Hotoke-marudo armour covered with nutbrown leather

Unknown16th century, Momoyama period

Tachibana Museum

Tachibana Museum
Fukuoka-ken, Japan

This is one of the suits of armour owned by the first Lord Tachibana Muneshige. The name ‘Hotoke-marudo’ refers to the seamless surface cuirass. It is created by small iron scales laced together, with brown leather wrapped over the scales and tied on the right side. It perfectly represents the style of armour called ‘Tosei-gusoku’ which was made during the 16th to 17th century. This armour is considered to have been made just before the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600.
The overall form is simple and strong, making it fully functional for battle. On the other hand, the combination of colors, such as the nutbrown leather of the cuirass, the red-lacquered tassets hanging beneath the cuirass and silver foil of the thigh guards, reflects the splendor of the Warring States period.
The most remarkable and characteristic part of this armour is the helmet. The ring side-ornament represents moonlight, and the iridescent black tail feathers back-ornament is unique. The neck guard of hineno-jikoro style resembles hair flowing down the back and forms a well-shaped graceful curve.


  • Title: Hotoke-marudo armour covered with nutbrown leather
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 16th century, Momoyama period
  • Physical Dimensions: Cuirass: h34.0 cm(front) h38.5 cm(back) Helmet: w20.8 cm, d23.8 cm
  • Type: Arms & Armour
  • External Link: http://www.tachibana-museum.jp/collection/armor01.html

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