Object Title

Helmet (kara-no-kabuto)

Helmet (kara-no-kabuto)



Object Number



From the Rowntree collection, no. 6, 1964.

Physical Description

The russet iron bowl is in the style of a Chinese helmet, made of a single conical plate whose angle alters above the koshimaki to form a rounded ridge. To this is rivetted a secondary section that continues the slope of the main plate then flares out again to terminate in a circular flat top. In the centre of the top plate is a silvered octagonal boss surmounted by a tube decorated with silvered cloud shapes. The koshimaki, like the upper section of the bowl is attached to the main plate by fleur-de-lis shaped extentions from the edge of the plate that are emphasised by having their edged gilded. The top section has four such extentions, fastened by conical headed rivets, the koshimaki has eight and also has its border gilded. At the front, the koshimaki is shaped over each eye, above which is a small angular peak riveted in the same way. At the centre front is evidence that a tsunamono for a maedate was once fitted.
Attached to the bowl is a shikoro of 6 plates of flaring conical shape. The uppermost lame is covered in black lacquered wrinkled leather, the remainder russet externally and black lacquered internally. The upper lame is extended to form russet iron fukigayeshi having a waved edge that bear gilt copper mon. The lowest lame is decorated by 15 silvered dome studs. There is no lacing in the normal sense; each lame except the lowest has slots cut at intervals through the lower edge through which are threaded leather strips. The result is that none of the lacing is visible externally. The right fukigayeshi is missing as is the fabric lining


Dimensions: The height of the bowl is 19.5 cm, the plume tube is 7.7 cm high. Weight: The overall weight of the helmet is 2.2 kg.

Inscriptions and Marks



No other examples of this type of helmet can be found. The mon is in the form of wisteria leaves and flowers enclosing a seal script character. The use of fleur-de-lis shapes for joining the sections of this helmet together is exactly similar to a Korean helmet preserved in the Genko Memorial Hall, Hakata Kyushu - illustrated in Chinese Antiquities Shina Koki Zuko, Part I Arms and Armour edited by Y. Harada and K. Komai; Tokyo 1932