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#AR5021 18th Century ‘Warabe Gusoku’ (Child’s Armour)

This all matching armour comprises a child’s size sixty two plate ‘hoshi kabuto’ (helmet with standing rivets). each plate is rivetted in twenty nine places, totaling one thousand seven hundred and ninety eight rivets.The ‘tehen kanagu’ (metal fitting at the top of the bowl) is made of six tiers of finely worked ‘shakudo’ and gilded copper. The ‘mabisashi’ (peak) and ‘fukigaeshi’ (turn backs) are covered with thick gold leaf. The ‘kuwagata dai’ (holder for the gilded copper hoe) is similarly decorated and scrolled with a floral design. Between the ‘kuwagata’ sits a carved gilded wood dragon ‘maedate’ decoration. The ‘manju shikoro’ (neck guard of rounded form) is made of five lames of gilded ‘kiritsuke kozane’ (false scales) laced with orange silk ‘kebiki odoshi’ (close spaced lacing). Both corners of the bottom lame of the ‘shikoro’ are decorated  with a gilded ‘inome’ (boars eye) shaped fitting. this is always a sign of great quality.

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The russet iron ‘ryubu men’ (mask of noble expression) is of a fine patina, with the interior lacquered red with a four lame iron ‘kiritsuke kozane tare’ (throat guard of false scales).

 

The cuirasse is made of black lacquered iron in ‘okegawa’ (barrel) form. The interior is covered with gold leaf. The ‘muna-ita’ (top of breast plate), ‘waki-ita (under arm plates) and ‘seno-ita’ (top of the back plate) are decorated with stencilled doeskin. Finely carved ‘shakudo’ fittings adorn the back plate and breast plate in the form of ‘kiri-mon’ (paulownia heraldry). From the large shakudo ‘agemaki no kan’hangs a large orange silk bow on the back plate. The breast plate is decorated with gold ‘maki-e’ lacquer clouds surrounding a coiled dragon. The collar and shoulders are fitted with heavily European influenced ruffs of multi coloured silk. The ‘kusazuri’ (skirt) divided into seven parts, each of five lames. Each corner is decorated with a ‘shakudo inome’.

 

The ‘chu-sode’ (medium sized shoulder guards) are of seven lames of gilded iron ‘kiritsuke kozane’. Each carries more ‘shakudo kiri-mon’ heraldry on the top lames and on the fourth lames. The bottom corners sport an ‘inome’ each.

 

The ‘hyotan gote’ (sleeves with gourd shaped decorations on the forearms) have further gilded metal fittings. Unusually the ‘kou’ (hands) can be unbuttoned. The cuffs have European style ruffs.

 

The ‘haidate’ (thigh protection) is similarly constructed of fine chain mail and gilded iron fittings. The ‘shino suneate’ (shin guards) are also of the same chain mail weave. The ‘tate-age’ (top part of the shin guards) are of blue silk into which iron hexagons have been sewn.

 

The linings of the ‘haidate’, ‘kote’, and ‘suneate’ are made of fine quality florally patterned silk. This lovely armour is housed in a leather bound wood box.

This armour comes with papers from the Japan Arms and Armour Research and Preservation Society declaring it to be ‘JUYO BUNKA SHIRYO’ (important cultural example). This is the highest grade of papers an armour may receive.

 

 

 

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