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Warrior women from the Land of the Rising Sun

  • Exhibition
  • 18 October 2019 - 2 March 2020

The exhibition Guerriere dal Sol Levante (Warrior women from the Land of the Rising Sun), curated by the Associazione Yoshin Ryu in collaboration with MAO Museo d’Arte Orientale in Turin, aims to pay tribute to the figure of the female warrior in Japan.
The history of Japan spans a period lasting eight centuries characterized by many battles and disputes, in which women, especially from the military class, were taught to perform any task, from managing family finances to engaging in combat. The female warrior, or onna-bugeisha, was prepared to defend her own home and trained to use weapons of all kinds, to engage in battle, and ultimately to sacrifice her own life. Some of them have gone down in history and their legendary exploits are narrated in theatrical works, paintings, and movies.


But through the ages and across civilizations, women have battled not only with swords, halberds, daggers, bows and arrows: from past to present, thanks to courage and creativity, they have used other types of attack and defense and have been able to transcend prejudice and obstacles, in the fields of literature, art, theatre, science, technology, and exploration. Women who, over the years, at times in silence and without being noticed, were catalysts for significant change. This exhibition attempts to elaborate this theme, starting from Japan, and travels across eras and frontiers, since many heroines from today’s popular culture originate in the past.

The exhibition develops multiple aspects of female warriors, displaying historic and artistic objects from the collections of MAO, Museo Stibbert in Florence, Palazzo Madama, and private collections. Among the works visitors may admire we find original weapons, decorated armor by the Myochin school, paintings on vertical scrolls, prints by famous ukiyo-e artists, kimonos, utensils, and an elegant eighteenth-century biwa musical instrument. Plus videos, reproductions of objects in 3D, and a vast collection of rare and precious objects related to the worlds of manga, anime, and cinema—contemporary media that have embraced the legacy of female warriors and created unforgettable icons like Wonder Woman, Lady Oscar, Sailor Moon, and Princess Leia from Star Wars. The exhibition itinerary closes with 40 portraits made by young male and female artists in homage to other women who have fought their battles across all ages and places.

The exhibition is accompanied by a cycle of conferences at MAO offering in-depth information on the topic as well as a film event at the Cinema Centrale in Turin dedicated to female warriors around the world.

The female “soldiers” of the Associazione Yoshin Ryu also offer their skills in the weapons used by the onna-bugeisha from Japan’s past with a workshop series organized at its main location on Lungo Dora Colletta 51/53.

Moreover, the exhibition will offer video installations, illustrative panels, and a bilingual catalogue in Italian/English.



Exhibition: Full price € 10 | Reduced price € 8
Exhibition + Permanent collections: Full price € 14 | Reduced price € 12
Free for Abbonamento Musei e Torino+Piemonte Card
Schools: € 4 / student


Each Sunday from 3rd November 2019 at 16.30
Reservation recommended; info and booking: t. 011.5211788 -




LECTURES (Italian only)

FOR FAMILIES (Italian only)

FOR SCHOOLS (Italian only)

Solo mostra: Intero € 10 | Ridotto € 8
Mostra+museo: Intero € 14 | Ridotto € 12
Gratuito Abbonamento Musei e Torino+Piemonte Card

Presentando alle casse il biglietto di ingresso della mostra "Hokusai, Hiroshige, Hasui. Viaggio nel Giappone che cambia" alla Pinacoteca Agnelli, avrai diritto al biglietto ridotto