Have you seen our Samurai about town? If so, you’ve probably marveled at his costume and how complicated it is to put on.
The real suits of armor featured in Lords of the Samurai are even more complex. Samurai armor consists of many pieces arranged to provide maximum body coverage without (ideally) sacrificing mobility. If you haven’t already checked it out you can learn about armor parts by visiting Know Your Armour on our Lords of the Samurai web page.
Lords of the Samurai features six suits of armor. Each one takes as much as a full day to assemble, largely due to the fragile nature of the centuries old materials.
The first step in installing a suit of armor is to unpack the individual pieces. Armor is transported disassembled, with each section carefully packed into a custom box with appropriate support and protective padding.
While each piece is condition checked for signs of stress or damage, the storage box (yororbitsu) is placed on the display platform. Each suit of armor has a yororbitsu. When the Samurai traveled, the yororbitsu containing his armor followed, like a sort of Samurai suitcase. When displayed, a suit of armor sits on top of its yororbitsu.
On top of the yororbitsu a body support (yoroikaka) is set — this will hold the body of the armor (do). Both the yororbitsu and the yoroikaka are secured to the display platform with a seismic mount, to protect the armor in the event of an earthquake. Once the do is placed on the yoroikaka, additional parts such as the sleeves (kote) can be attached.
With the addition of the shoulder guards (sode) and thigh guards (haidate) the armor starts to really come alive! These pieces are secured to the do using toggles, elaborate lacings, and decorative knots.
The face mask (mempo) and helmet (kabuto) top everything off. With its sharp chin and intimidating profile, this mempo highlights the drastic transformation from elegant artist to formidable foe.
A set of stylized horns (kuwagata) and a fierce dragon detail accent the helmet. Originally, this helmet also featured a plume of feathers (not shown in the exhibition).
Finally, the shin guards (suneate) are placed and secured with custom mounts. This suit of armor has particularly impressive lacquered suneate in a beautiful red-gold color.
The result: a powerful presence. Seriously, would you mess with this guy?
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