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  • Thumbnail for Oyoroi or "Great" Armor
    Oyoroi or "Great" Armor

    According to Hosokawa family tradition, this set of armor was worn in a 1358 battle in Kyoto by Hosokawa Yoriari, the founder of the family. Much of the original assemblage hat protects the body has survived: the cuirass and its pendant kusazuri (protective skirt), including the entire waidate (right side guard), and the kyubi no ita, which is suspended from the left shoulder over the chest. The two expansive osode (large upper-arm guards) are replacements dating from the sixteenth century and the sendan no ita, which would have been suspended from the right shoulder over the chest, is missing. The hoshi kabuto (star helmet) is made of narrow trapezoidal iron plates fixed with rows of neatly assembled rivets. The right-hand flap of the shikoro has lost several of its lacquered lames, a reminder of a sword blow during a fierce battle. - abridged from Shimizu, "Japan: The Shaping of Daimyo Culture".

  • Thumbnail for Shell Matching Game
    Shell Matching Game

    The octagonal, black-lacquered containers for this shell matching game are decorated with the family crest of the Hosokawa clan. The containers hold 360 shells, each one half of a pair with matching designs of subject matter from The Tale of Genji, or with floral and bird decorations. To play the game, the shells are mixed up and players must find the two shell halves with the same picture.

  • Thumbnail for Sword Guards II
    Sword Guards II by Matashichi, Hayashi

    Both sword guards were made by Hayashi Matashichi, and are iron with inlaid gold. Upper left-corner: On this flower-shaped iron tsuba are five openwork cherry blossoms. An inlaid gold rope pattern encircles the inner portion, and beyond this in a concentric circle, fine threadlike openwork lines represent mist. Evenly spaced around the scalloped perimeter are four heart-shaped perforations. The blossoms of this powerful work are carved in slight relief, and the gold harmonized well with the color of the iron. Right: the tsurumaru, literally round crane," is a type of dancing crane motif in which the tips of the widely spread wings meet above the head, forming a circular cartouche. This red-tinted black iron tsuba is decorated with the tsurumaru motif in skillfully executed openwork. The eyes are delicately inlaid with gold." - Hiroi Yuichi