Biblical Archaeology Review 45:6, November/December 2019


Kishiwada City, Japan

Made from iron, lacquer, copper-gold alloy, silver, ivory, silk, and horse hair, this set of Samurai armor (gusoku) features a skirt with red, yellow-green, black, and white silk lacings.

The signature of the craftsman who made the armor appears on the inside of the helmet; it reads “Bamen Tomotsugu living in Eichizan province, Toyohara village.” Complete sets of armor signed by Bamen Tomotsugu—the leading armor craftsman of the Bamen school in the 18th century—are extremely rare. Toyohara, where the armor was crafted, is located within the Okinawa Prefecture. The heraldic badge, formed by three whirling commas, marks the armor as belonging to the Okabe family, the feudal lords (daimyo) of Kishiwada, located in the Osaka Prefecture.

The armor can be viewed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

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