Armor ("Gusoku") with a Two-Piece Cuirass and Black Lacing


Armor ("Gusoku") with a Two-Piece Cuirass and Black Lacing

others / Edo

Edo period, 17th century


Important Cultural Property

This suit of armor belonged to Sakakibara Yasumasa, one of Tokugawa Ieyasu's loyal generals. In addition to the standard cuirass and helmet, it also features parts protecting the arms, knees, and shins. These were previously unheard of, but this type of all-body protection became the norm during the Edo period. The cuirass is coated with a glossy coat of black lacquer and features a silver dragon motif. The kusazuri, or the skirt-like part protecting the thigh area, also features a wave design. These patterns were created by sprinkling fine gold powder or pasting thin sheets of silver onto the armor's surface.
This armor is particularly interesting because we know exactly who used it; there is even a painting showing Sakakibara wearing it. The painting also depicts a banner. This banner has been handed down to present day with the armor, as has an uma-jirushi, or a standard raised during the heat of battle. When viewed together, these truly give us a feel for the atmosphere of the time.

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