May 2012

Samurai - The Prestigious Collection of Richard Béliveau

For immediate release

Exclusively at Pointe-à-Callière, May 17, 2012 to March 31, 2013

Montréal, May 15, 2012 – Pointe-à-Callière, the Montréal Museum of Archaeology and History, will proudly present the premiere of an exhibition entitled Samurai – The Prestigious Collection of Richard Béliveau, beginning on May 17, 2012.

Well-known in Québec for his work in the prevention and treatment of cancer, Richard Béliveau is a university professor, researcher, author, speaker, and presenter, as well as a devotee of Japanese culture and a great collector of Japanese objects and artwork. For the very first time, Mr. Béliveau has agreed to exhibit part of his vast collection. It is one of the most important collections in the world, both for its historical value and rarity, as well as in terms of the number and diversity of items it contains.

An exceptional collection
“For its 20th anniversary, Pointe-à-Callière is delighted to present an exceptional collection relating to the samurai and their culture, owned by a Montréal collector who is very well-known in Québec. Mr. Béliveau’s collection includes, among others, complete armours, and is one of the most extensive in terms of arms, be they swords or spears. These valuable and magnificent items were created by the most well-known craftsmen of their era. Considering the quality and importance of these objects, we believe they should be shown to the greatest possible number of people, which is perfectly in keeping with our mission of raising awareness of the cultures and traditions of the great civilizations,” explains Pointe-à-Callière’s Executive Director, Francine Lelièvre.

Samurai — The Prestigious Collection of Richard Béliveau will showcase some 275 pieces, such as full armours including helmets, masks, and clothing, as well as spears and swords, not to mention functional objects relating to the warriors’ daily lives and culture: tea bowls, calligraphy scrolls, and face masks—very rare items that are not often seen on display. Mr. Béliveau’s collection is distinguished by the fact that it includes complete pieces, richly decorated and fashioned from high quality materials, made by the greatest masters of the era. The objects presented as part of the exhibition—all of which are true works of art—are mainly from the Azuchi-Momoyama period, which stretches from 1573 to 1603, and from the Edo or Tokugawa period, which began around 1600 and came to an end in 1868. Some of the objects are even older, dating from the 13th century.

The samurai: mythical warriors and art lovers
In addition to the historical, ethnological, cultural, and artistic value of the items on display, Richard Béliveau’s collection opens a window onto the fascinating world of these legendary warriors whose lives were guided by a code of honour centred on a sense of duty, and on the values that inspired them: strength, humility, sensitivity, aesthetics, and spirituality. Well known for their heroism, the samurai were great warriors as well as patrons who enabled the Japanese spirit and Japanese art to flourish. The way of the sword is also that of tea, flowers, and meditation.

“For as long as I can remember, I have always been fascinated with Japan and the samurai, their aesthetic sensibility, and their code of honour,“ explains Professor Béliveau. “Today, I see a parallel between my passion for Japan, my work as a researcher, and my commitment to the fight against cancer. This parallel can be summarized with Bushido, meaning the Way of the Warrior: cancer is the enemy to beat, and in order to succeed, one needs imagination, knowledge, and perseverance—values inextricably linked to the samurai spirit,” summarizes Mr. Béliveau. “Controlling our fear of death, taking care of our health, and surrounding ourselves with beauty help us to better enjoy life! It’s the reason I have chosen to share my passion for collecting with the general public.”

About Richard Béliveau
A well-known and well-liked figure in Québec, Richard Béliveau, Ph.D. in Biochemistry, is the director of the Molecular Medicine Laboratory, and a researcher in the Department of Neurosurgery at Notre-Dame Hospital (CHUM). A seasoned researcher, he has published over 240 papers in various international medical journals. His primary research interests include cancer prevention and treatment. He is the author of the best-selling books Foods That Fight Cancer; Cooking with Foods That Fight Cancer; Eating Well, Living Well; and Death: The Scientific Facts to Help Us Understand It Better. Mr. Béliveau was the winner of the 2006 “Audience Award” at the Salon du livre in Montréal, and was named Personality of the Year for 2006 by L’Actualité magazine, and Québec Personality of the Year for 2007 by Au Québec magazine. An author, speaker, and co-host of the show Kampaï, broadcast on Radio-Canada, Richard Béliveau has a great passion for Japanese civilization.

About Pointe-à-Callière
Pointe-à-Callière is the only major archaeology museum in all of Québec and Canada; its museum complex rises above a concentrated number of national historical and archaeological sites that illustrate key parts of the history of Montréal, Québec, and Canada. It was inaugurated in 1992, on the occasion of the 350th anniversary of the founding of Montréal. Pointe-à-Callière’s mission is to raise awareness and foster an appreciation of Montréal’s history, and to forge bonds with regional, national, and international networks concerned with archaeology, history, and urban issues.

Samurai — The Prestigious Collection of Richard Béliveau is produced by Pointe-à-Callière, the Montréal Museum of Archaeology and History, in collaboration with Mr. Richard Béliveau. Pointe-à-Callière thanks its sponsors: Astral, InterContinental Hotel, La Presse, and The Gazette.