Lot 65. A blue-laced nimaido gusoku (armor), Edo period, 19th century. Estimate $20,000 - $30,000. Price Realized $43,750. Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2016.
The armor comprising:
Helmet [kabuto]: a russet iron ichimai kabuto (single sheet helmet) with embossed hachimanza (decorative component at the apex of the helmet bowl) and shinodare (arrow-shaped decorative strips), wide mabi-sashi (peak) with three large round rivets, the maedate (forecrest) of a gilt circle pierced with a cusp with chigai-ken (crossing swords)
Neck guard [shikoro]: five-tier manju-jikoro (neck-guard) of black-lacquered iron kittsukezane (sheets simulating individual scales), the fukigaeshi (turn-backs) clad with dyed leather and with gilt oak leaf mon (badges) within circles
Face mask [menpo]: a russet iron menpo (half mask) signed Mito Myochin ki Yoshiomi, with detachable nose, deeply-wrinkled cheeks, with four-tier yodare-kake (bib) of matching kittsukezane
Cuirass [do]: the six-section russet iron do (cuirass) with a central embossed roundel dragon above stylized waves around the lower edge, munaita (upper breast section) of one black-lacquered and one russet iron sheet laced together, agemaki no kan (ring for attachments) on embossed bat on the back
Skirt [kusazuri]: seven tassets each five tiers
Sleeves and shoulder guard [kote and sode]: russet iron hyotan-gote (sleeves), the tekko (hand covers) with applied oak leaf mon, seven-tier sode (shoulder guards)
Thigh protector and lower leg guards [haidate and sune-ate]: black lacquered haidate, russet iron plate sune-ate (lower leg guards), the hinged knee sections each embossed with the stylized character tora (tiger in the zodiac)
Note: In the mid-nineteenth century, the lord of the Tokugawa Mito clan, Tokugawa Nariaki, invited prominent Myochin-school armorers in Aizu province to promote the armaments of the Mito clan. Myochin-school armorers were known for their skill at forging and tempering steel. The artist who signed this work, Myochin Yoshiomi, became a pupil of the Mito Myochin school in 1844 and made the iron parts of armor.
For the signed helmet by the same artist, see Sasama Yoshihiko, ed., Shin kacchushi meikan (New directory of armorers) (Tokyo: Ribun shuppan, 2000), p. 300.
Christie's. AN INQUIRING MIND: AMERICAN COLLECTING OF JAPANESE AND KOREAN ART, 15 April 2016, New York, Rockefeller Plaza