Suit of samurai armour with kuwagata kabuto (helmet with horns) - 912.33_left


Suit of samurai armour with kuwagata kabuto (helmet with horns)

Medium:Wrought iron or steel, gilded, with leather and lacing
Geography: Japan
Date: 18th to mid 19th century
Period: Edo period
Sitting approx. 90 x 150 x 60 (WxHxD); standing approx. 60 x 170 x 50 (WxHxD)
Object number: 912.33.1.1
Credit Line: Gift of Ishikawa & Co.
Not on view
DescriptionThe classic form of Japanese armour was well established by the 11th century. The protective armour was usually made from lacquered iron and rawhide plaques joined together with woven silk or doeskin lacing. Various colours and geometric patterns were made with the lacing, both for decoration and to intimidate the enemy. Although the basic armour remained virtually unchanged until the mid-19th century, modifications reflected changes in styles of warfare - lighter weight and greater flexibility for mobility and protection from imported weapons such as firearms. During two-and-a-half centuries of peace in the Edo period (1603-1868), the visual appearance of armour was considered more significant than its utility. High-ranking samurai often commissioned armour reflecting either the flamboyant and majestic styles of the 13th to 15th centuries or the more practical style prevalent during the 16th century.
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