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Hexagonal Plated Foldable Armor Made of Iron and Coated Lacquer

Updated: Dec 7, 2022



 This armor has been passed down within the Hibiya Family (日比谷家) and was made by Myōchin Munechika (明珍宗親) (unknown date of birth and and death) whose name is written on the waistband and the helmet. Active between the middle and end of the Edo period (1603–1868), Munechika is believed to have been an armorer who notably created splendid armors for the feudal lords of the Imabari domain (today’s Ehime Prefecture). Thus the present work is an armor which is believed to have been possessed by one of the feudal lords.


 A weeping wisteria in a cross is printed on the helmet and gauntlets and this drawing is likely to be a family crest (sagari fuji ni jūji 下がり藤に十字). Since a paper with printings of the crest and other items used in its production have been found within the Hibiya Family it is highly likely that the armor was ordered by the Hibiya Family. However, given that the family crest for the Hibiya Family is generally a circle with a falcon's wings and there is no record of the use of this crest as a sign of the family’s possession, it remains a mystery: one could extrapolate that the above crest was used as an alternative design for this particular order or it could be for a special occasion that remains unknown.


 The body of the armor is made of hexagonal steel plates, connected by chains, which can be folded flat for carrying. The tasset has seven linked to five plates around the waist. The helmet is peach-shaped and iron rust is applied for the coloring.


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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