A Six-Plate Kabuto (Helmet)
Place of Origin: Japan
Date: Mid-Edo Period circa 1700-1750
Overall height: 370mm (14.5 inches)
Diameter: 190mm (7.48 inches)
A six-plate kuro urushi kabuto (helmet) in the Kaga style, Kaga being an ancient Japanese province. The helmet is lacquered in plum-black urushi and topped with a four-stage iron tehen kanamono (fixture on the top of a helmet). Nine iron shinodare, or decorative fixtures, extend from under the tehen kanamono. Both the tehen and the shinodare have sawari, a decorative finish created by splashing droplets of a silver alloy onto the russet iron, resulting in a pleasing finish that is said to represent early morning dew drops, and is a feature of good quality Kaga armour.
The functional iron peak (mabizashi) is covered in textured, gilded leather. At the rear, secured to the koshimaki (iron band at the base of the helmet), is a four lame shikoro (neck guard). The top lame has two, protruding ears (fukigaeshi) which along with the lowest lame are also covered with gilded and textured leather. This feature, like sawari, is generally associated with armour produced by smiths from Kaga. The neck guard (shikoro) is laced in dark green silk odoshi.
The later, circular maedate (fore crest) is made from brass and takes the form of a crescent moon. The helmet has an original ukibari (helmet liner) and shinobi-no-o (chin cords).