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Tatami armor with cherry blossom design

Unknown17th century, Edo period

Tachibana Museum

Tachibana Museum
Fukuoka-ken, Japan

This suit of armor was owned by the 3rd lord of the Yanagawa domain who lived in a peaceful and flourishing period in the late 17th century. The cuirass is composed of iron plates linked together by chains and sewn onto the fabric backing to make the armor foldable. This type of armor is called ‘Tatami-do (folding armor),’ which was normally made for common soldiers but this luxurious armor was made for the feudal lord to reflect his taste rather than for practical use. Each of the hexagonal plates has an open work design of cherry blossoms. If you look closely, you will see tiny flecks of silver on the flowers. They are made by ginronagashi, which is a technique to give the piece an antique presence.
The bell-shaped helmet also shows a unique appearance which is executed with rivet inlays of gold and silver.

Details

  • Title: Tatami armor with cherry blossom design
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 17th century, Edo period
  • Physical Dimensions: Cuirass: h43.0cm (front), h46.3cm (back); Helmet: w21.0cm, d24.6cm
  • Type: Arms & Armour

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