Global Art & Artifacts

1940s Kabuto Samurai Helmet. Bronze. Miniature. Japan

Click the photo above for a larger version and more pictures

 

 

Kabuto is a type of helmet worn by ancient Japanese warriors, samurai . . . who basically ruled Japan for over 600 years. Yes, they protected warriors but there was a psychological factor: power and might. The higher the Samurai rank the more decorative and sophisticated helmet.

 

Miniature Kabutos have been hand crafted as far back as the 13th Century. They were gifts to high ranking Samurai, influential political figures and daimyo (provincial governors). . . . as a symbol of protection and future success.

 

This bronze helmet was awarded to a staff member of Douglas MacArthur, just after the end of the war. Only the best made helmets had a high content of copper, which this does.

 

Notice the deep detail on the Mae-zashi (the brim on the front of the hachi -the dome) and the detail on the Shikoro (neck guard). Now, look at the out-folding Fukigaeshi (the wing-like projections to each side).

 

But the icing on the cake is the Datemono (the crest) with its engraved horn like pieces and the 3-D image of Raijin, the defender. Raijin, god of lightning, thunder and storms, is from Japanese mythology and the Shinto religion.

 

I think the cords are original but the cushion might be newer. I am not sure when the helmet was crafted.

 

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