Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Museum Pizza

Last weekend I had a great opportunity to do research for Sister Soul. The LACMA had an exhibit on samurai armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection.

I'm not a good photographer, but here:

Many of these outfits weren't suited for war, but in the Edo Period (when part of my book takes place), the samurai weren't exactly fighting all the time. Most of them were busy making elaborate armor. And, apparently, Edo period armor was so beautiful that when armor from earlier periods is restored, the restorers often draw from Edo aesthetics, making useful armor less more brightly colored.

Prof. Luke Roberts from UC Santa Barbara gave a lecture about samurai lifestyles during the Edo Period, and that was very helpful as well. He is currently translating two sets of diaries from two samurai, and that will make for excellent reading when the projects are done, I'm sure.

Roberts is also translating some journals from samurai women, which will be particularly helpful for my book. So, please hurry, Dr. Roberts! He mentions that the calligraphy style and subject matter that the women use is so different from the men that he is having to learn it as if if were a whole new language.


  1. Have you been to the Japanese armor collection at the Met? Rooms full of amazing stuff.

    1. I have not. I would like to! In general I'm not used to doing research for books. As I do it now, I wonder if it's just a procrastination tool.

    2. Everyone loves to collect procrastination tools because they are so useful so often. I look at the growing stack of research materials I've been collecting and I just sigh and grow depressed. You have to read 1,000 pages of awful, dry text in order to get a sort of general sense of a location or a specific activity. And still, whatever actual historical details you want to find are not to be discovered in your extensive reading and you end up making it up in the end.

  2. I'm betting enemy archers loved the brightly colored yellow tassel over the heart. Orange on the knee cap also very useful.