Leiden University Press, LUP

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Leiden University Press

19 December - Book launch Masked Warriors. The Battle Stage of the Samurai.

Masked Warriors provides new insights into the approach of form, function and meaning of Japanese armour masks, or menpō. In this richly illustrated book, Bas Verberk shows how armour masks, while representing a diverse tradition of their own, have connections with the larger Japanese mask culture, especially with nō masks.

In fact, Verberk shows, nō masks exerted a much greater influence on the development of armour masks than has previously been understood. The objects displayed in the catalogue section of this publication not only include masks, but also arms and armour, nōgaku robes and costumes.


Bas Verberk is an art curator and researcher of pre-modern Japanese art and history, with a particular emphasis on the Muromachi, Momoyama and Edo periods. He is an expert on the material culture and arts of the samurai. As a Japanologist Verberk earned his PhD at Leiden University in 2016, was research fellow at Nagasaki University and worked with numerous important museum collections within and outside Japan.


Between 8 December 2017 and 27 May 2018, ‘Masked Warriors. Battle Stage of the Samurai’ will be on view at Japan Museum SieboldHuis. The focal points in this splendid exhibition will be played by Nō-masks and the masks of the famous Japanese samurai warriors. Spectacular artefacts from international and private collections, including swords, screens, kimonos, helmets and bows, will illustrate the beauty and power of Nō-theatre and the samurai culture.