Japanese master, Ressei menpo

Japanese master


Ressei menpo

Mid-Edo period


A fierce ressei menpo from the middle of Edo period made in tetsu-sabiji (鉄錆地), a style of finish where the iron is allowed to rust naturally thus giving the mask a unique and weathered appearance, which was often seen as desirable. The tetsu-sabiji finish, aside from aesthetically pleasing, has a practical purpose as well by protecting the menpo from any further corrosion.

The surface of the menpo is carved with beautiful parallel lines, in yasurime technique, thus giving the mask a distinctive look. The nose is detachable, teeth lacquered in gold and on the cheekbones ori-kugi which helped to secure the chin strap of a kabuto.

The yodare-kake (throat guard) consists of four iron lamellas laced with silk dyed in orange and blue. The use of blue and orange lacing is a reflection of the Japanese belief in the power and protection of colors.

This menpo has been awarded the Tokubetsu Kicho Shiryo token by the The Association for the Research and Preservation of Japanese Helmets and Armor.

Private collection, Japan
Private collection, Switzerland

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