Hidden treasures

Samurai in Venice: the Oriental Art Museum of Ca 'Pesaro

Unknown places & works

Samurai in Venice: the Oriental Art Museum of Ca 'Pesaro

In the heart of Venice, along the Grand Canal, is the beautiful Pesaro palace, built by the great Baroque architect Baldassarre Longhena between 1659 and 1710.

Inside there is a museum that you would never expect to find in Venice: the Museum of Oriental Art, assembled from the incredible collection of Enrico  di Borbone, Count of Bardi, who between 1887 and 1889 visited with his wife Japan , China and Indonesia, bringing home more than 17,000 pieces.

As you enter this fascinating and unique museum, the first thing that fascinates visitors are the Samurai armours that seem to look out of their empty eye sockets.

These are armours for the daimyos (feudal lords of ancient Japan) dating back to the Edo period (1600- 1868), when the family of the Tokugawa shogun (ie 'warlords') imposed its rule over the whole country.

The armours were not often used in battle but were worn mostly during military parades, which served the shogun to show their power.

Each armour consists of a helmet, breastplate, kilt and environmental protection for sensitive parts, such as shoulder straps, sleeves and leggings. The frame is made of lacquered leather and painted slats held together by coloured laces made of silk.

The armour was extremely light and easy to be compacted to be stored and transported in a box: in fact daymos every year left their hen (fiefdom) to travel to Edo (now Tokyo) where military parades were held. It also helped the full-contact confrontation between the warriors, so enhancing their skill and courage.

A protective face mask was used, often adorned with lacquered red lips and false moustache in natural bristles, which also had the function to scare the enemy.

In addition to the Museum of Oriental Art, the building also houses the International Gallery of Modern Art ... Both museums are included in one admission ticket to Ca 'Pesaro. If you are interested in organizing a private guided tour of Ca 'Pesaro and the splendid collections housed in it, please contact us!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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