Object Title

Armour (tosei gusoku)

Armour (tosei gusoku)



Object Number



Acquired from the Rowntree collection, August 1964.

Physical Description

Is of six russet iron plates without suji and of rather pointed shape, shiinomi nari (acorn shaped). The front and two adjacent plates have been tested by musket balls, that on the right twice. At the apex is a very small tehen surrounded by an iron kanamono of two stages, the lowest pierced with inome. Around the koshimaki are four small upturned hooks that may have held some form of cover for the shikoro. There are tsunamono for a maedate, in the form of a gilded disc, and wakidate that are now missing. The small peak is covered with kiritestu of scrolling foliage. The helmet is signed in red lacquer on the inside of the backplate. The lining is fastened to the inner brow plate by seven leather thongs tied in bows.
Attached to the koshimaki is a shikoro of 6 russet lacquered lames sugake laced in pale brown silk, the lowest lame being covered in blue shobu gawa. The helmet has originally had fukigayeshi but these have been broken off.
Is of russet iron, without teeth or wrinkles but it is fitted with yadome. Attached is a tare of fabric covered with a very close nanban kusari.
Is a russet iron yokohagi okegawa ryotakahimo do having only four lames in the nakagawa with subsidary lames at the front and back fastened by rivets working in slots. This same method of articulation has been used for the other plates in the nakagawa. At the top, the muneita is riveted solidly to the do, whilst the corresponding plate at the back is divided vertically and hinged to allow the shoulder straps to swing backwards. Around the neck is a standing collar of iron supplemented by a kikko collar. Hinges show where originally there were kohire and gyoyo. The interior of the do is gold lacquered. The upper edges have roped shakudo fukurin, there are shakudo kohaze. Attached by toggles is a set of seven gessan, each of five russet lacquered plates. The upper edges of the plates are arched in the centre. They are laced in a green/blue braid, spaced in three groups across the width of the plate. The lowest plates have two rows of cross-knots and a row of uname toji in the same green lacing.
Are of five russet plates, the upper four rigidly fastened together, the lowest hinged. The upper plate has a standing flange with a roped fukurin matching the do.
Are of russet lacquered ko shino set in a grid of mail. They are sewn, like the other pieces, onto a pale green brocade with a diaper and rondles of flowers in gold. Inside the sleeves are covered with a grid of mail and have an ivory button to fasten them near the top.
Of russet lacquered iron shino, the longest covering the front and outside of the leg having the lowest part divided and joined by mail. There is a broad band of mail on each side extending the mail to the edge of the fabric. They are sewn onto the same brocade as the sleeves and have three part knee guards of kikko, covered with black velvet and done with red and white hexagonal sewing through holes in the plates. No cross-knots remain to indicate their colour.
Are mainly covered with mail but with vertical columns of russet lacquered shino. They are shaped to cover the front, outside and back of the leg. They are sewn onto the same fabric as the sleeves and have greenish leather strengthening bands.


Dimensions: Overall height as mounted: height: 1590mm; width: 570mm; depth: 360mm. Individual measurements on individual records. Weight: The weight of the helmet is 2.1 kg, the weight of the mask is 0.55 kg. The weight of the sleeves are 0.7 kg for the right, 0.75 kg for the left. The haidate weighs 1.5 kg and the suneate weigh 0.3 kg for the right and 0.35 kg for the left.

Inscriptions and Marks

The back ofthe helmet is signed in red lacquer 'Kashu ju ?kinyama Kuemon' This smith is not known.


Places Japan


A previous note reads: 'Uemon is the art name of Myochin Katsumoto of Kozuke (1521-54). The signature is by no means clear. Robinson suggested it contained the date 1663, but this is not apparent.' There is nothing Myochin about this helmet which is pure Kaga work and probably by a branch of the Haruta. The helmet has nothing to do with the do, which has cord and lacing of a very pale blue. The do is also Kaga work but is not Unkai as previously stated. The lowest lames of the sode are a different colour russet and may well be replacements made by HRR.