Antique Samurai Helmet Rokujuyon Ken Koboshi Kabuto with Tokubetsu Kicho Shiryo Certificate
Period: Mid Edo Period (appraised by The Association for the Research and Preservation of Japanese Helmets and Armor)
Prime Material: Iron
This Kabuto’s style is the Koboshi Kabuto (小星兜), which is categorized as the Hoshi Kabuto (星兜). The Hoshi Kabuto is a type of Samurai helmet that was born in the middle of the Heian period (around 888-1068). Small rivets that hold iron plates together. These rivets are called the Hoshi (星, star). In the Edo period, artisans made Kabutos not only Kawari Kabutos (please check the paragraph below) but also ancient-style Kabutos. For example, in the case of the Hoshi Kabuto, the Hoshis become smaller toward the top of the head; this form is called the Rinotori (厘劣り). It differs from the old-fashioned Hoshi Kabuto, in which all the Hoshis were the same size.
The Kabuto (兜, helmet) is a protector for the head. When people started using the Kabuto, it was initially designed for practical use. However, the principal purpose of its design has changed with time; Samurai warriors tried to express their dignity, personality, or religion by wearing the characteristic designed Kabutos. According to a theory, these uniquely designed Kabutos were made from the late Muromachi (室町, 1336-1573) to the Edo period (江戸, 1603-1868). This type of Kabuto is categorized as the Kawari Kabuto (変わり兜), and a variety of materials were used to create them. For example, animal fur, seashells, plants, and paper were used as materials for decoration.
Here we would like to introduce to you a little bit more about the history of Kabutos. Before the Kawari Kabuto’s production, the Suji Kabuto (筋兜) has appeared during the Nanbokuchou (南北朝, 1337-1392) period. At that time, the tactic was gradually changed from the piggyback fight style to battle with the Tachi (太刀) sword and the Naginata (薙刀, Japanese halberd) on the ground. Therefore, there was a rise in demand for the weight-saving of the Kabuto. Also, in order to turn the attack by swords, a new type of structure was invented; it is the Suji Kabuto (筋兜). Its form slides swords’ attacks when weapons hit the Kabuto. It is said that the production of the Suji Kabuto prospered in the Muromachi period.
Please focus on the Maedate (前立, front decoration) part. We believe it imitates a Mikaduki (三日月, crescent moon). We imagine that its golden color caught people’s eyes on the battlefields. According to a theory, the crescent moon designs of Maedates came from the Myouken (妙見) belief. This religion was born in India. It was mixed with the Polestar belief and was brought to Japan from the continent. In the Myouken belief, the moon and stars were the symbols of faith. The Myouken Bosatsu (妙見菩薩, 菩薩 means Bodhisattva) fulfills all wishes such as fertility of rich harvest, peace, the prosperity of the clan, healing of illness, longevity, success in business, traffic safety, academic achievement, marriage, etcetera. Reasonably, the moon motif for a Maedate was popular among Samurai warriors. The former owner of this armor might have shown his faith by wearing this Kabuto. One of the famous Samurai who used this type of Maedate was Date Masamune (伊達 政宗, 1567-1636). He took over the family estate at the age of 17 and contributed to the prosperity of the Touhoku (東北) region. It features a sizeable crescent-shaped decoration and is a popular design even in modern times for replica products.
This Kabuto has a Mei (銘, engraved inscription) on its inside. The certificate mentions that it is written as follows: 早乙女家長 (Saotome Ienaga). Saotome family is said to have branched off from the Myōchin (明珍) family, which was highly regarded as a family of armor makers.
Certification: Tokugetsu Kicho Shiryo Certificate
The certificate was issued by The Association for the Research and Preservation of Japanese Helmets and Armor, which is the most trusted Japanese armor appraiser in Japan. Tokubetsu Kicho Shiryo means special rare article. It is ranked as the third highest of five rankings.
This helmet was authenticated on October 29th, 2023, as a Tokubetsu Kicho Shiryo, and the paper mentions the Kabuto was made in the middle of the Edo period. You can receive this original authentication paper.
An English translation of the certificate is available on request. We won’t charge any additional fee.
Samurai Museum is located in Tokyo, Japan, exhibiting antique artifacts related to the Samurai history. Samurai Museum Shop is the place for those who are interested in Japanese culture and craftsmanship. We deal with antique Samurai swords/armor, traditional crafts made in Japan and so on.
【Antique Japanese helmet (Kabuto) and Export process】
After receiving the full payment from you, we will apply for its export permit from the Board of Education to legally export the helmet to other countries. It normally takes around 2-4 weeks to receive this permit. And we would like you to expect at least 1.0-1.5 months for your order to arrive at your given address after you ordered.
We accept payment through Stripe (Credit card), PayPal, Apple Pay or ChromePay, all of which are secure payment methods. Also, you don’t need to make an account on Stripe for the checkout. If you prefer other payment method, please contact us. After confirming your payment, we will apply for an export permit. You may either pay in JPY, USD, AUD, CAD, EUR, CHF or GBP. The price is set in Japanese Yen. Prices in other currencies are automatically calculated based on the latest exchange rate.
We normally ship via EMS (Express Mail Service) provided by Japan Post. It usually takes at least 5-14 days to deliver the package after you place an order.
We offer Free International Shipping as long as we can ship your order by EMS. If you prefer other shipping carriers, please contact us.
We will inform you of the order’s tracking number via email. Please make sure you fill out your valid email address correctly.
*If you like to make sure if EMS shipping is available to your country, please contact us.
【How to make sure the condition】
Please keep in mind that what you are going to purchase is an antique item. We uploaded high resolution photos for you to check its condition thoroughly. If you like to see more photos with different angles, please feel free to contact us. We will be happy to send them to you so that you can make informed decision. It is essential for us to know that you are happy with your choice of a sword. and we are prepared to use the best of our ability to serve you.
【How To Contact Us】
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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.