• Japanese & Korean Art  auction at Christies

    Sale 2296

    Japanese & Korean Art

    24 March 2010, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 589

    Armor for a Daimyo of the Tokugawa Shogun family. White-laced gold-lacquered nimai-do gusoku

    EDO PERIOD (18TH CENTURY)

    Price Realised  

    Armor for a Daimyo of the Tokugawa Shogun family. White-laced gold-lacquered nimai-do gusoku
    Edo period (18th century)
    The helmet a black-lacquered kawari kabuto in the form of a kinchaku (money pouch with draw strings), rising from a circular base in rounded folds to a six-point apex, narrow gilt mabizashi (brim) with gilt rope-edging fukurin, gilt kuwagata (stylized horns) with fixture richly pierced and carved with chrysanthemums, the maedate (forecrest) a gilt leaping dragon, three-tier gold-lacquered kittsukezane shikoro (neck guard) with gilt corner kanagu carved with chrysanthemums, gold-lacquered fukigaeshi over which dyed leather, and with gilt mitsu-aoi mon of the Tokugawa shogun's family, black-lacquered menpo (face mask) with wrinkled cheeks, expansive detachable nose, white bristling moustache, and tuft of lower lip beard, four-tier yodarekake (bib), the cuirass a nimai-do of gold-lacquered rows of shittsukezane, with seven-sectioned five-tiered kusazuri (skirt), three-tiered gold-lacquered itazane ko-sode (inner shoulder guards), seven tiered gold-lacquered sode (shoulder guards) with elevated kanmuri-ita (upper plate of the sode) with matching dyed leather and gilt fukurin, ancient-style matching kyubi-no-ita and sendan-no-ita both with gilt mitsu-aoi mon, Yoshitsune-gote-style kote with rich gilding and aoi mon on the tekko, three-tiered gold-lacquered iyozane haidate on silk and dyed leather, the two separations each with a further three tassets each of three tiers of shittsukezane, gold-lacquered iron plate suneate (leg guards), all laced components having corners of gilt kanagu pierced and carved with chrysanthemums, variously other matching kanagu, the lacing white throughout with rows of red knotting along plates at the lower edges, together with a saihai (signal baton) of silvered paper


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    This fine quality armor is in the restoration style initiated by the eighth shogun, Tokugawa Yoshimune (1684-1751), who advocated a return to the samurai virtues of the Kamakura period (1185-1333). The armor is accordingly a hybrid of styles from the Kamakura period, and the tosei gusoku (equipment of the times) dating from the 16th through the 18th century, and persisting beyond then. The helmet bowl is a particularly individual form of kawari kabuto (exotic helmet) which would have drawn much attention to the wearer on ceremonial occasions during the Edo period. The gilt triple-leaf mon indicate that the armor was made either for one of the Tokugawa shoguns, or for a daimyo of one of the great family estates of Owari, Mito, Kii, or the close allied clans. The kote (sleeves) are inspired by the Kamakura-period pair of armored sleeves in the collection of the Kasuga Shrine, which were said to have belonged to the heroic Minamoto no Yoshitsune (1159--1189), and of which a number of select copies were made during the Edo period.