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Object in Focus
November 12, 2021
Samurai armor with dō-maru, Early Edo period, 17th-18th century, courtesy of Giuseppe Piva Japanese Art
Certificate: The armor is accompanied by a certificate of registration as Koshu Tokubetsu Kicho Shiryo (Especially Important Armor Object) no. 1277 issued by the Nihon Katchu Bugu Kenkyu Hozon Kai (Japanese Armor Preservation Society), 2020.11.01
This flamboyant Samurai armor is entirely made of small individual scales (hon-kozane), lacquered in black and gold and laced together with blue, orange, and white silk, in order to create a multicolored pattern.
The helmet (kabuto) is very elaborate, of suji-bachi construction, made of 62 plates joined with hammered rivets, with three gilt-copper shinodare, descending in the front from a rich tehen-no-kanamono (decorative fittings around the edge of the opening at the top of the helmet). The maedate (front ornament) is a classical ken-kuwagata, with stylized horns and a votive sword. The neck protection (shikoro) has the same color-scheme as the whole armor. The cuirass (dō) is of dō-maru type and made into a single piece with individual small scales laced together, which were used in the early suits of armor. As expected in an armor of the early Edo period, the shoulder guards (chū-sode) are small, and the neck protection is of the hineno-type, following the shape of the shoulders.
The suit of armor bears a rare samurai family crest in the design of three white oak leaves. This appears not only on the helmet’s flanges (fukigaeshi), but also on all the gilt-copper support plates (kanamono) of the cuirass.
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