Age: Edo period. 18th century. 江戸時代 koki 後期
Japan: Iron, lacquer, silk, wood, gold
Provenance: Private collection in Japan
Exhibition: Mononofu Katchu.
Mayfair London. 14th-15th May 2022
An iron black lacquered 52 plate kabuto [helmet] bearing the signature of Neo Masanobu of the Neo-School. Features a black lacquered large three lame manju-jikoro [neck guard] laced in silk in the sugake style. Inner leather ukebari [liner] with fine hemp roped shinobi-no-o [helmet cord]. Maedate (frontal crest device) of a sachi [dragon fish] with a gilded copper kuwagata [stylized antlers]. A black ressei iron lacquered menpo [face mask] with a yak hair hige [moustache] connected to a gilded three lame suga [throat guard] laced in the sugake style. This armour features a very large fully matched nodowa (secondary throat guard. The dō [cuirass] has a lacquered iron go-mai [five-section] construction in the mogami [horizontal] style. The gessen [skirt] is made of seven sections of black lacquered lames and is laced in the sugake style.
Ko-Gusoku [other parts] gilded medium size chu-sode [arm guards] of seven lames laced in the sugake style. The kote and haidate are of the shino style, the haidate being constructed of iyozane scales. Five lame etchu-shino-suneate [thigh guards] with kikko-gane [hexagonal knee guard].
Supplied with a yoroi-tate [armour display stand] and yoroi-bitsu [armour travel storage box].
A group of armourers with little documentation but known to be based in Nara between the Momoyama and Tokugawa periods. Neo Masanobu was their best-known smith, being held in high regard for his 120 plate kabuto. Neo Masanobu (根尾正信), mid-Edo period, lived in Nara and in Kyôto. At the time Neo referred to the famous Neo valley of Mino province with the Ibukiyama (伊吹山) mountain range to the east where iron was extracted. Thus it was only natural that casters and smiths settled there and it is thought that Neo Masanobu was one of them.
Accompanied by a certificate of registration as Tokubetsu Hozon 特別保存 (Special cultural material) No.12042139 issued by the Kokusai Nihon Katchū Bugu Shinkō Kyōkai 国際日本甲冑武具振興協会 (International Society for the Promotion of Japanese Armor)
Mogami-dō Gusuko Catalogue DB001