The Costuming Secrets of Samurai Armor

We visit the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to explore a massive collection of Samurai Armor. The exhibition featured over 100 pieces of samurai equipment, from beautiful full suits of armor to the more obscure pieces of battle gear. We chat with the exhibit curator to learn about how ceremonial samurai armor was treated as costume, and the interesting secrets of a few pieces on display.

Shot by Joey Fameli
Edited by Jon Finger

Comments (22)

22 thoughts on “The Costuming Secrets of Samurai Armor

  1. Mostly the colour of the walls/panels/ceiling beams I reckon.

    Thanks for the video though, amazing pieces of history.

  2. This is one of my favorite Tested videos ever. I love it when you guys find someone who is deeply knowledgeable and an enthusiastic interviewee & curator on their subject matter.

    “If they left the house without both of those swords, they could be heavily penalized.” So great…

  3. Quite fascinating. I never really realised how diverse the samurai armour designs were before.

    Bloody annoying lighting in that place though.

  4. Great exhibit. I like how Norm interviewed the curator, his questions and comments really show off what the curator knew.

    I wonder if the lighting was chosen to protect the fabric/material.

  5. Great exhibit. And thanks for the video.

    But curator repeated one of the dummest myth about western armor plates. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xm11yAXeegg . Yes, you can ride on horses, yes you can get on the horse and jump from it.

    Another thing is that chain mail armor definitely isn’t bullet proof or knive proof. Any piercing is deadly for chain mail.

  6. This is one of my favorite Tested videos ever. I love it when you guys find someone who is deeply knowledgeable and an enthusiastic interviewee & curator on their subject matter.

    “If they left the house without both of those swords, they could be heavily penalized.” So great…

    I have to agree. Nice to see something different and educational!

  7. the western armour one is sadly pervasive. the weight difference alone would have been enough of an interesting/impressive point.

    regarding the chain mail, i guess what he’s really on about is that chain mail in a composite armour setup forces you to specialise your weapons. chain mail and gambeson are pretty damn good at stopping cuts, including reduced effectivity of a common broadhead. (from how i remember japanese arrowheads, their military broadheads were quite a bit wider than some of the comparatively narrow english broadhead types, too)

    what it does is force you to have a sword that is good not only at delivering cuts, and dedicated narrow arrowheads, like bodkins. we can be pretty sure about the very long needle bodkins being a specific countermeasure against layered linen and mail. the shape doesn’t do anything better against plate than what other arrowheads already did, and the artifacts are commonly not hardened, rendering them useless against plate.

  8. I saw this and the Hollywood costume exhibit video. I was thinking I would like to see the costume exhibit, but this had me looking for ticket to LA. then i looked at the museum website and found that it was over. Do you have someplace on here that tracks upcoming exhibitions?

    Ed V

  9. Great exhibit. And thanks for the video.

    But curator repeated one of the dummest myth about western armor plates. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xm11yAXeegg . Yes, you can ride on horses, yes you can get on the horse and jump from it.

    Yea that part kind of made me cringe. IIRR most western full plate war armor weights in around 50ish pounds or so.

    Now when you get into the late 16th century some of the Jousting armor got to be really heavy and restricted movement. Often with the left arm integrated into the chest piece and the ‘shield’ bolted to the chest. But this armor was basically sporting equipment. You weren’t expected to wear it all day or fight in it.

  10. I think Norm has really matured as an interviewer and this particular film short is a good example of how cool TESTED is.

  11. My g/f and I were in LA over the holiday and went to LACMA. This exhibit is amazing, it costs extra but it’s soo good.

    BE WARNED, there is a second exhibit on Japanese arms and history it’s not in the same building. We almost missed this whole exhibit. It’s very very worth going to both.

  12. I really enjoyed this video, historical arms and armor are a subject close to my heart.

    Another great source of armor in the U.S. is the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. They have a tremendous amount of their collection photographed and posted online with a fairly good search system. If you want to look at some beautiful armor and weapons from everywhere in the world, they are the place to go.

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