Fine Samurai Armor
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Fine Samurai Armor. Myochin Munemasa Kuro Urushi Nuri Mogami Dou Gusoku Armor
Early Edo period, ca. 1650 A.D.
Signed by Myochin Munemasa. The Myochin school has been the most active family of samurai armor makers. Thank to the wide diffusion of their branches all over Japan, they influenced the art of kabuto and menpo construction during the Edo period. Some of the most important samurai armor makers, such as Nobuie, belonged to this group.
A koboshi kabuto (helmet- precise, very heavy iron) Kabuto is signed by Myochin Munemasa
Uchidashi’s facial wrinkles and ears are beautifully made. Popular Mogami Dou.
A Menpo an iron mask with an iron plate throat guard yodare-kake. Mempo has a long beard (only the beard has been restored)
The armor has original wooden boxe
Sode, iron plate shoulder protectors. Kote, arm protection with lacquered iron plates connected with chain armor kusari. Haidate, thigh protection with small lacquered iron plates connected by chain armor kusari sewn to cloth. Suneate, shin protection with iron splints shino connected by chain armor kusari sewn to a cloth backing, with small hexagon armor plates kikko protecting the knees. Condition Report: very good condition, with all original parts. This armor is very complete. The armor has original wooden box. High-quality
Provenance: Private collection, Netherlands
Scholars agree that Japanese armour first appeared in the 4th century, with the discovery of the cuirass and basic helmets in graves. It is thought they originated from China via Korea. During the Heian period (794-1185), the Japanese cuirass evolved into the more familiar style of body armour worn by the samurai known as the dou or dō, with the use of leather straps (nerigawa), and lacquer for weatherproofing. Leather and/or iron scales were also used to construct samurai armours, with leather and eventually silk lace used to connect the individual scales (kozane) of these cuirasses. In the 16th century, Japan began trading with Europe, during what would become known as the Nanban trade. Samurai acquired European types of armour, which they modified and combined with domestic armour, as it provided better protection from the newly introduced matchlock muskets. When a united Japan entered the peaceful Edo period, samurai continued to use both plate and lamellar armour as a symbol of their status. Lightweight, portable, and secret hidden armours became popular, since personal protection was still needed against civil unrest.
Japanese armour is thought to have evolved from the armour used in ancient China. Cuirasses and helmets were manufactured in Japan as early as the 4th century CE. Tankō, worn by foot soldiers and keikō, worn by horsemen were both pre-samurai types of early Japanese cuirass constructed from iron plates connected together by leather thongs.
During the Heian period (794-1185), the Japanese cuirass evolved into the more familiar style of armour worn by the samurai known as the dou or dō. Japanese armour makers started to use leather (nerigawa), and lacquer was used to weatherproof the armor parts. By the end of the Heian period, the Japanese cuirass had arrived at the shape recognized as being distinctively samurai. Leather and or iron scales were used to construct samurai armours, with leather and eventually silk lace used to connect the individual scales (kozane) from which these cuirasses were now being made.
In the 16th century, Japan began trading with Europe during what would become known as the Nanban trade. Samurai acquired European armour including the cuirass (torso armor) and comb morion (crested helmet), which they modified and combined with domestic armour, as it provided better protection from the newly introduced matchlock muskets known as Tanegashima. The introduction of the tanegashima by the Portuguese in 1543 changed the nature of warfare in Japan, causing the Japanese armour makers to change the design of their armours from the centuries-old lamellar armours to plate armour constructed from iron and steel plates, which was called tosei gusoku (new armours). Bullet resistant armours were developed called tameshi gusoku (“bullet tested”), allowing samurai to continue wearing their armour despite the use of firearms.
The era of warfare called the Sengoku period ended around 1600, when a united Japan entered the peaceful Edo period. Although samurai continued to use both plate and lamellar armour as a symbol of their status, traditional armours were no longer necessary for battles. During the Edo period lightweight, portable, and secret hidden armours became popular, since personal protection was still needed. Civil strife, duels, assassinations, and peasant revolts all required the use of armours such as the kusari katabira (chain armour jacket) and armoured sleeves, as well as other types of armour which could be worn under ordinary clothing. Edo period samurai were in charge of internal security and would wear various types of kusari gusoku (chain armour) and shin and arm protection as well as forehead protectors (hachi-gane).
Armour continued to be worn and used in Japan until the end of the samurai era (Meiji period) in the 1860s, with the last use of samurai armour happening in 1877 during the Satsuma Rebellion.