Green and White Laced Domaru Gusoku with Kiri-Mon, Myochin Munekuni

Myochin Munekuni

Green and White Laced Domaru Gusoku with Kiri-Mon

Edo period. Meiwa/kansei era (18th century)

Signed Myochin Munekuni


The samurai armor described is an exquisite example Japanese craftsmanship from the Edo period featuring a suji kabuto made from 24 iron plates joined together, with an iron rust finish, known as “tetsusabi.” It features an 18-plate ribbed design (ju-hachi ken suji kabuto) with each joint secured by five neatly arranged rivets. The helmet shape slightly extends forward in a large rounded form called “oyama.” The central three plates, both front and rear, are decorated without ribs and adorned with gold leaf (hakuoshi), featuring decorative metal fittings shaped like chrysanthemum flowers (kiku). The neck guard (shikoro) has a hammered pattern and small metallic decorations. The central hole at the top of the helmet (tehen) is large, with decorative chrysanthemum fittings. The kabuto is signed “Made by the 25th generation grandson, Myochin Munekuni.” The 25th generation grandson of the Myochin family, that is, the 27th generation, took the name Munekuni, and was active around the time of the Meiwa and Kansei eras. Munekuni came from a family of metalworkers originally in the Saotome school. He apprenticed to Myochin Munemasa, the twenty-sixth generation of the Myochin school in Edo. 

The front ornament (maedate) is a significant feature, designed as a three-pronged vajra (trident) known as “sankoken,” with the central prong having a hammered finish. In addition, two imposing stylized antlers, or kuwagata. 

The ressei menpo is made of iron and lacquered black, with pronounced wrinkles for an intimidating appearance and a thin, pointed chin. Real hair is used for the mustache, and ventilation holes (sweat holes) are incorporated in a traditional hexagonal pattern. The nose piece features a heart-shaped cutout known as “inomemado.”

The cuirass (do) is made from lacquered iron plates in the traditional do-maru style, consisting of separate plates joined together. The front has two upward layers, while the back has three layers, with long sides composed of four layers. The do is hinged together, allowing flexibility and adherence to ancient styles. Inside, the plates are lined with brown leather, and the exterior features beautiful decorative gold fittings.

The shoulder guards (sode) are six-layered, widening slightly towards the bottom with a slight inward curve. The top layer matches the design of the helmet’s visor, and decorative leather with red and white ties is used. The armored sleeves (kote) are lacquered black with iron plates, featuring seven iron bands for the lower arm and five for the upper arm. They are connected with white thread and incorporate decorative metal fittings.

The thigh guards (haidate) are made with leather scales, constructed in a stepped manner for both protection and mobility, adorned with decorative patterns and colors such as dark green threads. The shin guards (suneate) feature seven iron bands with a pronounced ridge in the center, tied together with dark green threads and decorative edges.

The fukigaeshi and gyoyo are decorated with the kiri-mon which indicates a connection to the imperial family, the shogunate, or the Toyotomi clan. The crest, which features stylized leaves and flowers of the paulownia tree, was historically granted by the emperor to warriors and later adopted by the Ashikaga and Tokugawa shogunates as a symbol of authority and power.


Private collection, Japan
Private collection, Zürich, Switzerland

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