Nimai-Dō Gusoku Type Armor with Chinese Court Cap Helmet
Not on view
This armor is a rare example of a type which was in fashion from the end of the 16th to the early 17th century. Its helmet (kabuto) in the shape of a Chinese courtier’s cap (tōkan-nari), can be traced back to the personal taste of Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537–1598), a feudal lord who had become the de facto leader of Japan in the 1580s. Additionally, the cuirass (dō) and other elements of the armor are decorated with the paulownia crest of Hideyoshi, whose use he granted to some of his closest retainers. The other crest featured on the armor, in the form of a fan, was the crest of the Satake family. The Satake had pledged allegiance to Hideyoshi in 1590. The overall bright color scheme of the suit and its luxurious textile-covered cuirass (dō) reflect the ostentatious armor fashion prevailing in the Momoyama era (1573–1615). This fashion was the result of an adaption to changes in warfare, such as the use of larger contingents of troops which necessitated more distinctive armor forms that would aid in making individual commanders more recognizable.