LAST NIGHT IN BG: The Spirit of Budo

Japanese martial arts exhibition in Belgrade - Kendo equipmentBelgrade’s Museum of Applied Arts (Muzej primenjene umetnosti) is hosting a Japanese martial arts exhibition, “The Spirit of Budo“, and last night Living in Belgrade went along to see what all the fuss is about.

The exhibition, organised in cooperation with the Japanese Embassy in Belgrade, is a rather small affair, not displaying such a great range of objects, and yet we still managed to while away just over two hours inside – without once getting museum fatigue.

Thanks to some – for Serbian exhibitions, at any rate – exceptional planning and forethought, the organisers included a number of innovations. These included a video presentation on Japanese martial arts (which did look like it was from the late 80s but was still interesting), a ton of written information (some of it comically badly translated from Japanese but this still added something of value to the exhibition) and a live demonstration of Kendo – the martial art for training swordsmen, featuring bamboo sticks and face masks.

Japanese martial arts exhibition in Belgrade - ceremonial weapons and armourThe exhibition also featured a number of traditional martial arts weapons and training aids, including bows, swords (some of the examples are from the 17th century), armour, helmets (look out for the various exotic designs) and so forth.

The highlight, however, was a collection of ceremonial items associated with the 8th century custom of “Tango no sekku” – the fifth day of the month on which various displays and competitions of martial skill would ceremoniously be held.

This rather neat (and, for Belgrade, inventive and unusual) exhibition is on until the 26th of August so please hurry if you still want to catch it. If you’re interested in seeing the Kendo demonstrations, try to get there for 5pm – although we found that the Kendo master was willing to hang around and chat with visitors well beyond that time. Please see below for a map showing how to get to the museum of applied arts.


Museum of Applied Arts
Address: Vuka Karadžića 18
Phone: +381 (0)11 2626841

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