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Samurai Spirit: Swords, Accessories, and Paintings

January 06, 2024–July 27, 2025

Asian Special Exhibitions Gallery, 2nd Floor West

Yoshioka Ichimonji Sukehide, Japanese, active ca. 1360, Wakizashi (Short Sword), Jūyo Token, Signed: Sukehide, 7th month, 18th year [of the Shōhei era], July 1363, Handmade and polished steel, 13 3/4 in. (35 cm), San Antonio Museum of Art, acquired in memory of Robert R. Clemons with funds realized from his estate, 2022.11.1


Learn about the Japanese samurai and their appreciation of finely honed skills in forging and polishing steel to make weapons of lethal beauty.

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 Ichimonji 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.

Please note that this focus exhibition is included with your general admission ticket purchase, is free for members, and is included in our Bexar County Free Hours (Tuesdays 4:007:00 p.m. and Sundays, 10:00 a.m.noon).

Exhibition Gallery

Kano Isenin Naganobu, Japanese, 1775–1828, Portrait of Minamoto no Yoshitsune, ca. 1820, Edo period, Ink, colors, and gold on silk, 42 1/2 x 17 5/6 in. (108 x 44 cm), San Antonio Museum of Art, purchased with funds provided by the Bessie Timon Endowment, 2019.7 

Yoshioka Ichimonji Sukehide, Japanese, active ca. 1360, Wakizashi (Short Sword), Jūyo Token, Signed: Sukehide, 7th month, 18th year [of the Shōhei era], July 1363, Handmade and polished steel, 13 3/4 in. (35 cm), San Antonio Museum of Art, acquired in memory of Robert R. Clemons with funds realized from his estate, 2022.11.1

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