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Look inside “Samurai Armor” at the VMFA

The extensive exhibition “Samurai Armor from the Collection of Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller” is on display at the museum April 20-August 4.


“Samurai Armor from the Collection of Ann & Gabriel Barbier-Mueller” will remain open April 20-Aug. 4.

Photo by RICtoday

A new exhibition brings over 700 years of Japanese history to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. “Samurai Armor from the Collection of Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller” opens on Saturday, April 20.

Coming to the River City from the Ann & Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum in Dallas, the exhibition showcases over 140 objects, including 17 full suits of armor and 50 helmets.

Each artifact was made between the 14th and 19th centuries, allowing the viewer experience the artistic, technological, and cultural changes throughout that time period.

At a media preview event, the VMFA’s Curator of East Asian Art Li Jian spoke to the remarkable turnaround in getting “Samurai Armor” to Richmond. The museum only had around eight months to plan and execute the exhibition in the River City.


Curator Li Jian introduces the exhibition at a media preview event.

Photo by RICtoday

The founding curator of the exhibit at the Barbier-Mueller Museum, Jessica Beasley, shared her thoughts on the Richmond exhibition. She highlighted the remarkable functionality of the armor, even in its most delicate details. Beasley coordinated the installation of the exhibition with VMFA staff.

“I really think it hasn’t ever looked better than it does here,” she said.

Walking through “Samurai Armor,” the artistry and detail in each work is evident. Glass panels allow for an all-angles examination of several objects. Accompanying diagrams and a timeline of the historical periods provide additional context.

Want to see the samurai for yourself? Find the exhibition in the museum’s lower level galleries. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for those ages 65 and up, and $10 for youth and students. VMFA members can reserve tickets for free.

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