Tengu is a half-bird, half-human mythological Japanese creature who narrates the family-friendly audio guide for Samurai: Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection. He is one of the many tengu in Japanese folklore.
“Tengu introduces visitors to some of the fascinating stories of the objects and encourages them to picture themselves training as samurai,” said Lindsay Genshaft, manager of family and community programming.
Tengu shares factual information such as the samurai code of honor called bushidō, and how samurai usually began their training around age six. But he also asks questions to help spark visitors’ imagination. In one example, Tengu asks, “Can you see horns and antlers rising out of the helmets in front of you? Imagine them coming toward you through fog and smoke. How do you feel? Scared? Amazed? A bit of both?”
Another time in the exhibition Tengu prompts, “Picture yourself atop one of those horses. Your feet use the stirrups like platforms so you can stand and shoot your arrows. You are galloping at lightning speed!”
In addition to narration, the family audio guide features sounds like drums and charging horses. “We want people to be immersed in the atmosphere of the exhibition and engage their senses,” Genshaft said.
At the end of your journey with Tengu, when you return the audio guide you will receive a family crest, or mon. It fits onto a paper samurai helmet you can create in the Just for Fun Center─Japan.
Samurai is a ticketed exhibition, which includes general admission to the museum.
Image: Tengu tōsei gusoku (armor), late Edo period, 1854. © The Ann & Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum, Dallas. Photo: Brad Flowers. Samurai: Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection is organized by The Ann & Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum, Dallas.