The armor is comprised of a round helmet with a neck protector and a crescent-moon shaped ornament; a mask with fake mustache; an upper-body protector with sleeves from waist down and paulownia crest in the middle; a thigh cover; two metal leg protectors; two arm and hand protectors. The suit is stored in a black lacquered box with the gold crest.
The helmet is made of red-painted metal lined with indigo-died cotton fabric and deer skin leather trim, which is attached to the metal helmet. The cotton is quilted with indigo-dyed cotton threads. There are two loops on side and one loop in the back, to hold a code for tying below the wearer’s chin. The code is indigo-dyed and then plaited; there are some fading areas. On the outside of helmet, the paulownia crest is on side flaps (to protect ears). There is a hole in the middle of the helmet for a head ornament. The metal leaves are interlaced with cotton strings. Ceremonial knots of yellow code on the back. It weights about 10 pounds.
The helmet ornament is in crescent moon shape and made of lacquered wood in gold color. There is a slot on the back to place the ornament in the helmet. The slot is nailed to the wood; it looks like a later creation.
The mask covers below the wearer’s eyes, ears, nose and mouth, and down to front neck. The upper part is made of metal; the neck is in metal pieces and cotton codes. The mustache is made of animal hair. The mouth has fake teeth painted with gold.
The arm and hand protectors are made of red-painted metal shell and silk fabric with small flower motifs lined with deerskin and indigo-dyed cotton fabric. The shell is consisted of small metal panels connected with chains. The hand protectors have three different crests. The protectors are tied with indigo dyed cotton codes on back.
The leg protectors are also made of red-painted metal with silk fabric lining. On the metal surface of each piece, there are the artist’s signature and seal.
The body is consisted of metal panels, lacquered with gold in design of peonies and vines. The family crest appears in the middle. Metal knots are in chrysanthemum design. Inside is lined with leather printed with lions and peonies. The shoulder pads are made of cotton quilt in tortoise shell design.
The apron for thighs is made of silk fabric quilt and metal panels. The metal panels protect thighs. The apron belt is made of cotton kasuri; the back is lined with indigo dyed cotton.
The thick belt for the body is made of padded silk fabric.
Elaborate suit of armors were produced since the mid-Heian period (794 - 1185) throughout the Edo period (1615 - 1868) in Japan. Battle field was a place to show one's wealth and lineage, as well as heroism; armors thus embodied sophisticated taste and high craftsmanship. Often times flamboyance was emphasized more than practicality. The large crescent-moon ornament on the helmet here is a good example. The family crests such as this paulownia crest are often decorated on the armor since they indicate the lineage of the samurai. The household of this armor's original owner may have been a retainer of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a military ruler of Momoyama period (1583-1615).
A crescent moon hangs in a gray sky above a Seto kiln. A figure with his back to the viewer walks alongside the kiln.
Kawase Hasui worked in concert with the prolific twentieth century publisher of woodblock prints Watanabe Shôzaburo (1885-1962).
Kawase Hasui was especially known for his skillful depiction of landscapes and night scenes. His passion for landscapes led him to travel extensively throughout Japan, keeping a sensitive eye on his surroundings and sketching scenes from his journeys. His close attention to atmospheric conditions and light brought him much success and one year before his death Kawase was awarded the great honor of Intangible Cultural Treasure for his 1956 print “Snow at Zôjôji Temple.”
This small, flat metal piece has a quartrefoil shape. Two holes in the middle. Flame-like incision all over the piece. Silver is applied around the center hole.
Tsuba (sword guard) is inserted between a sword handle and blade to protect hands from sharp blades. The center hole is where the sword is placed. The smaller hole is to insert kozuka, an ornamental stick. This particlar tsuba has incised, overall frame design.
Mañjusri, the Bodhisattva of Wisdom, standing with two celestial attendants. This representation of Manjushri includes six arms, one of which holds a sword, while a narrow book (modeled after books made from palm leaves) lays across his upper hand. Manjushri is wearing an ornamented crown and necklace, and is encircled by a halo of flames.
Bodhisattva of Wisdom, Manjushri, with two celestial attendants. Manjushri holds a sword with which he battles ignorance, while the book he holds in his upper hand acts as a symbol of his knowledge and profound insight. The halo of flames surrounding him serve as a marker of his power and divinity.
Black schist carved in the relief of Green Tara, a guide and saviouress on the Buddhist path to enlightenment. She holds two lotuses, one open and one closed and makes the gesture of gift-giving with her palm facing outwards, towards the devotee.
In the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit, Tara can be translated as "star" and thus her name emphasizes her role as a guide and saviouress on the Buddhist path to enlightenment. This form of Tara, Green Tara, holds two lotuses, one open and one closed and makes the gesture of gift-giving with her palm facing outwards, towards the devotee.
A woman dressed in a rose-colored robe with a blue mantle and flowing white veil stands on a silver crescent moon among a bank of dark clouds. A halo of stars encircles her head. She clasps both hands before her. The heads of two putti peak out from beneath her mantle next to her left hip. Her right foot treads upon a long serpent that curves back upon itself with an open mouth.
This exquisite painting shows the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in which she is raised body and soul to heaven upon the moment of her death. For devout Catholics of the period the event was an important promise of the resurrection of all humanity that would come at the end of time. The stars around her head and moon under her feet presage this resurrection, as these details are derived from the figure of the “woman clothed with the sun” described in the apocalyptic Book of Revelation from the Bible. The raising of the Virgin to heaven before the apocalypse also signals her privileged position in Catholic belief as the Queen of Heaven who would intercede with Christ for mercy on behalf of sinners. This painting evokes such keenly felt faith in the Virgin through its small size, which indicates that it was destined as an object for guiding personal prayers.
A bas-relief carving made of bone and in the shape of a lotus petal, depicting a wrathful guardian of the Tibetan Buddhist faith. At the base of the "petal" are the tops of mountains, with the waves of the sea visible between them; in the rounded part of the "petal," a border of flames encircles a dynamic image of the bodhisattva Vajrapani in his wrathful form. The background behind Vajrapani is incised with closely spaced wavy lines, again suggesting flames.
An incised image of Vajrapâni, the "Thunderbolt-bearer," an important bodhisattva in the Tibetan Buddhist faith, depicted in his wrathful form. He has a third eye, and his hair is depicted sweeping up and back as though on fire. He wears an elephant skin on his back (the elephant's head is just visible behond his right knee) and a tiger skin around his loins. He carries a vajra ("thunderbolt"—a pronged scepter) in his right hand. He stands in a dramatic pose (known as the "alida" stance, or "powerful kick"), often seen in wrathful deites, trampling underneath two figures that represent variously enemies of the faith or ignorance and greed.
A bas-relief carving made of bone and in the shape of a lotus petal, depicting Pehar, a guardian of the Tibetan Buddhist faith, in wrathful form. At the base of the "petal" are the tops of mountains, with the waves of the sea visible between them; in the rounded part of the "petal," a border of flames encircles a dynamic image of Pehar, his garments flowing in the wind as he rides on a snow lion. The background behind Pehar is incised with closely spaced wavy lines, again suggesting flames.
An incised image of Pehar Gyalpo, a guardian of the Tibetan Buddhist faith; depicted as a male wearing a helmet and riding on a snow lion.
Pehar is one of a class of fierce deities known as dharmapala, or ‘defenders of the faith.’ His cult dates back to the late eighth century, when Guru Padma Sambhava, an Indian master of meditaion and tantric practices, ‘installed’ Pehar as the protector of Samye, the first Buddhist monastery in Tibet. He is also the deity channeled by the Nechung medium, who acts as the State Oracle of Tibet, and the chief dharmapala of Drepung Loseling Monastery.
Pehar is traditionally shown, as here, with a fierce expression, wearing a helmet, and astride a snow lion (an imaginary creature—which may in turn trample a corpse, although not in this example).