A beautiful signed Japanese ferrule and pommel plate.
Dome 17 cm high, 19 cm wide, 23 cm deep
Height with neck guard 24 cm
Height with maedate 62 cm
Width of maedate 36.5 cm
Total weight 1798 gram
Iron/steel, paper-mâché, silk, plant fiber, cotton, urushi lacquer, boar hair, rooster feathers
Momoyama period (1568-1600)
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A fine kabuto (helmet) with iron menpo (face mask) of the Momoyama period (1568-1600 A.D.) The helmet bowl is of zunari kabuto form made of five iron plates, riveted together. The whole is covered with golden urushi lacquer. The neck defense consists of five layers of lamellae made of lacquered leather, four red ones and a golden one at the bottom. On top of the helmet pride two ornaments, the maedate (front ornament) and the ushirodate (rear ornament).
Maedate & ushirodate
The piece comes with a golden tentsuki maedate towering above the helmet. Such maedate are associated with the Ii clan of Mikawa province, a prominent samurai clan. One of its most famous members was Ii Naomasa, Tokugawa Ieyasu's son-in-law and one of his most important generals. It is said among collectors that only the main Ii line was allowed to wear such gold maedate, the others wore silver. The ushirodate is a half-circle with a number of rooster feathers on top, curling backward.
The face mask is of russet iron with red urushi lacquered inside. The nose is a separate piece. It has a menacing face and a thick bushy mustache made of boar's hair.
The chin straps and their attachment points are recent additions. Some basic conservation has been performed on the lacquer, otherwise in original condition.
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The only set of its type known to me in both private and museum collections.
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