Samurai Sketches

On Sunday I went to the Houston Museum of Natural Science to visit their new samurai exhibit. My scant knowledge of samurai came mostly from video games, so I knew they carried a sword called a katana and cared a lot about Honor and Duty. Thanks to my younger brother's passion for Japanese culture (and those video games), I'd also heard of bushido. I hoped the exhibit would fill in a few of the blanks. samuraisketch2

The exhibit had some fascinating pieces, but it was disappointingly small (especially for the current price, $25 for non-members and $12 for members). Only two rooms of artifacts, and so dimly lit that it was impossible to see fine detail. I have no idea why the HMHS keeps some of their exhibits so dark. Even the spotlights on the displays are dim.

And no, I don't have cataracts.

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I was fascinated by the helmets (properly termed kabuto). On the left is a sketch of a fish-helmet. The fish is a creature called a sachihoko, and it has the head of a tiger and body of a carp. Apparently they were supposed to cause rain to fall.

On the right is a sketch of the most evil looking tortoise I've ever seen, another kabuto decoration. Evil Tortoise had fangs and claws and a nasty grin.

There was also a helmet with huge bunny ears. I regret not sketching that one.

If anyone is interested in seeing more crazy kabuto, I have quite a few pinned to my Arms & Armour board.