Rare Japanese Samurai Suit
18TH CenturyEdo Period
Nio dou, one of the rarest styles of samurai armor crafted during the Edo Period, named after the Nio Guardian figures in Japanese temples. There were a number of meanings behind this style. One being it's close association with buddhism. The dou is embossed to resemble the emaciated torso of a starving monk or old man. These are also called "gakihara dou", after the starving ghosts of buddhist hell, another example is housed in the Tokyo National Museum.
The nio do or abara do ("rib-bone cuirass") laced entirely in blue, green, orange, purple and white, the do, mabi-sashi and face mask all lacquered "flesh-color" and the remaining components lacquered gold, the suit comprising; a uege kabuto, a simple three-plate iron helmet applied over the entire bowl with boar's fur with a tall peak embossed with eyebrows, the helmet fitted with a five-lame neck guard terminating in small fuki-gaeshi, the front of the helmet mounted with a Buddhist ken and gold-lacquer demon mae-date; the face-mask forged with deep wrinkles and a hinged nose piece and applied with boar-bristle moustache and chin tuft, the teeth lacquered silver, the mask fitted with a four-lame throat guard; the ni-mai Hotoke do made of two iron sheets worked to resemble the naked torso of an emaciated man, the top edge of the muna-itaand waki-ita finished in fukurin and the toggles of the straps carved with scrolling vines, the lower section of the cuirass with rows of kozane, fitted with seven sections of five-lame tassets; chu-sode, shino-gote, kawara-haidate and shino-suneate; flag mount on the rear of the curiass.
Nakamura Kensaku, Kanagawa
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