The Samurai ruled Japan continuously for almost seven centuries constituting the political-administrative structure of the country from 1185 to 1868. The most curious component of a Samurai armor were the scary masks (Menpo 面具) that the Samurai wore with the triple purpose of protecting the face, form a basis for the helmet (providing a way to secure the top-heavy kabuto) and strike fear in the opponent. Mempo may be constructed from iron or leather, or a combination of both. The styles were many and all destined to play a subtle psychological effect: the opponent of a Samurai could be in front of a warrior from the appearance of a demon, an animal, a child, a woman or an old man.
Curiously, the Menpo masks prevented the warriors every movement of the mouth and lips, so we read in the military manuals that the samurai used to drink from the bamboo stalk of an arrow. Types of Japanese facial Mempo include the somen, menpō, hanpo and happuri. Beside the traditional activity of studying helmets (kabuto), collectors are nowadays discovering the beauty of menpô (or mengu), the mask of the Japanese samurai armor. A small item with so many variations and designs, often signed and always pleasant to look at, is the perfect work of art to be collected by an armor’s lover who does not want to buy a complete full set of armour.
Giuseppe Piva offers a large selection of Menpo Samurai masks, all made of high quality, rare and in excellent condition. Please browse our “Armors” section of the website to find the best quality iron menpô now available or contact us if you have a specific request, such as sômen, tengu men, or other rare menpô. We are aware that high level menpô are becoming extremely rare, but we are committed to get all the best items from the most important collections.
View our gallery of Mempo masks and choose the ideal one for you!