Otoke-dō nimai-do tosei gusoku

A fine samurai armour from the Wakisaka clan

Late Momoyama period

Late 16th century - early 17th century 

Wakisaka Yasuharu (1554 – 1626) was a daimyō of Awaji Island who fought under a number of warlords over the course of Japan's Sengoku period. Wakisaka originally served under Akechi Mitsuhide, a vassal of Oda Nobunaga. After Akechi betrayed Oda Nobunaga and was defeated at the Battle of Yamazaki, Wakisaka joined the victor, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who had become a conspicuous figure as a retainer of Oda Nobunaga. After the Shizugatake Battle in 1583, Wakisaka became one of Hideyoshi's most trusted generals and in 1585 and he was given the 30,000 koku fief of Awaji Island. Wakisaka was also appointed commander of a division of Hideyoshi's fleet and participated to the Kyūshū campaign in 1587 and the siege of Odawara in 1590, as well as to the invasions of Korea from 1592 to 1598. In 1600, however, Wakisaka was compelled to oppose Tokugawa Ieyasu, siding with Ishida Mitsunari, but on October 21, during the decisive Battle of Sekigahara, he switched sides again and defeated Ōtani Yoshitsugu's force, contributing to the Tokugawa victory. After the battle, Tokugawa granted Wakisaka to continue governing his domain of Awaji, and in succeeding years, he was given another fief, at Ozu, Iyo Province, worth 53,000 koku.

There are only a few similar armor sets from the Wakisaka army that are known and they all share the same characteristics. It is reported that only 18 of this suits were made, to be used at the battles of Shizugatake and Sekigahara. Overall, the armour is finished in a black lacquer that has been given a rare wavy pattern, drawn into the still wet lacquer with a comb, known as nami-hakeme (“wavy brush marks”). Large gold-lacquered wachigai kamon (family crest with two chain-linked circles) are placed on the side of the three-plate eboshi-nari kabuto (court-cap shaped samurai helmet) and on the front plate of the otoke- (flat cuirass). There can be variations on the colouring of the kabuto: some are all black, while others feature a reddish brown lacquer and/or some gilt parts, like the one here. The lacing is a multi-coloured takuboku-uchi odoshi of white, green, purple and dark-blue braid, tied in sugake style, while the sangu (the three protections for arms and legs) are of shino/ita style, lined with gold and yellow brocade depicting peonies among scrolling foliage.

These suits of armor were produced for the Wakisaka clan probably before the battle of Sekigahara and only a few of them survive today.


Inventory Nr: 1796

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