Our popular understanding of the Middle Ages—with visions of damsels in distress and knights in shining armor—is dominated by the romantic ideals of chivalry. Manuscripts from the period reveal that the codes of behavior associated with chivalry permeated nearly every aspect of aristocratic life, from fighting techniques to courtly love. Drawn from the Getty Museum’s permanent collection, this exhibition explores how elite members of medieval society practiced the chivalric arts to demonstrate their affluence and sophistication.
Treasures of Korea presents more than 150 works from the time of the world’s longest-ruling Confucian dynasty, lasting more than 500 years. On display are many Korean national treasures that have never before been shown in the United States. This comprehensive survey is organized around five key themes that together illuminate a period that continues to influence modern manners, norms and social attitudes: the role of the king and his royal court and their taste for simplicity, expressed in porcelain objects; the strict hierarchies that defined class and gender; the production of metal and ceramic ritual implements used in ancestral worship; various religions practiced during this time, and the late influence of western civilizations.
The striking duality of deadly weaponry forged with artistic beauty is on full display in this exhibition. With approximately 63 works by more than 30 master craftsmen from the 13th to 20th centuries, Lethal Beauty features full suits of armor, helmets, warrior hats, face masks, long and short swords, daggers, rifles, and more.
Tales of the samurai have enchanted people since the 12th century, and continue to delight and captivate audiences today. The oldest sword in the exhibition dates from the 13th century but is so finely crafted it could appear new. The exhibition also showcases a pair of 17th century folding screens by a Kano school artist, and a seven-piece set of 17th century sword fittings, both depicting battle scenes from the famous Tale of the Heike. The Tale of the Heike is one of the greatest warrior epics in Japanese literature and marks the dawn of samurai honor, valor, and fortitude.