Samurai Armor

Samurai armor from the Hirano clan

Mid Edo period (1615-1867), 18th century
Exhibition: Samurai – Passato e Presente”, Novara 2012
Literature: G.Piva – S. Verrina, Samurai – Passato e Presente, cat. A2, Novara 2012

This Japanese armor of tosei gusoku type brings the coat of arms (kamon) with fish scale (uruko) design used by the Hirano clan, daimyō of Tawaramoto in Yamato province. The twelve-plates kabuto (helmet) of “pumpkin shape (akoda-nari) is typical of this region, richly decorated with byakudan gold lacquer and pairs of shakudo shinodare on the four sides. An inscription on thharaidate reads “Hachiman dai Bosatsu” (“Hachiman big Buddha”), a volitional prayer to the god of war.

The cuirass () is of mogami type, with large hinged plates, and bears on front a silk tsurobashiri, a very unusual decoration for an Edo period suit or armor: the use of this textile or leather covering was, in fact, popular on medieval samurai armor of ō-yoroi type, where it was functional to let the bow’s string slip without getting caught between the armour’s scales. A rare chain-mail reinforced vest (manchira) is fitted under the cuirass as an additional protection.

A notable feature of this Japanese armor is the use of byakudan lacquer on most of its surface, an expensive finish found only on high-end suits of armor. This rare lacquering is obtained covering a gold lacquered surface with a transparent layer of red lacquer which lets the underneath precious metal shine through.

This samurai armor is originally Japanese and for sale, in excellent condition. It is a collector’s item and not a reproduction.

Giuseppe Piva Japanese Art