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Namban Kawari-Bachi

Place of Origin: Korea/Japan

Date: 16th-17th Century

Reference: 049

Status: Sold

Full Description:

An intriguing Korean bowl converted to a Japanese style helmet with the addition of a koshi-maki (a narrow strip of metal forming the lower edge of a helmet bowl) and mabizashi (peak). Likely taken in 1594 by troops of the Prince of Hizen during Taiko Samu’s expedition from Japan to Korea in 1594 (McKillop p.115).  

A four piece bowl of russet iron, it is joined vertically by means of riveted winged straps with a median ridge.  A method that can be found on many North Asian helmets of Mongol form.  The bowl is surmounted with a tehen no kanamono (ornamental fitting).

The koshi-maki and mabizashi (peak) applied in Japan, and in the centre a tsunomoto fixture, for a maedate (forecrest).   Around the lower part are a number of apertures for the attachment of a full shikoro [neck guard].  An applied openwork iron Mon (Japanese family crest) is an unusual feature, and is in melon (mokko) form, see Chappelear & Hawley, p.18.

The brim of the original Korean bowl (internally visible) can be seen to be multi-pierced, suitable for chain-mail, a fashion not associated with Japanese helmets.

A number of Korean helmets mounted in the Japanese style are published, and preserved in private and public collections.  Of note is a Korean helmet mounted with a Japanese shikoro in the Stibbert Museum, see Procacci/Robinson item 191a; another with a chain camail is illustrated by Żygulski, p.230.