Object Title

Armour (tosei gusoku)

Armour (tosei gusoku)



Object Number



Purchased at auction, Christies, 28 March 1995, lot 250

Physical Description

The main elements of the armour are formed of solid plates imitating lamellar construction. The armour is kebiki laced in blue, except on the sode where there are white and red bands interspersed with blue. All the lower lames are bordered by bands of bear fur. The fukigayeshi of the helmet, the do, sode and kote are decorated with the Genji wheel (kuruma) mon of the Sakakibara family.

The armour comprises a helmet (an Akodanari kabuto of the late 15th century fitted with a 16th century shikoro), mempo, nimai tachi do with seven piece kusazuri, chu-sode, kote and haidate. All belong except the associated but contemporary pad for the right shoulder.

Inscriptions and Marks



Places Japan


The Sakakibara family are best known for the Genji wheel (kuruma) or goshoguruma mon. According to a priest of the Geku Shrine at Ise, they adopted it because they traced their ancestry back to the Fujiwara-gen. The particular version of the mon used on this armour is the koshiki-fu Genji kuruma (Genji wheel with hub-cap), which might suggest that it belonged to an Etchu branch ofthe family.

The most likely candidate for the armour is Sakakibara Yasumasa (1548-1606), daimyo of Kozuke Province. He is well-known for another armour, presented by Tokugawa Ieyasu, and now preserved as an Important Cultural Property in the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Tokyo, along with a 17th century portrait of the owner wearing it (V. Harris and Ogasawara, 'Swords of the Samurai', London, 1992, nos 71-2). However, and ordinary version of the mon, without the hub-cap, appears on this armour.