Artist: Myochin Ki Muneyoshi
Title: Samurai Armor or Ceremonial Armor, 1800s
Iron, Silk, Silver, Gilt, Copper, Chain mail, Suede
58 x 12 in. (147.3 x 30.5 cm)
Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.
This is armor from the 1800s worn by a Japanese warrior known as a samurai, a word that means “one who serves.” The armor is made out of many pieces of metal tied together with purple cords to create strong layers. Samurai helmets protected the head, and were topped with Japanese symbols for good luck or protection. The facemask was a powerful tool for scaring enemies and provided protection. Each suit was unique to the samurai who wore it. On the shoulder of this armor is the crest, or mon, of the Akita family. The crest has two feathers crossed on top of a fan with tassels. Since this armor was made during a long period of peace in Japan, it may have only been worn for ceremonies or special occasions, such as parades.