Object Title

Pair of shoulder defences (sode)

Pair of shoulder defences (sode)



Object Number



Transferred from Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery, no. Ea 9712, 1966, with armour XXVIA.77.

Physical Description

Each is composed of a main plate, with a standing flange (kamura ita), decorated with kara kusa in gold lacquer with shakudo rims and three pierced shakudo kanamono, to which is laced with dark blue silk a separate lower lame of kiritsuke kozane forming an hishinui ita with uname toji and a single row of red cross-knots. There are inome (boar's eyes) in the outer corners of the hishinui ita. Attached to the main plate by dark blue cross-knots is a russet iron plate embossed with figures in Chinese costume riding carp. On the right shoulder guard the figure is depicted holding a straight sword and a jewel representing Jikoku-Ten, one of the four Shi-Daitenno who guard the four directions. Jikoku-Ten is the deity who guards the East. On the left the figure hold a halberd representing Zocho-Ten who guards the South. Small details of the embossing are emphasised in gold.


Dimensions: The width of each shoulder guard is 280 mm and the length is 295 mm. Weight: Thwe weight of each shoulder guard is 1.05 kg.

Inscriptions and Marks

The right sode is signed 'Oite Edo Myochin Shikibu ki no Muneakira', and the left dated Enkyo ni nen ni gatsu nichi' (1745).


Places Japan


Myochin Muneakira is known to have been working in Edo around 1720. Pieces by him dated 1717 and 1727 are illustrated in Kei Kaneda Chappelear's 'Japanese Armor Makers for The Samuari'. It is probable that the two embossed plates were the only contribution by Muneakira to these pieces. The general form suggests the rest was made in Kaga. A similar Kaga armour with a Myochin embossed plate incorporated was formally in the L. J. Anderson collection.