- Museum number
Helmet (kabuto). Made of steel, russet iron, mail, and lacquered iron and leather sheet. With textile pennant attached.
- Production date
Height: 1.25 metres (whole, as mounted)
- Curator's comments
Based on the crest between the horns on the helmet (the 'bulls' eye'), the suit may have belonged to a retainer of the Maeda family, the lords of Kaga Province.
Cuirass and sleeves: Momoyama period,late 16th century. Helmet: 17th century.
Other parts: 18th-19th century
Signed (cuirass)Unkai Mitsunao
The basic form of the armour of the samurai changed little from the Heian period (794-1185) until the end of the feudal era in 1868. The earliest 'oyoroi' was designed primarily to defend the mounted warrior against arrows. The skirt, shoulder pieces, and the neck guard consists of rows of lacquered iron platelets linked together with silk braid to allow freedom of movement. after the introduction of the gun, plate-iron pieces like this became popular. Armour remained in use throughout the peaceful Edo period (1600-1868) for ceremonies such as the annual procession of the feudal lords and their retinues to the capital.
Smith et al 1990
Thick steel-plate bullet-proof cuirasses were first made in the sixteenth century when firearms were introduced into Japan, and many were originally based on European designs. During the Edo period armour was worn only on ceremonial occasions, and the heavy iron and steel gave way to lighter material; but some provincial lords like the Date clan of Sendai countinued to maintain a warlike appearance, perhaps still smarting under the memory of their ancestors' defeat by the Tokugawas in the decisive battle of Seki ga Hara (AD 1600).
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2006 Oct 13-, BM Japanese Galleries, 'Japan from prehistory to the present'
- Registration number