9781933789033
Publication Date: March 31, 2015
Publishing Partner: Distributed for Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History
132 pages, 8 1/2 x 11
178 color + 5 b/w illus.