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Black Lacquered Tubular Dual Plated Body Armor

Updated: Dec 7, 2022

By an unknown armorer

Latter part of the Edo period (1603-1868)


 This is one of the armors passed down in the Hibiya Family (日比谷家). The body, and its sleeves made of the same material, is made of two pieces of black lacquered armor fastened by purple and blue threads.

 The helmet is made of iron rusted material, with a five-plate scroll attached to a thirty-plate riveted helmet bowl. It is also made of inden* (印伝/印傳) fabric, which’s use has been handed down to the present day. However, the beard of the face guard (menpō 面頬) is lost.

 It appears to be an armor produced in the late Edo period (1603–1868), and similar items have been handed down to the descendants of the Hachiōji Junior Officials (Hachiōji Sennin Dōshin 八王子千人同心).


 *Inden refers to the technique of decorating deerskin with lacquer patterns. Deerskin itself has been used for armors since the Yayoi period (300 BCE–250 CE) because of its lightness, durability, and ease of processing. It is said that there was a tannery in the region of the Nara Prefecture similar to the one in use today.

 In the Edo period (1603–1868), the technique of applying lacquer to deerskin was born in Kōshū, Yamanashi Prefecture, and later developed as the merchants of Edo began to use inden for their own goods.


All Japanese names in this translation follow the Japanese order: surname-name, and all Japanese names and words follow the Hepburn romanization method.


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