|Early Edo period (1615-1868), 17th century|
This samurai helmet is built with five iron plates that form a flat surface which has been lacquered in black. The neck guard (shikoro) of Hineno type comprises five plates and small fukigaeshi (turned-back portions).
Antique samurai helmets of this type were originally made during the late Muromachi period and became popular for their functionality. With such a plain construction they were, in fact, easy to produce but could be made with thick and resistant iron plates. Due to its shape, this samurai helmet is often referred to as “zunari” (head shaped), while the term “Hineno” is used to specify that the vertical plate does not overlap the visor, as opposed to the “Etchu zunari” type, used by the samurai of the Hosokawa clan. The same term is used to this kind of shikoro (neck guard): the hineno-shikoro, a creation of an armorer known as Hineno Oribe-no-Kami, was very popular during the latter part of the sixteenth century. It was close fitting, quite protective, and lightweight; the fukigaeshi are almost without exception of the small, ear-shaped variety, typically made in one piece with the shikoro’s top plate. The number of lames can range from four to six; typically it is five, as in this case.