The Art of the Samurai…Layer upon Layer

The Art of the Samurai…Layer upon Layer

There is an incredible exhibition at The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) called Samurai: Japanese Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection.

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These works employ an extraordinary use of layering: materials, colors, forms, shapes, textures.  They are a visual feast, steeped in history. Below is a selection of highlights…please take the tour!

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VEST

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There is another wonderful exhibition at the Pavilion for Japanese Art entitled Art of the Samurai: Swords, Paintings, Prints, and Textiles, which showcases Japanese swords, samurai robes, battle screens, and woodblock prints depicting legends and battles.

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This beautiful installation complements the exhibition Samurai: Japanese Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection at LACMA.

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Featured Work- The “Leopard”

Featured Work: The “Leopard”

This image is based on a piece of 14th century embroidery depicting the “Leopards of England”.  Remade into a religious garment in the 18th century,  it may have originally been a horse blanket created for the English King, Edward III.  It has been re-imagined here as a mock-up for a larger scale mural, one of my wish list of projects!

Re-imagined from embroidery to paint...

I discovered the original image at the Cluny Museum in Paris, the “Musee nationale de Moyen Age – Thermes de Cluny”, which houses one of the richest medieval collections in the world.  The Middle (Medieval) Ages is one of my favorite historical period for images…depictions of marvelous creatures and fantastical beings expressed everywhere in paintings, sculpture, carvings, and tapestries.  It would seem that the pagan underpinnings of European culture still breathe through these creations, which can inspire, delight, and mystify our soul upon  beholding.

A happy guardian of the harvast?

The Leopard grins out at the viewer against a background of foliage, punctuated by smaller, detailed figures which could represent the animated spirit of the natural environment, or perhaps tasks associated with fruitfulness and harvest, such as the care and tending of the vines. Does this image speak to you?

And, if so, what do the Leopard, and its spritely companions say?

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