This weekend is your last chance to see our Japanese armor for a while. But don’t despair – next week there will be a new one to enjoy. If you want to catch both, you’ll have to drop in twice.
So why are we taking this armor off view? Well, armor may look tough, but some of its components are surprisingly fragile. While steel, leather, and wood are used to create the protective plating, these are laced together with leather or silk cord. After several centuries, these materials may not be strong enough to hold the weight of the armor for extended periods. Materials can also be damaged by prolonged exposure to light, meaning that the armor needs to be rested periodically.
Our conservation team has also been working to prepare the new set of armor, which is on loan from a private collection. In these pictures you can see Katherine Holbrow, our head of conservation, using a spectrometer to determine what metals are present in the samurai helmet.
We rotate many of the pieces in this collection, not just armor. Over the next few months we will be doing several gallery rotations, many in preparation for Phantoms of Asia: Contemporary Awakens the Past. Keep an eye on the blog to hear about what’s coming down and what we’re replacing it with. We’ll try to make sure you don’t miss a thing.
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