Antique Samurai Helmet Jingasa
Period: estimated Mid-Late Edo Period
Prime Material: estimated Wood
We classify this item as a type of the Jingasa (陣笠). It is usually made from metal or leather, and Ashigaru (足軽, infantry) and low-ranked soldiers wore it. They substituted it for Kabutos (兜, Samurai helmet). Since the tactics of placing infantry on the front lines became the mainstream, it was a primary matter of how the infantry gained high mobility. Therefore, they wore simple armor with minimal functionality to protect themselves, unlike the luxurious armor of high-ranked Samurai warriors. Crests or marks were drawn on the front of the Jingasa to make it a sign for judging each affiliation.
In the Edo period, people finally welcomed the times of peace. There was a growing trend towards decorative enjoyment, such as designing weapons and armors or how to wear them. Of course, the Jingasa was also included in this tide. Samurai warriors started using Jingasas as a tool to show the wearer’s identity and family, not as a protective gear for the head. Considering its relatively good condition, we think this Jingasa is also one of these Jingasas. Even the inside is lacquered gorgeously, and the front has a beautiful curved shape. Jingasas, which were produced in that period, have artistic and stylish beauty. A theory says that high-ranked Samurai warriors enjoyed wearing these Jingasas when they went out for business, and even some of them changed Jingasas, adopting it to seasons. We hope you enjoyed the history of the Jingasa and would be attracted to the charm of this work.
Please focus on the front and the backside of this Jingasa. You would find a golden crest is designed on each side. This crest is categorized as the Sujikai Mon (直違文) and is called the Niwa Sujikai Mon (丹羽直違文). Its design comes from the shape of Sangi (算木, tool for calculation) and Ki (木, wood). It is an X-shaped crest made by intersecting two straight lines and is also called the Chigai Bou (違い棒) or Nihon Bashi Uchi Chigai (二本箸打ち違い). Niwa Nagahide (丹羽 長秀, 1535-1585) used this family crest. He served the famous Oda Nobunaga (織田 信長, 1534-1582) and supported his efforts to unify the world. He was one of Nobunaga’s vassals who played an important role. We are unsure whether his subordinates used this Jingasa or not. Please enjoy considering this as just one of the possibilities.
A small piece of paper with letters written on Kanji (漢字, a type of Japanese character) is pasted inside this Jingasa. It is written as 拾一 (Ju-Ichi), which means 11 in Japanese. Considering the purpose of Jingasas and the status of soldiers who used this protector, Jingasas were produced in large numbers with the same design, so numbering them might have made it easier to identify who belonged to these Jingasas.
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【How to make sure the condition】
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【How To Preserve Antique Samurai Armor/Helmets】
Dryness, humidity, and bad ventilation might deteriorate the condition of antique Samurai armor/helmet. The best temperature to preserve Samurai armor/helmet is around 20℃ in Celsius, and humidity should be about 60%. Direct sunlight should be avoided. We recommend storing armors/helmets in a room with good ventilation. If you like to display them outside the boxes for a prolonged time, we suggest using a glass case in order for dust not to be accumulated easily. In case you don’t use a glass case, please make sure to regularly dust off from the armor/helmets by using a soft brush made of delicate cloth or brush for painting.
If you like to know more about the preservation of this armor, please feel free to contact us.