WASHINGTON -- Cherry blossom season is coming up fast, and the National Geographic Museum is getting into the spirit of all things Japanese with its new exhibition, "Samurai: The Warrior Transformed," which opens March 7 and runs through Sept. 3.
The exhibition features suits of armor, weapons and photographs that, according to a media advisory, explore "the role and symbolism of the Samurai as part of the relationship between the United States and Japan and the role the Samurai played as diplomats and cultural ambassadors."
Samurai played an integral role in U.S.-Japan relations from 1860 up through the 1930s.
On display will be items including a sword presented to President Ulysses S. Grant and elabore suits of armor gifted to presidents Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt.
The exhibit also touches on a bit of the museum's personal history. Eliza Scidmore, the first woman to serve on the board of the National Geographic Society, was instrumental in facilitating Japan's 1912 gift of cherry trees to D.C., which were planted along the Tidal Basin and the banks of the Potomac River and are now the setting for the city's celebrated National Cherry Blossom Festival.
A gallery of photographs, "Reflections of Japan: Photographs by Eliza Scidmore," will include 27 hand-colored published and unpublished images from National Geographic's archives that feature Scidmore’s travels to Japan in the early 1900s.
In the meantime, click through the below gallery for a quick preview.
This chest plate with the crouching dragon design has the inscription "tatenashi-no-yoroi," on the interior meaning armor that needs no shield.
A close-up of the chest plate.
This face mask is part of a full suit of armor from the Nonomura family of the Suō Province in what is today in the eastern part of Yamaguchi Prefecture in southwest Japan.
This helmet is also part of a full suit of armor from the Nonomura family of the Suō Province.
A close-up of the helmet.
Two samurai warriors are depicted in this work of art.