Important Cultural Property
Helmet H15.0 body-front H32.5 sleeve-front L28.5
Muromachi period/15th century
Donated by Akita Kazusue
Tokyo National Museum
This is a typical high-quality cuirass comprised of a body bound on the right side, a helmet and sleeves. The crown of the helmet has 48 vertical lines, all of which are rimmed with copper-plated fukurin (a rim covering for protection or decoration) and maetate (a standing decoration on the front of a helmet) comprised of kuwagata (a decoration like horns of a stag beetle) and nichirin (the sun) on the front. The metal fittings, including the kuwagata base, on the cuirass and sleeves have a copper-plated nanakojikiri arabesque pattern with rivets with paulownia tomon heads. Paulownia arabesque openwork is applied to the suemon (metal fittings) on the fukikaeshi (two turned-back panels on the right and left sides of the shikoro) and gyoyo (a metal decoration in the shape of an apricot leaf) on the chest.
For binding threads, kashidori, a combined thread comprised of dark-blue thread and red thread that is obliquely woven into the dark-blue thread, is used. However, since some claim that the name of the combined thread is not kashidori, but matsukawagumi, further investigation needs to be done. For fukikaeshi and breastplate, dyed leather called shoheigawa, where a pattern of lions and butterflies in seaweed is depicted, is used.
This is one of the most elaborate armors created in the Muromachi period. It is said that it had been handed down to the Kitabatake family of the Namioka-gosho and then to the Akita family, which became the lords of the Miharu domain in Mutsu Province in the Edo period.