Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Armor (Gusoku)

Helmet signed by Bamen Tomotsugu (Japanese, Eichizan province, Toyohara, active 18th century)
18th century
Toyohara, Okinawa prefecture
Japanese, Toyohara, Eichizan province
Iron, lacquer, copper-gold alloy (shakudō), silver, silk, horse hair, ivory
as mounted: H. 58 5/8 in. (148.8 cm); W. 18 3/4 in. (47.6 cm)
Armor for Man
Credit Line:
Gift of Etsuko O. Morris and John H. Morris Jr., in memory of Dr. Frederick M. Pedersen, 2001
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 380
The workmanship of this armor and its materials are of the highest quality. It features a kusazuri (skirt) with an extremely rare color scheme of silk lacings in red, yellowish-green, black, and white. The mon (heraldic badge), in the form of three whirling commas (mitsudomoe mon), is that of the Okabe family, feudal lords of Kishiwada (present day Kishiwada City in Osaka Prefecture). The armor is signed on the inside of the helmet: Eichizan no Kuni Toyohara jū Bamen Tomotsugu Saku (Bamen Tomotsugu living in Eichizan province, Toyohara village). Bamen Tomotsugu was the leading armorer of the Bamen school in the eighteenth century. Complete armors signed by him are extremely rare.
Signature: Signed on the inside of the helmet: Eichizan no Kuni Toyohara jū Bamen Tomotsugu Saku (Bamen Tomotsugu living in Eichizan province, Toyohara village).
Ex coll.: Frederick M. Pedersen; Henry Ijima; Etsuko O. and John H. Morris Jr.Dr. Frederick M. Pedersen, United States (until d. 1947; possibly acquired from Yamanakia and Company, New York, prior to World War II, his bequest to Iijima); Henry Iijima, New York (1947–d. 1994; his bequest to Morris); Etsuko O. and John H. Morris Jr., New York (1994–2001; their gift to MMA).
New York. Japan Society Gallery. "Traditional Japanese Design: Five Tastes," September 26, 2001–January 6, 2002.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Arms and Armor: Notable Acquisitions 1991–2002," September 4, 2002–January 18, 2004, no. 55.

Michael Dunn. Traditional Japanese Design: Five Tastes. New York: Japan Society, 2001. p. 100, pl. 53.

Pyhrr, Stuart W., Donald J. La Rocca, and Morihiro Ogawa. Arms and Armor: Notable Acquisitions, 1991–2002. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2002. pp. 58–59, no. 55, ill.

Pyhrr, Stuart W. "Of Arms and Men: Arms and Armor at the Metropolitan, 1912–2012." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 70, no. 1 (Summer 2012). pp. 46–47, fig. 79.

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