RED-AND-BLUE-LACED GOLD-LACQUERED HONKOZANE NIMAI DO GUSOKU ARMOR



Japanese armor dating from the seventeenth century was beaten at auction for the record sum of $ 602,500 (about 401,130 euros).

According to auction house Christie’s, the clamorous bid “Honkozane Nima gusoku Do” (本小札二枚胴具足) – red and blue armor with gold applications from the Edo period (1603-1868) – is the highest ever made in an auction for an armor-type Japanese, almost double the maximum bid estimated (200,000 to 300,000 dollars).

The auction house reported that the armor has been acquired by Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

Lot Description

RED-AND-BLUE-LACED GOLD-LACQUERED HONKOZANE NIMAI DO GUSOKU ARMOR
EDO PERIOD (17TH CENTURY), HELMET SIGNED SAOTOME IECHIKA (c. early 17th century)

The helmet an elegant and unusual one hundred and twenty-four-plate high-pointed version of the shiinari (acorn shape) type of suji-bachi, signed Saotome Iechika, with a fine multi-stage gilt tehen kanamono, and a single shinodare (arrow-shaped component) in the form of a snake, the maedate (forecrest) of a gilt praying mantis poised as if to strike its prey, a full and spreading shikoro (neck guard), the o-sode (shoulder guards) of downward-curving rows of honkozane (individual scales lacquered and laced together) flaring outwards in symmetrical curves toward the lower tiers.

The nimai do (two-piece cuirass), shikoro, sode, kusazuri all having blue lacing on the upper rows of kozane and red on the lower rows, robust yet elegant black-lacquered tsutsu-gote (sleeves with hinged-plate forearm pieces) with the triple-aoi mon of the Tokugawa family in relief, triple-aoi mon on the gyoyo, all peripheral components including muna-ita, oshitsuke no ita, waki-ita, with blue-dyed leather painted with scrolling and with dragons among waves in gold, tsutsu suneate (leg guards) matching the kote, the shoes of bear-fur.

Provenance

Tokugawa family, Kii province (Wakayama Prefecture)
Idemitsu Museum of Arts, Tokyo

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