Brookhaven College Radiologic Sciences faculty was honored at a reception at The Ann & Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum: The Samurai Collection to celebrate the unveiling of their new exhibit, Samurai: Inside the Armor. The installation represents the culmination of a two-year combined effort between Brookhaven College and the museum. Extending sincere thanks for their considerable assistance in making the project possible, the museum presented the Radiologic Sciences program with a donation of $5,000.

Making special use of x-rays taken by Brookhaven faculty, the exhibition examines the construction of ancient Japanese armor to reveal the raw structure normally obscured from sight. The images uncover new information about the composition of armor that ranges from the Kamakura period (1185-1333) to the Edo period (1615-1868).

In June 2014, museum coordinator, Laura Wood-Seale contacted Brookhaven Radiologic Sciences about imaging several articles from their Samurai collection to learn more about the construction of the items. What started as a quick peek for curiosity produced striking images, and the museum decided to create a full installation of artifacts and corresponding x-ray.

Radiologic faculty members Christi Carter and Sharon Watson, spend many hours taking x-ray images. The intricate helmets, masks and suits of armor presented challenges not faced in traditional use of x-ray technology.

"These are not the normal type of structures and materials that we x-ray," Carter said, noting that the process required some trial and error in the beginning. "We got into a groove and x-rayed approximately 40 artifacts from their collection over the two-year span."

The ornate helmets were especially deceptive. There were portions of the helmets museum staff expected to be metal, but the x-ray revealed were actually a combination of metal, leather, fabric and even elaborately fashioned papier-mache.

The images show the varying densities of the material within each piece providing insights about the skill and ingenuity of the armorers. The quality and craftsmanship of the interior could be the difference between life and death for a warrior.

The installation displays artifacts and images side-by-side as non-traditional use of technology and ancient craftsmanship merge to provide a new perspective and deeper understanding of the art of the samurai armorer.

"The installation is absolutely breathtaking," Carter said. "It truly brought tears to my eyes seeing the beauty of our craft next to these gorgeous pieces of art."

The exhibition will continue through Summer 2016 at The Ann & Gabriel Mueller Museum: The Samurai Collection located at 2501 Harwood St. in Dallas. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.samuraicollection.org.

This article was originally published by Brookhaven College: http://www.brookhavencollege.edu/asp/news/2016/2532.aspx

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