suit includes helmet with praying mantis maedate (forecrest), menpo (face mask), torso covering, pair of front shoulder medallions that attach to torso covering, pair of large upper arm guards, pair of small shoulder coverings (each with a pin for attachment), pair of gauntlets with arm and hand guards, apron, pair of tsutsu suneate (leg guards), and pair of kote (boot coverings); see Components for descriptions of each piece

Red-and-blue-laced Suit of Armor from the Kii Tokugawa Family, mid 17th century

This elaborate suit of Japanese armor is a lightweight, form-fitting type designed to protect the body in close combat. With a face mask, forearm sleeves, thigh and shin guards, and bear-fur boots, every inch of the wearer’s body is protected. Craftspeople laced together hundreds of lacquered metal and leather plates with red and blue silk cords to create a distinctive appearance, as well as flexibility. The suit may have belonged to Tokugawa Yorinobu (1602–1671), the feudal lord of Kii Province and founder of that branch of the Tokugawa family that ruled Japan until 1867. The suit could have been worn in battle but probably was only used for parades.

Details
Title
Red-and-blue-laced Suit of Armor from the Kii Tokugawa Family
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2009.60a-s
Provenance
Tokugawa family, Kii province (Wakayama Prefecture); Idemitsu Sazō for Idemitsu Museum of Arts, Tokyo (1927-2009); Christie's, 23 October 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza, lot 80.
Curator Approved

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suit includes helmet with praying mantis maedate (forecrest), menpo (face mask), torso covering, pair of front shoulder medallions that attach to torso covering, pair of large upper arm guards, pair of small shoulder coverings (each with a pin for attachment), pair of gauntlets with arm and hand guards, apron, pair of tsutsu suneate (leg guards), and pair of kote (boot coverings); see Components for descriptions of each piece