Visored Helmet


Visored Helmet

Archaeology / Kofun / Fukui

Place excavated:Found at Nihonmatsuyama Tumulus, Fukui

Kofun period, 5th century

Iron with partial gilding

高19 幅22 奥行25 鉢径15~20


This iron helmet with a visor was made by riveting small iron plates together.
A bowl-shaped decoration with gold overlay is attached at the top.
At that time, riveting and gold overlay were both new techniques brought over from the Korean peninsula.
The visor is also decorated with triangular holes.
All this strongly suggests the helmet was used as a symbol of authority rather than for practical use.
Many similar helmets have been found across the Japanese archipelago, which suggests this helmet was produced in Japan.
The Yamato kings already wielded considerable power across the Kinki region at the time, so helmets like this may have been distributed to powerful clans in each region as symbols of this power.
This helmet was excavated from the Nihonmatsuyama tumulus in Fukui Prefecture.
It was found inside a stone coffin and has been wonderfully preserved down the ages, making it one of the most magnificent examples of helmets from the Kofun period, which lasted from around the 3rd to the 7th century.
Short armor forming a set with the helmet was found at the same tumulus.
Also discovered were two gilt-bronze crowns with a close resemblance to objects found on the Korean peninsula.
This points to interchanges between the Hokuriku region of Honshu, one of the main islands of Japan, and the Korean peninsula.
Perhaps the occupant of the tumulus was a local strongman with a power to rival that of the Yamato Kingdom, which dominated Japan at the time.

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