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Samurai Art Museum, Berlin, Germany

These include armor, helmets, masks, swords and many other exhibits of Japanese art of the time. The samurai, the legendary and influential warrior class of Japan, presents itself to the western observer mostly as mysterious and fascinating at the same time. Myths and legends surround these Japanese knights. But who were these samurai? And what did the life of the samurai look like? To date, there are very few public collections in Europe dedicated to the art of samurai. The Samurai Art Museum's unique collection, Janssen, aims to give an insight into the cultural life of ancient Japan and to make these impressive works of Japanese art accessible to a wider audience. In particular, the museum tries to draw attention to the fact that objects such as armor or swords barely to reduce their function. Rather, they represent unique, timeless works of art made with masterly precision. Medieval Japan was marked by cruel power struggles and bloody family feuds. During this time, a worldwide unique warrior and weapons cult originated in Japan. Originally, the samurai were only soldiers in the service of the emperor and the nobility. With the rise of some influential clans and the establishment of a military aristocracy, the samurai rose to the ruling class. The samurai had held the highest position in this warlike society and exercised significant influence on politics, art and culture. At the center of the art and culture of the samurai is the philosophy of life - the būshido. Būshido, translated as "The Way of the Warrior", defined in pre-modern Japan the code of honor of the samurai, their moral principles and virtues. The philosophy of Būshido is fundamentally shaped by the teachings of Shinto, Buddhism and Confucianism. The development of these virtues dates back to the Heian period (794 - 1185), but was especially developed during the Edo period (1615-1868) to full bloom and henceforth formed the social and moral order of the Japanese people. The mind and action of every Bushi (Warrior) was determined by the "Seven Virtues," which were characterized by righteousness, fearlessness, compassion, courtesy, sincerity, honor, and loyalty. The martial arts that are essential for the samurai, such as sword fighting, archery or the use of the lance, were as much influenced by these virtues as were completely combatless disciplines, such as the way of drinking tea (Chado) or the way of writing (Shodo). These virtues continue to live in modern Japan today. The Samurai Art Museum seeks to provide an insight into the cultural life of ancient Japan, combining the desire to create a place of cultural encounter and cultural exchange. Our tip: After visiting the Samurai Art Museum, make a detour to the neighboring German-Japanese center.
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