Tōkanmuri kabuto

Samurai helmet in the shape of a court cap

Momoyama to early Edo Period

17th century


The wearing of helmets that reproduced the shapes of traditional headgear became common among members of the military class by the end of the 16th century, in part due to new battle tactics that prioritised fire-weapons and removed generals from the battlefield, in part for the new taste of the warrior class, which tended to emphasise the individuality of the commanders. Helmets shaped as a tōkanmuri, a ceremonial lacquer hat worn at the Chinese court by high-ranking literati and statesmen, were undoubtedly the most successful among the broad category of kawari kabuto, or helmets of “exceptional” shape, which became popular throughout the “Warring States period” (Sengoku Jidai). There are several variations on the theme. This one, which is particularly attractive, has an elongated shape of the bowl, which is an eight- plate toppai-bachi, and very long wakidate (side ornaments), which would actually resemble the wing-like flaps on the back of the court’s cap. The helmet’s surface is marked by geometrical lines on the lacquer, while a pair of large, stylised eyebrows decorate the front, as typical of the kabuto from the early 17th century. 

Price: 28,000 €

Inventory Nr: 1777

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