Samurai Armor


Samurai Armor


The armor of the Japanese represents more than just the ideas of war and protection; it engenders the spirit of the warrior in the traditional Japanese culture. The swords and armor reveal the thought and care the Japanese would put into their craft.

The shogunal government established at Edo in 1603 was the foundation for the Tokugawa clan and other samurai families to become lords who would rule autonomously over their domains of Japenese land. Over generations of bloodshed and grueling war, the daimyos, or lords, showed their fiercesome dedication to their warrior lifestyle and their true skill at military force. Even in times of peace their strict loyalty to the code of the samurai kept their roots close to their spiritual inheritance and their warrior’s training.

Swords and armor were either handed down patrilineally or commissioned from the great craftsmen who spent decades of their lives devoted to learning the art of weaponry and armor design. Their suits of armor were unlike any ever seen before, unsurpassed in beauty and refinement. They were valued items of presentation with the terrifying, yet fantastic design of helmets and body armor. Through thier use of bold shape and infusion of color and symbolism, they testify to the symbolic as well as utilitarian roles of arms and armor in the time of the samurai.

Collection Items

Yoroi Armor
From the beginning of their rule, the shogunate promoted a culture that combined aspects of samurai culture and the arts of the imperial court, with the balance between the two shifting in accordance with the interests of the individual shogunate and…

Yoroi Armor with Red-Leather Lacing
The rise of the samurai in the late Heian period gave way to a new era of military devoted class that would drastically change art and the way craftsmen would evolve their skills. The martial skills and daily life of the samurai, their governing…

Helmet (Suji Kabuto)

The bowl of the helmet, constructed of fifty-two ridged plates, is inscribed with the character Kami, used by the Haruta school of armorers in Nara. The badge on the turnbacks of the neck guard is that of the Sanada family, daimyo of Ueda. This is…

Haramaki with Multicolored Lacing, Ridged Helmet, and Large Shoulder Guards.
This particular peice of armour was influenced by not only comabtive requirements, but religion as well. The stylized antlers would normally embody an animalistic spirit, but these resemble kaji leaves, revered since ancient times and often used…

Eboshi-Shaped Kabuto (Helmet) with Maedate (Crest) in the Form of a Mantis
This helmet was commission as a family heirloom to represent their power as samurai. Its large form is crafted from an iron base, with paper-mache covered in gold, laquered, then sprinkled with more gold dust. The huge crest resembles the shape of a…

Photo of a Samurai from the Meiji Period (1868- 1912)
Japan was in a state of turmoil, struggling in the tension between the traditional Tokugawa samurai and the Emporer. Samurai fought against the new regime's muskets and Gatling guns with their hand-crafted armor, swords, horseback archery, and their…
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