Actor William Shatner has donated a bronze statue of a samurai to the Frazier History Museum’s permanent collection. Douwe Blumberg’s “Way of Horse and Bow” depicts a Japanese warrior riding on horseback into battle.
Shatner and his wife own several pieces by Blumberg, a former horse trainer who lives outside of Lexington. The Shatners commissioned Blumberg to create the sculpture and bought a second casting of the limited edition work for the Frazier’s permanent collection.
The Shatners appeared at the Frazier today to unveil the statue. The sculpture joins an exhibit on Japanese history and samurai culture currently running at the museum. After the exhibit closes in September, the museum will install the statue in a permanent space.
“Sculpting is almost forever. Even prior to the Greeks, we have found pieces made by humans that have remained. So thousands of years is the life of a sculpture,” says Shatner. “So we’re very proud to be able to donate this piece to Frazier Museum, and it will last far longer than any of us, especially me, will be alive. So it’s kind of profound in that way for us.”
Shatner, a Japanese history buff who raises horses on a farm outside Versailles, praised the accuracy of Blumberg’s work.
“I became interested in Japanese history a long time ago and was struck by the delicacy of the Japanese culture as well as the brutality, if you will,” he says. “There is a mixture of refinement and warrior sensibility, and I think that this statue reflects both of those qualities.”
Elizabeth Shatner joined her husband at the unveiling to comment on her long friendship with Blumberg.
“My personal history with Douwe goes back almost 25 years, when we were both horse trainers in California,” she says. “He’s actually had his hands on live horses, and he’s felt live horses on every part of their body. I would imagine that goes into making him the artist he is today.”