Object Title

Folding helmet (Tatami Hitai ate)

Folding helmet (Tatami Hitai ate)



Object Number



Acquired from the Rowntree collection, 1964.

Physical Description

The helmet proper is made from six curved russet iron plates hinged down the centre line and pivoted to each other at the ends by a large rivet. To keep the plates in their proper respective positions they is a row of sugake lacing in heavy variegated braid on either side of the hinge. Hinged to the lowest plate are two curved plates that form sections of a peak. Attached to the main pivot rivets are two shaped plates that extend forwards, their ends having small curved plates hinged to them, in the manner of fukigayeshi. These fukigayeshi have their movement limited by heavy tags of metal rivetted by the hinge.
Sewn to the rear edge of the top plate, and to part of the lowest plate is a hood of kikko made up from four sections laced together with silk cord. This cape is covered with green hemp cloth, lined with dark blue hemp and edged with dark grey / blue ko sakura gawa. The kikko plates are rawhide and outlined by stiches of white silk cord; there being no crossknots. Attached directly to the top plate by its longest side is a triangular section whose apex reaches about the base of the skull. At this point is an elongated triangular section attached by its apex and reaching the base of the neck. The spaces between these two sections are filled in by two sections that extend forwards to meet under the chin, where they fasten with a horn button, and extend out over the shoulders. Sewn along the junction of this cape and the plates is a fringe of white yak hair, knotted onto two cords, that extends to cover much of the fabric.


Dimensions: The overall height of the helmet is 480 mm, the width across the temples is 190 mm and the length from crown to peak is 220 mm. Weight: 1.7 kg

Inscriptions and Marks



Places Japan


An exactly similar hitai ate used to be in the Tony O'Neil collection (Piltdown Sussex) but lacking the kikko hood. Several are illustrated in 'Nihon Katchu Bugo Jiten' by Y.Sasama but none are exactly like this one.