This gift is made in Japan. It is called the Takaoka Copper Crafts, which is a traditional craft in Japan. A famous Samurai’s helmet is designed on each one.
Date Masamune (伊達 政宗) was born in 1567, Dewa-no Kuni (出羽国, today’s Yamagata prefecture) as the heir to the lord of Yonezawa (米沢) Castle. At that time, Japan was in a period when powerful Sengoku (戦国) feudal lords, including Oda Nobunaga (織田 信長), were fighting repeatedly to unify the country. Masamune was about thirty years younger than the famous warlords Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu. It is even said that if Masamune had been born ten years earlier, Japanese history might have been different.
Date Terumune (伊達 輝宗), Masamune’s father, invited Kosai Souitsu (虎哉 宗乙), who was known as a famous monk, to educate his successor. When Masamune was a child, he contracted a highly contagious and deadly disease called Tennentou (天然痘, smallpox). Fortunately, Masamune survived; however, he was left with scars on his face and lost sight in his right eye. Because of its appearance, he was later called the Dukuganryuu (独眼竜, one-eyed dragon). At that time, smallpox, which left scars on the face, was considered an abomination, and Masamune lacked confidence in himself due to his appearance. Souitsu gave Masamune various knowledge, including calligraphy, Chinese poetry, and military tactics, and taught him what is most important in a person’s life. His teaching resonated strongly with Masamune. Since then, Masamune has searched for and devised ways to overcome his own weaknesses and has acquired true strength because he knows his own shortcomings.
In the fall of 1584, at the age of 18, Masamune succeeded his father as head of the family and became the head of the Date family. Masamune unfortunately lost his father the following year, and from then on, he began to expand his territory actively. He fought battles with various feudal lords in the Tohoku (東北) region in just a few years. He built up a vast sphere of influence spanning the three prefectures of Fukushima, Yamagata, and Miyagi.
The Date and the Hōjo (北条) clan, a significant power in the Kanto (関東) region, had been in an alliance since the time of Masamune’s father. However, in 1590, the Odawa Kassenn (小田原合戦, Battle of Odawara) broke out in which Toyotomi Hideyoshi aimed to subjugate the Hojo clan, and Masamune received a letter from Hideyoshi asking him to participate in the battle. After much consideration, Masamune decided to cooperate with Hideyoshi. However, when he arrived in Odawara, the Hōjo clan’s defeat was already inevitable. Masamune was blamed for this delay in coming and was about to be executed, but he was given a suspended sentence due to his quick thinking. Afterward, Hideyoshi criticized him, and there were scenes where Masamune’s life was in danger; however, his ability to escape from the predicament and survive was probably due to his resourcefulness.
Lastly, we would like to mention a little bit about the design of Masamune’s helmet. For Samurai, armor and helmets are inseparable. Masamune’s helmet has a large gold crescent-shaped front decoration (It is incorporated into this copper craft figurine). Celestial bodies such as stars and the moon were also symbols of the gods and were often incorporated into flags and patterns in hopes of divine protection. Also, when Masamune was born, Terumune made Masamune’s flag a red circle on a white background. This design is very similar to the current Japanese flag. It is believed that the sun on the flag and the moon on the front decoration symbolize Terumune’s wishes for success and protection for his child.
What is Takaoka Copper Crafts?
It is considered to be the root of Takaoka Douki (高岡銅器, Takaoka Copper Crafts) that the Kaga Maeda (加賀前田) family invited seven foundries to Takaoka (高岡) area in the early Edo period. At first, iron castings for agricultural machinery and other products were the mainstay, which grew to become Takaoka town’s primary industry. It started as hardware for daily necessities, but copper castings eventually began to be produced.
Copper casting is a material that could be used to create complex and delicate shapes compared to iron and other materials and has the advantage of being highly workable. In the late Edo period, works of art and Buddhist utensils began to be made that took advantage of the characteristics of copper. As the number of varieties increased, decorative techniques such as coloring, inlay, and metal engraving also developed, and the products were exhibited at the 1867 Paris Universal Exposition and received very high praise. After that, from the Meiji period to the Taisho period, innovations in manufacturing techniques occurred, and production increased dramatically, leading to the area being recognized as a significant producer of copperware. Copper also has excellent corrosion resistance and does not rot like iron even when exposed to wind and rain, so many bronze bells and swords excavated from ancient ruins have retained their original form and are more than 1,000 years old. Many of the pagoda-top metal objects and utensils of the temples that were preserved retain their beauty even today.
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.
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. 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. Time of delivery is estimated as accurately as possible by the carrier but does not take into account any delays beyond our control such as by inclement weather, post office holiday seasons.
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.
*Please keep in mind that due to the spread of COVID-19, there might be possible delays in delivery. If you like to make sure if EMS shipping is available to your country, please contact us.
【Give the Tsuba as a special gift】
Are you looking for a special gift for a person who is interested in Japanese culture? We recommend you to give an antique Tsuba as a present for your significant other. Tsuba is an integral part of the Samurai sword, which was once a primary weapon for Samurai. Each Tsuba is a unique item and has a different design. We hope it would be a memorable gift. Now it is time for you to share the beauty of a piece of Samurai history with your family members or friends, for instance. Also, gift wrapping is available for Tsuba; it is for free. Here is an example of wrapping. For more information, please feel free to contact us. It is always our pleasure to serve you.
Would you like see some more Samjurai helmet figurine for sale? Please check the link below. We hope you can find your favorite one.