Japanese Suit of Armor

19th century, Tokuwaga period (1600-1868). The Kabuto (helmet) made of 16 lacquered steel riveted plates on Hachibronze stepped chrysanthemum form Maidate (top mount) with 5 parts, each with different patina, gracefully curving lacquered steel Fukigayeshi, finely tooled and painted leather-covered bronze Maizashi (front bill) with rows of branching flowers, attached to Hachi with bronze rivets, to which is affixed a bronze Tsunomoto (crest mount stem), Shikoro (neck guard) is made of 5 graduated lacquered steel curving plates, including the plate from which the Fukigayeshi unfurl, all with blue silk cord binding with the last plate or the Hishinui-no-ita decorated with three horizontal rows of white, orange and white silk cord laced through eyelets; interior with hand-quilted cotton liner in blue with border of floral printed cotton and interior of Maizashi is finished in red lacquer with blue silk cords for mounting other parts of the armor. Museum accession number on underside of Maizashi. The Menpo (face mask) is a half-mask-style with eyes left uncovered, in matching bronze-colored lacquer with removable nose piece to which is attached a hair mustache and upper lip finished in red lacquer, small goatee on chin with oval mouth opening; attached to the underside of the Menpo is a lacquered leather Yodare-Kake (front neck guard) made of 5 curving pieces with blue silk cord binding; interior of Menpo is also finished in red lacquer and has museum accession number.

The Do (body armor) is made of 44 bronze-colored lacquered steel plates, riveted together with two bronze chrysanthemum mounts with rings attached to front. The Do is in four main pieces all attached with sliding hinge pins and the matching finished steel Watgami (shoulder straps) also have bronze chrysanthemum eyelets for blue silk cord mounts. There are six Kusazuri (skirt), each made of five lacquered leather curing plates with matching blue silk cord bindings and the lower with three horizontal rows of white, orange and white silk cord decorations as on the Hishinui-no-ita. The Do is all lined with original embroidered, quilted and cotton-stuffed linen and silk padding.

The Teoi [Kote] (arm mail) is bronze chain mail with inserted bronzed lacquered leather ornaments with Sen-Dan-No-Ita (hand cover) all over linen and silk fabric sleeve with plates at top for mounting to the Do.

The Sode (arm pit shield) is beautifully made of 6 curving steel plates with heavy built-up lacquer vertical reeding, finished in gilt, all laced together with from top to bottom green, tan, light blue, white and indigo blue silk lacings.

The Hai-Date (thigh guards) are each made of four overlapping rows of eleven lacquered leather plates, laced together before they were lacquered with red ground and large bronzed chrysanthemum pattern in center, all attached to linen and cotton backing with silk lacings.

The Sune-Ate (calf guard) is made of four curved pieces of lacquered steel with bronzed finish, attached to each other with chain mail, and mounted on leather and embroidered cotton backing.


This suit lacks the Kuwagata (helmet crest) and the Tsuranuki shoes. Quilted padding for most parts are stained from sweat and soiled with tears and some fabric loss. Lacquer is chipped and flaking in many places. A few of the lacquered leather plates from the Hai-Date are missing. This suit has obviously seen real life use, likely even combat, as indicated by the use and wear patterns on the various parts. Overall condition is very good, but does need some professional restoration, mainly of fabrics.

Estimate: $2,000 - $4,000
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium

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