Arms and Armor Department founding curator Bashford Dean's three-month trip to Japan in the spring of 1917 resulted in many important acquisitions for the Museum. Among them was this early example of a haramaki, a light, flexible, and close-fitting type of torso armor that opens vertically up the back. Initially developed in the fourteenth century for fighting on foot, the haramaki was adopted later by samurai cavalry. Although in fragile condition, this example is particularly notable for having most of its original silk lacing, which seldom survives on Japanese armor of this period. Dean acquired it from the dealer Matsumoto Tsuru in Tokyo.
Purchased in Japan in the spring of 1917 by Bashford Dean from the dealer Matsumoto Tsuru, Tokyo, Yasaemoncho 10, Kyobashiya, for 250 Yen.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Bashford Dean and the Creation of the Arms and Armor Department," October 2, 2012–October 13, 2014.
Artist: Helmet bowl signed Saotome Iyetada (Japanese, Edo period, active early–mid-19th century)Date: 16th and 18th centuriesMedium: Iron, lacquer, silk, gilt copperAccession: 14.100.172On view in:Gallery 377