Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>1221 Kamakura samurai
Subject: 侍 samurai warrior
Culture: Japanese
Setting: Kamakura shogunate, 1185-1333
Object: 鎧 yoroi armor

* Metropolitan Museum of Art > Stone Gallery of Arms and Armor
"Armor (Yoroi)  
Lacquered iron and leather, silkl, stenciled leather, gilt copper  
Late Kamakura period, early 14th century
This is a rare example of a medieval yoroi.  The yoroi is characterized by a cuirass that wraps around the body and is closed by a separate panel    (waidate) on the right side and by a deep four-sided skirt.  In use from around the tenth to the fourteenth century, yoroi were generally worn by warriors on horseback.
"This armor was originally laced in white silk and had diagonal bands of multicolored lacings at the edges of the skirt and the sode (shoulder guards, missing here).  The colored lacings symbolized the rainbow, which represented both good fortune and fleeting beauty.  The breastplate is covered with stenciled leather bearing the image of the powerful Buddhist deity Fudō Myō-ō, whose fierce mien and attributes of calmness and inner strength were highly prized by the samurai.  The helmet, long associated with this armor, dates from the middle of the fourteenth century.
"This yoroi is traditionally believed to have been donated to the Shinomura Hachimangū, a shrine near Kyoto, by Ashikaga Takauji (1305-1358), founder of the Ashikaga shogunate."

​* Samurai Collection > Iron Men: The Artistry of Iron in Samurai Armor
"Ōboshi kabuto (hemispherically shaped helmet)
Kamakura period, 1192-1333 (bowl); 
Edo period, 1615-1868 (mountings)
Iron, lacquer, leather, gold, silk, copper  ...
This helmet has a traditional shape that was favored by samurai dating back to the tenth century.  The classical helmet bowl (the part that covers the top of the head) has a rounded shape that is made of eighteen separate iron plates.  The large, horn-like attachments are probably stylized representations of a deer's antlers."

* Samurai Collection > Iron Men: The Artistry of Iron in Samurai Armor
"Happuri (mask)
Kamakura period, 1185-1333
Iron, lacquer ...
This all-iron mask, a type called happuri, is the earliest form of face protection used by the samurai.  It covers the forehead and cheeks and the standing flanges on the sides provided extra protection, making it more difficult for a blow from a blade to reach the wearer's face.
    "While the exterior of the mask is lacquered black, the interior is coated with shiny, deep red lacquer.  The red color may have produced reflections that gave the warrior's face a red, menacing glow."