A COMPLETE ARMOUR
Japan, Muromachi-Momoyama period, 16th century
The armour consisting of a suji thirty-two plates helmet (kabuto), lacquered inside, made by the famous Myōchin family and dated by an inscription to the third year of the Tenmon era, or 1534, three levels copper tehen kanamono, iron mabizashi visor, four plates shikoro neck protection in manju style joined with silk ribbons, on the fukigaeshi the heraldic emblem (kamon) of the owner of the armor, in the center of the front the gilded maedate, the four-bladed yodarekake collar is attached to the lacquered iron menpò mask with animal hair mustache and goatee, the iron Yukinoshita-style cuirass, signed by Myōchin Masaiye and dated to the third year of the Bunroku era (1594), another engraved inscription with the pray "Hachiman dai bosatsu" in reference to Hachiman, deity protector of the samurai, two hattenoana holes in the lower part to allow the best positioning of the armor, nine gessan each with five iron blades, the forearm kote in a metal mail with lacquered iron plates, six-blade iron shoulder protections sode with blue silk connections, the haidate protection for thighs also made of lacquered iron plates, the shin guards tsuneate with large iron plates, containment box.
Provenance: Fabrizio Savi collection, acquired in 2000 from Nihonto, Fred Weissberg.
In the accompanying expertise, Fred Weissberg emphasizes the rarity of this armor which must have belonged to a high-ranking samurai in the service of Date Masamune (1567-1636), feudal lord (daimyō) of the province of Sendai, an area in which was also active Myōchin Masaiye whose signature appears on the cuirass dō, made explicitly to withstand the blows of a firearm and much appreciated especially in the entourage of Masamune.