|DATE||Mid Edo period, 18th century|
A russet iron (tetsu sabiji) sixty-two plate kabuto, each mounted with twenty-five small tapered standing rivets (ko-boshi) of decreasing size. The front plate, larger than the others, is fitted with two lines of rivets, while the rear one is left empty, for a total of 1.550 rivets.
The typical “Saotome-byo” is visible under this lining: an extra rivet which is almost an additional signature of the Saotome armorers.
The five-stage shikoro (neck protection) is slightly curved on the shoulder (hineno shape) and is fitted with large lacquered fukigaeshi.
The Saotome school takes its name from the village in the Hitachi province where it originated. According to the Meiko Zukan, the most important antique manuscript about Japanese armors, it was founded by Ietada, a samurai at the service of the Tagaya clan who started this activity after he became a ronin. The Tagaya clan were stripped of their 60,000 koku holdings after the Sekigahara battle due to their defection to the Uesugi clan, so it is probably after 1600 that Ietada founded the Saotome school, even if it is unclear how he managed to learn such skill in manufacturing helmets. The school remained active until the end of the 18th century, producing some of the finest samurai helmets.
Inventory Nr: 1464