Gabriel Barbier-Mueller – Collectors’ Island

June 20, 2019 2:06 pm

Gabriel Barbier-Mueller has assembled one of the world’s largest collections of Japanese armor. Mueller grew up in Geneva and in 1979 moved to Dallas where he met his wife, Ann. After gathering more than 1,500 objects, including more than 70 full suits of armor, they opened The Samurai Collection in Dallas, Texas in 2012.

Each year the Genevan watchmaker Vacheron Constantin releases an art book titled Collectors’ Island, this year I photographed the entire book and this is one of ten stories included.

Many thanks to Bradley Seymour for the invaluable creative direction, and to Lara Lo Calzo for her exceptional work as Editorial Manager. Captions below were written by Pepita Dupont.

Gabriel Barbier-Mueller inside The Ann & Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum: The Samurai Collection, Dallas, flanked by two suits of armour. On the left, Do - maru to - sei gusoku armour of the Honda family, signed Munemasa (mask). Helmet, neck guard, chest armour and shoulder guards from the Momoyama period (1573–1615). Mask, sleeves and thigh protector from the Edo period (1615-1868). On the right, Tachido - to - sei gusoku armour of the Kuchiki family, signed Joshu Ju Saotome Ietada, Edo period, 1702.

Hotokedo sei gusoku armour of the Sanada family, early Edo period (seventeenth century).

Yukinoshitado - mid Edo period (eighteenth century). This chest armour, with silver and gold engraving on every surface, depicts the deity Tohachi Bishamonten on the front and a Buddhist mandala on the back, and may have belonged to a warrior monk of the Nichiren sect of Buddhism.

Samurai suit of armour posted at the entrance of The Samurai Collection: Okegawado - gusoku armour of the Takenaka family, signed Kojima Munenao from the Edo period (mid to late eighteenth century), surrounded by hanging sashimono – personal battle flags worn by warriors on the battlefield – and (left) a large battle standard used to identify a high-ranking samurai.

Awabi uchidashi kabuto, early to mid Edo period (seventeenth to eighteenth century).

Nimaido - gusoku armour of Maeda Toshiyasu (1800–1859), Edo period, c. 1830.

O - boshi sujibachi kabuto, signed Masuda Myo - chin o - sumi no kami Ki no Munemasa (active 1688–1749), mid Edo period, c. 1730.

Kaen kabuto representing ho - ju no tama (the flaming jewel), signed Unkai Mitsuhisa kore o tsukuru, made by Unkai Mitsuhisa, early Edo period, c. 1630.

Sujibachi kabuto, late Muromachi to mid Edo period, (sixteenth to mid-eighteenth century).

Two sets of fully armored horse and rider mannequins.

Gabriel Barbier-Mueller in his office, also known as the ‘Idea Lab’, examining the helmet of a Gomaido - gusoku, armour of the Date family of Sendai, early Edo period (late seventeenth to early eighteenth century).

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