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Edo Elegance 

Detail of helmet (kabuto), Edo period, XXVIA.247. Royal Armouries, CC BY 4.0

Helmet (kabuto) (XXVIA.247)

This extravagant helmet or kabuto, was designed to intimidate and enthral. It was probably assembled in its current form in Japan during the late Edo period (18th - 19th century). At this time craftsmen could devote time and effort to aesthetics, in comparison to the more utilitarian, pared down styles which had evolved over the period of intense civil wars during the 15th and 16th centuries (referred to as 'Sengoku Jidai'). Armour like this one was often commissioned by influential families of the samurai class. The mon (identifying emblem) included on the helmet's fukigayeshi, the turnbacks at the front of the neck guard, is a Buddhist gong bearing a small flower. This is probably a variation of the crest known to have been used by the Kosuge family.

View the Helmet in our collection