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San Antonio Museum of Art

Wakizashi: Short Sword, Jūyo Token, Japanese, Yoshioka Ichimonji Sukehide, ca. 1360, Signed: Sukehide, 7th month, 18th year (July 1363), Handmade and polished steel, Acquired in memory of Robert R. Clemons with funds realized from his estate, 2022.11.1

Samurai Spirit: Swords, Accessories, and Paintings

January 6, 2024 – January 26, 2025
Asian Special Exhibitions Gallery, 2nd Floor West

First recounted by oral narratives, the stories of battles, heroic pursuits, and famous samurai warriors became popular subjects of literature, theater, and pictorial arts that have endured through the ages. And their swords, polished and decorated, were revered as treasured emblems of their honorable heritage.

This exhibit features two important fourteenth century swords, a wakizashi, a short sword signed by the maker, Yoshioka Ishimonji Sukehide, dated to July, 1363, and a katana, a longer sword typically wielded with two hands, that were purchased with funds realized from the sale of the late Robert Clemons’s bequest to SAMA. Japanese swords are admired for the strength of the steel, which comes from heating and folding the metal many times, and by shaping the steel to a fine, sharp blade.

Other samurai weapons and objects round out this introduction to a major aspect of traditional Japanese culture.

To view the exhibition, click here.


The Cutting Edge: Ingenuity and Artistry of Japanese Swords with James Lawson and Emily Sano
February 20, 2024 from 6–7pm
Ticket Price: $5 | Members: Free

James Lawson, a San Antonio-based collector and sword aficionado joins SAMA’s own Emily Sano, Senior Advisor for Asian Art, for a conversation about historical Japanese weapons and how modern viewers can appreciate the technical and aesthetic achievements that they represent.

To learn more and register, click here.

Tibetan Man’s Robe, Chuba, China, Qing dynasty (1644-1911), 19th century, Brocade silk damask, gold-wrapped silk yarn, polychrome silk yarn, and fur. Purchased with funds provided by the Bessie Timon Endowment Fund and anonymous donors, 2023.2.2.

The Permanent Asian Art Collection

The Lenora and Walter F. Brown Asian Art Wing

In 1990, museum trustees Walter F. and Lenora Brown began donating what has grown to over 500 Asian objects, mostly Chinese ceramics, which surveys the entire 5,000-year history of ceramics produced in China. With additional later acquisitions, the Museum’s collection of Asian art is now among the finest in the nation and is drawn from several cultures across the continent, including China, Japan, Korea, India, Tibet, Nepal, Pakistan, Mongolia, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka.

The collection was installed in its new and dedicated space, the 15,000-square-foot Lenora and Walter F. Brown Asian Art Wing, in 2005. With the installation in 2019 on the museum’s grounds of a 12-foot-high, six-and-a-half ton Taihu Rock, gifted by San Antonio’s sister city Wuxi in China, the Asian art collection became part of SAMA’s riverview.

To view the collection, click here.

SanAntonioMuseum Chinese Vessel
Ash-glazed Vessel, ca. 25-220, Eastern Han dynasty, stoneware with glaze, h. 14 1/2 in. (36.8 cm); diam. 21 in. (53.3 cm); Funds provided by Faye Langley Cowden