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Purchased from Anhard, Graf Klenau, Schloss Bremen, at the Dorchester arms and armour exposition, 5 November 1982. Appeared in auction, 4 April 1981.

Physical Description

The shield is round and convex, of wood covered in black lacquer and decorated in gold lacquer. Across the inside is riveted a buff leather pad with two arm bands, of which one is broken, and formerly a hand grip. The three straps are secured by iron rivets with brass caps which are cusped and have central medallions containing human busts in profile within double incised lines.

The outside of the shield is decorated with a pair of confronted peacocks amid flowers and grass, with a roe deer at the right. Around the outsde is a frame of egg and dart within concentric lines, beyond which the tail feathers of the birds protrude. Outside the frame is a broad border of scrolling acanthus containing flowers and crescent-shaped human profiles. The inside of the shield is bordered by a band of chainwork in gold lacquer. Above and below the pad is a mound supporting flower sprays and grasses.


Dimensions: diameter 49.5 cm (19.5 in) Weight: 1.53 kg (3 lb 6 oz)

Inscriptions and Marks



Places Japan


One of a group of lacquered shields for the European market: Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (ex-Tradescant, 1685 cat. B.13); Metropolitan Museum, New York, no. 14.25.728; Arundel Castle; Longleat House; Victoria and Albert Museum (from Cothele House); Armeria Reale, Turin; Museo Stibbert, Florence; Odescalchi Colllection, Rome; Waffensammlung, Vienna; and two with the arms of Brandenburg in the Museum fur Volkerkunde, Berlin, which entered the collection of Prince Friedrich III on 15 February 1690 as 'zwey grosse japponische lackirte Schilde..' (L. Riedmeister, 'Der Grosse Kurfurst und Friedrich III als Sammler Ostasiatischer Kunst', 'Ostasiatischer Zeitschrift', 1932, pp. 175-88, at p. 184, taf. 24). The New York, Longleat, Wallace and Victoria and Albert shields have heraldic decoration. The closest example of the scrollwork border is on the New York shield. The 1631 Medici inventory refers to shields decorated 'Indiana' ('Catalogue of the Medici Exhibition at the Palazzo Vecchio', Florence, 1980, p. 141, no. 266).