Removing an arrow from the eye of a wounded samurai. Fig. Angus McBride
Among the flowers - cherry, among people - a samurai.
Armor and weapon samurai of japan. A few years ago, the theme of Japanese weapons and armor sounded quite noticeably on VO. Many then read about them and had the opportunity to express their opinions. But time goes on, more and more readers appear, and the old ones have forgotten a lot, so I thought: why don't we return to this topic again? Moreover, the illustrations will now be completely different. Which is not surprising, because a lot of Japanese armor has survived.
So, today we will again admire these truly amazing creations of human hands and fantasies, while forgetting for a while that all this served the purpose of killing one person by another. And it is clear that the killer himself did not want to be killed at all, and therefore hid his body under armor that had been improving from century to century. Here we are today and get acquainted with how this process took place in Japan. Well, as illustrations illustrating the text, photographs from the Tokyo National Museum will be used.
And to begin with, we recall what the armor of the Japanese samurai always attracted us and attract. First of all, brightness and colorfulness, and, of course, by the fact that they are not like everyone else. Although the totality of their combat properties, they practically do not differ from the more prosaic-looking armor of Western Europe. On the other hand, they are primarily because they are ideally adapted precisely to the habitat in which the samurai dressed in them fought with each other on their alien islands.
Ancient warriors of the Yayoi era (XNUMXrd century BC - XNUMXrd century AD)
Japan has always been the edge of the earth, where people, if they moved, are most likely only in case of emergency. Probably, at the same time they thought that nobody would get them there! However, as soon as they entered land, they immediately had to enter the war with the natives. However, they were usually allowed to defeat local residents by a higher level of development of military affairs. So in the period between the III century. BC. and II c. AD another group of immigrants from the Asian continent brought with them two innovations that were very important: the skills of processing iron and the custom of burying their dead in huge mounds (kofun) and putting utensils, jewelry, and also weapons and armor with the bodies of the dead.
A khaniva figurine depicting a warrior in keiko armor. Discovered in Gunma Prefecture, Ota City. Dated to the VI century. The era of Kofun. Height 130,5 cm. It is a national treasure of Japan.
And they sculpted from clay and burned figures of a khaniv - a kind of ushebti of the ancient Egyptians. Only now the Uhebti had to work for the deceased at the call of the gods, while the Khanites were the guards of their reassurance. They were buried around the burial grounds, and since they usually depicted not just anyone, but armed soldiers, it was not difficult for archaeologists to compare these figures and the remains of weapons and armor found in these mounds.
The same figure close-up. The smallest details of weapons are clearly visible
We managed to find out that in the era called Yayoi, Japanese warriors wore wooden or leather armor, which had the appearance of cuirasses on straps. In the cold, warriors wore bearskin jackets sewn with fur to the outside. In the summer they wore a cuirass with a sleeveless shirt, and, well, the pants were pulled below the knees. The rear part of the cuirass made of wood for some reason stood above the shoulder level, while the cuirass made of leather was supplemented with shoulder straps made of leather stripes or they had an overlap on the shoulders. Warriors used shields from te-date boards, which had a umbon in the form of a solar disk with rays diverging from it in a spiral. Nowhere else has this happened. What this meant is unknown.
Helmet with the Cheeks. Apparently, the master who sculpted the figure was better versed in armor than in the anatomy of the human face
The same helmet. Side view
Judging by the design, the helmet was assembled from four segments with rivets with reinforcement in the form of a patch plate. The head was leather and reinforced with plates. Cheeks are also leather, but are reinforced with thick leather straps on the outside.
Warriors of the Yayoi era were armed with hoko spears, straight tekuto swords, bows and klevtsy obviously borrowed in China - halberds with handles of different lengths. The soldiers should be called into battle and encouraged by the sound of a bronze bell, the ringing of which should also frighten away evil spirits. Iron was already known, but up to the IV century. AD many weapons were still made of bronze.
Chinese halberd blade
The bronze tip of the spear of the Yayoi era. Length 82,2 cm
Warriors of the Yamato era (III century AD - 710) and the Heian era (794-1185)
At the end of IV - beginning of V century in stories Another landmark event occurred in Japan: horses were brought to the islands. And not only horses ... In China, there was already cavalry from riders in heavy weapons, using a high saddle and stirrups. Now the preponderance of immigrants over Aborigines has become decisive. In addition to the infantry, cavalry also fought with them, which allowed the aliens from the mainland to successfully push the locals farther and farther north.
Horse haniva with saddle and stirrups
But the specifics of the war here was such that, for example, already in the XNUMXth century, Japanese soldiers abandoned their shields, but the horse harness that appeared in the burials tells us that there were more and more riders! Moreover, it was at this time that the main weapon of the Japanese rider became instead of a spear and a sword a large bow of an asymmetric shape (one “shoulder” is longer than the other) - yumi. However, they also had a sword: a direct chopping, sharpened, on one side like a saber.
The first stirrups that came to Japan were not much different from what archaeologists find in China.
But then they took the form of a closed toe!
And finally, they turned into such absolutely unimaginable for the European stirrup-boats!
Chinese records dating back to 600 report that their arrows had tips made of iron and bone, that their crossbows were similar to Chinese, swords straight, and spears long and short, but armor made of leather.
Arrowheads, approx. 600 g
Schematic illustration of armor of a tanko or mizika-yoroy and a shokaku helmet with a protruding "beak"
Warrior in armor tanko. Modern drawing by Sujim Sue
It is interesting that the Japanese already began to cover them with their famous varnish from lacquer tree juice, which is understandable, because Japan is a country with a very humid climate, so the use of varnish for the purpose of protection against moisture was dictated by the need. The armor of persons of high rank was also covered with gilding, so that it would immediately be clear who is who!
Tank Armor Breastplate
Armor tanko. Shokaku-tsuki-kabuto helmet (“butting ram”), cuirass-do, and akabe-yoroy plate collar details
But no one has ever called the samurai of the soldiers of that time! Although they have already found a word, and even much more elevated than a samurai, - bushi, which can be translated into Russian as “fighter”, “warrior”, “combatant”. That is, the professional nature of their occupation was emphasized in this way, and since the war does not endure inconvenience, the protective equipment of the bushi was constantly being improved constantly. For foot soldiers, armor was made of iron strips called tanko (IV - VIII centuries), and more convenient for rider armor keiko (V - VIII centuries), which looked like a plate cuirass with a skirt up to the middle of the warrior's thigh. The long and curved inward plates formed the waist of the armor, which, apparently, was also belted here. Well, on the warrior’s body, keiko was held with wide shoulder straps (gangs) of cotton fabric, which on top also covered the collar and shoulders. Hands from the hands to the elbows covered the bracers of narrow longitudinal metal plates connected by cords. The rider’s legs below the knees were also protected by armor plates and the same gaiters, covering his hips and knees. Such armor together with a wide "skirt" looked very much like ... a modern pea coat, and were pulled by a belt at the waist. Shoulders made up a collar with the collar, so that the warrior himself could put on all this without resorting to the help of servants.
Schematic illustration of keiko armor
Keiko armor helmet - mabizashi-tsuki-kabuto. A feature of such helmets was a visor perforated with patterns and a cup for plume on the crown
In the VIII century, another variant of keiko appeared, consisting of four sections: the front and rear sections were connected by shoulder straps, while the two side sections should be worn separately. Apparently, all these tricks had one goal in front of them - to provide maximum convenience, as well as maximum protection, to the soldiers who fired from the horse with a bow!
Warriors of the Kamakura era (1185-1333 gg.)
In the Heian era, there was an unprecedented drop in imperial power and ... the victory of the Bushi estate. The first shogunate was created in Japan, and all the beads were divided into two classes: the gokenin and the hokenin. The former were directly subordinate to the shogun and were elite; the second - became mercenaries who served anyone who paid them. The owners of large estates recruited them as armed servants, and so they became samurai, that is, Japanese "serving" people. Indeed, the term “samurai” itself is a derivative of the verb “saburau” (“to serve”). All warriors ceased to be farmers, and peasants turned into ordinary serfs. Although not quite ordinary. From each village a certain number of peasants were allocated to soldiers as servants or as spear-bearing soldiers. And these people, who were called asigaru (lit. "light-footed"), although they did not become equal to the samurai, still got the opportunity with the help of personal courage to get upstairs. That is, in Japan everything was the same as in England, where the word knight (knight) also came from the Old Norse terms “servant” and “serve”. That is, initially the samurai were precisely the servants of large feudal lords. They had to protect their estates and property, as well as themselves, and it is clear that they were devoted to their master, went to war with him, and also carried out his various assignments.
Kusari-Tati Sword, Heian, 104,0th Century Decorated with pearls and gold lining. The handle is covered in shark skin. Length XNUMX cm. Has the status of a national treasure of Japan
The sword, known as Yesugi-tachi, Kamakura period, XIII century. Decorated in the style of hyogo-gusari-tachi. Hyogo-kusari copper wire pendants. Length 105,4 cm. Has the status of a national treasure of Japan
Blade of this sword
The armor that people of the military class now wore (or, in any case, sought to wear) during the Heian period were made exclusively from plates with punched holes for the cords. The cords were made of leather and silk. Well, the plates were quite large: 5-7 cm tall and 4 cm wide. They could be iron or leather. In any case, they were varnished to protect them from moisture. Each disc, called kozane, was supposed to half cover the one on its right. Each row ended with another half of the plate for its greater strength. The armor was multi-layered and therefore very durable.
Heian era plates. It is clearly seen that they were made of metal, primed and then covered with black varnish. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
And so they overlapped one another
But he also had a serious drawback: even the most durable cords stretched over time, the plates diverged among themselves and began to sag. To prevent this from happening, gunsmiths began using three types of plates of different sizes: with three, two and one row of holes, which were then superimposed on one another and connected in an exceptionally rigid structure. The stiffness of such armor increased, the protective qualities became even higher, but the weight also increased, so such plates began to be made of leather more often.
Hashi Kabuto Helmet Tulia with distinctive riveted protruding heads
The same helmet, reconstructed
In the XIII century, new records appeared, which began to be called yёzane, they were wider than kozane. Horizontal strips began to be assembled from them, and then connected by vertical lacing of the kebiki-odoshi. At the same time, a special cord (mimi-ito), which differed in color from the color of the main lacing, braided the edges of the armor, and such a cord was usually thicker and stronger than all other cords.
The aka-ito-odoshi armor is the o-yo period of Heian, with plates fastened with a red (aka) cord (odoshi). It does not look too old, since during the Meiji period this equipment was restored. Pay attention to the asymmetric chest plates of sandan-no-ita and kyubi-no-ita, which cover the armpits. They were later abandoned
Well, the rider’s armor, o-yoy, became the main type of armor already in the Heian era: durable, resembling a box and arranged in such a way that its front armor plate rested its lower edge on the bow of the saddle, which reduced the load on the shoulders of the warrior. The total weight of this armor was 27-28 kg. It was a typical horseman "armor", the main task of which was to protect its owner from arrows.
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2. Turnbull S. Military History of Japan. M .: Eksmo, 2013.
3. Shpakovsky V. Atlas of samurai. M .: "Rosman-Press", 2005.
4. Bryant E. Samurai. M .: AST / Astrel, 2005.
To be continued ...