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Home > Cultural Art > Asian Art > Japanese Art > Samurai Art

Samurai Art

Japan's famous warrior caste, the feudal samurai, is as well-known as the Western's medieval equivalent, the knight. However, these ferocious warriors are shrouded in secrecy to most European audiences, lending them an enigmatic mystique that has rarely been equaled in the West. Because of this, fine art depicting samurai is in high demand among collectors of Oriental artworks.

Paintings of samurai are done in the iconic stylization of Japan's traditional artwork. Since samurai were supposed to represent the masculine qualities of honor, ferocity, action, and uprightness, these representations of ancient warriors are painted using 'masculine' straight lines and angles. The 'feminine' partner of these paintings is the geisha, who are depicted with curving lines and collectors typically play these two opposites off of each other in their collections.

Samurai Artwork

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Musashi Miyamoto with two Bokken (wooden quarterstaves)
by Unknown
8" x 10"
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Ashikaga Yoshihisa Samurai
by Unknown
18" x 24"
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Samurai 2
by Abstract Graffiti
12" x 15"
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Samurai riding the waves on the backs of large crabs
by Unknown
16" x 20"
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Samurai Riding a Horse
by Unknown
18" x 24"
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Samurais on horseback
by Unknown
24" x 18"
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Masuda Motoyoshi
by Unknown
13" x 24"
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Kuniyoshi Utagawa, The ghost of Taira Tomomori, Daimotsu bay
by Unknown
24" x 18"
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Samurai on horseback
by Unknown
16" x 20"
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Samurai In Black
by Unknown
11" x 24"
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Satsuma samurai during boshin war period
by Unknown
10" x 8"
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Illustrated Story of Night Attack on Yoshitsune's Residence At Horikawa, 16th Century
by Unknown
24" x 18"
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Yoshitoshi - 100 Aspects of the Moon
by Unknown
8" x 10"
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Yoshitsune with Benkei
by Unknown
8" x 10"
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Iwasa Katsushige samurai
by Unknown
16" x 20"
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Nasuno Yoichisamurai
by Unknown
10" x 8"
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Yoshitoshi Fujiwara no Hidesato
by Unknown
8" x 10"
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Kajiwara Genda Kagesue for Umegae
by Unknown
10" x 20"
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The samurai Hanagami Danjo
by Unknown
16" x 20"
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Seated Samurai Warriors
by Unknown
24" x 18"
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Samurai Warriors
by Unknown
18" x 24"
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Samurai Sharpening His Weapon
by Unknown
18" x 18"
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Lady Samurai
by Unknown
18" x 24"
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Femme Samurai
by Unknown
18" x 24"
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Samurai Running with Sword
by Unknown
16" x 20"
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Samurai Sketch
by Unknown
18" x 24"
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Samurai 1880
by Unknown
16" x 20"
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Samurai Sun
by Unknown
24" x 18"
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Baba Nobufusa Samurai
by Unknown
8" x 10"
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Samurai Armour
by Unknown
24" x 18"
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Japanese archer 1878b
by Unknown
20" x 16"
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Li Hayata Hironao grappling with the monstruos nue
by Unknown
16" x 20"
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Hon kozane dou-maru gusoku
by Unknown
8" x 10"
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Kinhyoshi yorin, Hero of the Suikoden
by Unknown
18" x 24"
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Samurai Battle I
by Unknown
18" x 24"
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The most iconic symbol of the samurai are the tools of their trade. The katana and traditional samurai armor are frequently worn by the subjects of samurai fine art. A samurai's armor consisted of leg armor, traditional Japanese sandals, a breastplate, and the iconic kabuki-style mask and helm. When samurai went into battle, they would wear these masks in order to frighten the enemy and cause them to lose courage. Because of this, many samurai wore vicious-looking helms that were designed to look like evil spirits. Fine art depicting samurai usually only have them wearing helms if the painting is of a battle, although the samurai are nearly always seen in their armor. There are exceptions to this however, such as if the samurai being drawn was in a state of dishonor or about to commit ritual suicide, known as seppuku, such as in the painting, 'Akashi Gidayu Writing His Death Poem' which portrays the disgraced warrior as a man with no armor.

Samurai art can also serve as an aesthetically pleasing counterpoint to circular decor. Their naturally vivid colors are used liberally. Reds, blues, golds, and blacks are typically put on a background of beige or brown paper which allows them a surprising amount of versatility among retro designers.
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