Samurai of the Nambokutyo era (1336-1392): Samurai on the left in the traditional o-yoroy armor; a samurai in the center - in do-maru armor (“around the body”) with geyo breastplates; the samurai on the right is also dressed in a Do-Maru, and on his head is an eboshi hat - the headgear of the samurai, which they wore instead of a comforter. Fig. Angus McBride
I'm sitting at the brazier
and look how it gets wet under the rain
on the street the prince ...
and look how it gets wet under the rain
on the street the prince ...
Armor and weapon samurai of japan. Plate of Japanese armor is usually painted in various colors with the help of organic pigments. For example, they were blackened with ordinary soot; bright red color was given by cinnabar; brown was obtained by mixing red paint with black. It was the dark brown color of the varnish that was especially popular in Japan, which was associated with the custom of drinking tea, as well as the fashion for everything old. In this case, this color gave the impression of a metal surface, rusty from old age, although the rust itself was not there. The fantasy of the masters was unlimited: one added finely chopped straw to the varnish, the other poured powder of burnt clay, and some pounded corals. Golden Lacquer was obtained by adding gold dust to it or by coating products with thin sheet gold. The red color was also very popular, since it was considered the color of the war, in addition, blood was not so visible on such armors, but from afar they made a frightening impression on the enemy. It seemed that the people in them were splattered with blood from head to toe. Not only varnishing of armor, but even the varnish itself was very expensive. The fact is that the varnish tree juice is collected only from June to October, and since it is best secreted late at night, its collectors do not have to sleep at this time. And for the whole season, which lasts six months, one tree gives only one cup of juice! The process of coating finished products with this varnish is also complicated. The reason is that the Japanese varnish Urusi cannot be dried, as is usually accepted, but must be kept in the fresh air, but it is necessary in the shade and in damp. Therefore, varnishing of large batches of varnish products is sometimes done in an earthen pit arranged so that water flows down its walls and is covered with palm leaves on top. That is, such a production required great knowledge, experience and patience, but on the other hand, the resistance of the varnish to the effects of the Japanese climate and mechanical damage was really exceptional. The sheath of swords and metal and leather plates of armor, the surface of helmets and face masks, greaves and stirrups were varnished, so it is not surprising that only one armor needed varnish from several trees, which is why its cost was very, very high !
A pair of daiso sonee swords ("big and small"): katana and wakizashi. It is assumed that their owner was Toyotomi Hideyoshi. The sheath is red lacquered and decorated with stripes of gold foil.
In the previous article, it was said that already at the beginning of the XNUMXth century the classic armor of the samurai was the o-yoroy armor, or “big armor”, which differed from keiko’s later armor in that it was one large piece that wrapped around the warrior’s torso and covered chest, left side and back, but on the right side it was necessary to put on a separate plate of vaidate. The cuirass was called sh-yoroy before and consisted of several rows of nakagawa plates. On the upper part of the Munaite cuirass, shoulder straps were provided by the wagons, which had a thick lining, while on their shoulders they had vertically standing shojin-ita plates that did not allow a sword to strike from the side of the warrior's neck.
Shiro-ito odoshi tsumadori o-yoi - a very old armor of the o-yo Heian era with a chevron pattern in the form of a half corner to the left. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
The plates on the chest of the cuirass were covered with dressed leather, which was associated with the practice of Japanese archery. The shooter stood to the opponent with his left side and pulled the bowstring to his right shoulder. So, so that when shooting the bowstring does not touch the edges of the plates of the cuirass, they were covered with smoothly crafted skin. The armpits in front were protected by plates fixed to the cords: the sandan-no-ita also of the plates was on the right, and the narrow one-piece kyubi-no-it plate was on the left. Protection for the lower body and thighs was the trapezoidal shape of the kusazuri, which also consisted of laced plates. They did not come up with a shell-like collar for armor, but the warrior's shoulders were covered with large rectangular o-sode shoulder pads, similar to large flexible shields. They rested on thick silk cords tied on their backs in the form of a bow called agemaki. Interestingly, no matter what color the lacing of the armor itself was, the o-sode cords and agemaki bow were always only red.
But this is already lighter and not so heavy haramaki-do armor, which means "around the body." An example of a monochromatic tight lacing of a blue odoshi kebiki
Back view. Interestingly, the bow agemaki on this armor is for some reason dark blue, although, in theory, it should have been red!
Another Kuro-do-maru armor of the XNUMXth – XNUMXth centuries - all black, with black plates and cords. The o-sode shoulder pads for the do-maru armor were the same as the o-yory armor
Two types of art: odoshi and cabiki
Also, Japanese armor differed from European ones in that, firstly, the lacing pattern, and secondly, its density and material of the cords did not play a utilitarian, but a very important role, and, moreover, they were even special for gunsmiths types of art: the first - odoshi, the second - kebiki. And the point here was far from one beauty. It was the color of the cords and the patterns of these cords on the armor that helped the samurai distinguish their own from strangers, even if the armor of the same color was on different sides. It is believed that clans began to distinguish by color even during the time of Emperor Seyv (856-876), when the Fujiwara family chose light green, Tyra chose purple, and Tachibana chose yellow, etc. The armor of the legendary Empress Jingo had a dark crimson lacing, for which they were called “red sewing armor”.
As in many other countries of the world, the Japanese warriors preferred red to everyone else. But among them, white was also popular - the color of mourning. It was usually used by those who wanted to show that they were looking for death in battle or that their cause was hopeless. Accordingly, the density of weaving with cords demonstrated the position of the warrior in his clan. The tight lacing, which almost completely covered the entire surface of the plates, was the property of the noble armor. And ordinary infantry-ashigaru on armor had the very minimum of cords.
Cords and colors
To connect the plates in Japanese armor, leather cords (gava-odoshi) or silk cords (ito-odoshi) could be used. The simplest and at the same time popular was the dense weaving of cords of the same color - kebiki-odoshi. It is interesting that if the cords were leather, say, white, then they could be decorated with a small drawing of flowers of Japanese cherry - kodzakura-odoshi. In this case, the flowers themselves could be red, and dark blue and even black, and the background, respectively, white, yellow or brown. Weaving with such cords was especially popular during the Heian period and at the beginning of the Kamakura period. However, the fantasy of Japanese masters was not limited to such a simple one-color lacing, and over time they began to combine the colors of the cords. And for each such weaving, naturally, its own name was immediately invented. So, if with one-color weaving, one or two upper rows of plates were fastened with white cords, then this weaving was called kata-odoshi, and it was popular at the very beginning of the Muromachi period. A variant in which cords of a different color came from below was called kositori-odyoshi; but if the color stripes in the armor alternated, it was already a Dan-Odoshi weaving, characteristic of the end of the same period.
Weaving from strips of cords of different colors was called iro-iro-odoshi, also characteristic of the end of Muromachi. Iro-iro-odoshi, in which the color of each strip was replaced in the middle by another, also had its own name - katami-gavari-odoshi. In the XII century. the complex weaving of susugo-odoshi spread, in which the uppermost strip was white, and the color of each new strip was darker than the previous one, starting from the second strip and down. Moreover, between the white strip at the top and the rest with shades of the selected color, one strip of yellow weaving was placed. Sometimes weaving had the form of a chevron: saga-omodaka-odoshi (top angle) and omodoga-odoshi (downward angle). The tsumadori-odoshi pattern looked like a half angle and was especially popular at the end of the Kamakura period - the beginning of the Muromachi period. And sikime-odoshi is a checkerboard weave.
Do-maru armor from Aomori Prefecture (northern part of the former Mutsu province), dates from the end of the XNUMXth century. and is traditionally associated with Akita Sanesue, a daimyo of the Akita family. The armor is fastened with an unusual motley silk cord in the style of kata-aka oshoshi (with a red top). On the belts atagi appeared curly leaf-shaped plates of gyo. The mirror on the helmet between the horns of the Kuwagat served to scare away evil spirits
And here is the o-sode shoulder pad from this armor. The lacing paint on the top faded a lot
And this is only a small part of the options for weaving generated by the imagination of the master armor. Much of the lacing depicted the coat of arms - the mon of the owner of the armor. For example, the swastika was on the o-sode of the northern Tsugaru clan. Well, such weaving as kamatsuma-dora-odoshi completely represented the original color pattern. But the pinnacle of the art of weaving, which required special skill, was weaving fushinava-me-odoshi. Its essence was to use leather cords embossed with blue paint, which after drawing through the holes formed a complex colored pattern on the surface of the armor. The most popular such lacing was in the Nambokutyo era.
Haramaki-do Sengoku armor with katami-gawari-oshoshi lacing - “half body replacement”
Haramaki armor, before the Edo era, XVII century, whose o-sode is decorated with the image of a paulownia flower
In theory, the pattern and colors of the lacing should have been repeated on all details of the armor, including o-sode and kusazuri. But there were do-maru and haramaki-do armor on which the o-sode had one pattern, which was then repeated on the body, but the pattern was different on the kusazuri plates. Usually it was the darkest color of the strip on the cuirass before and on o-sode. When describing lacing, terms like ito and gava (kava) are often found. They indicate flat silk cords and leather straps, respectively. Thus, the description of the cord consists of the name of the material and its color, which, for example, shiro-ito-odoshi is a white silk cord, and kuro-gava-odoshi is a black leather strap.
Dzinbaori is a sleeveless cape worn by generals over armor. Usually made of dense fabric and decorated with the image of monks. In this case, we see the Shinazu clan jinbaori sewn from red velvet with a white collar. Still, some samurai were great originals, needless to say! Age of Edo, XIX century
Shimazu Clan Jinbaori: Rear View
And this is the Jinbaori of the Shinosukaku Clan: front view. Age of Edo, XIX century
The full name of the Japanese armor was very difficult and difficult for the European to remember, since it included the name of the color of the cords and the material from which they were made, such as the weaving used and the type of armor itself. It turns out that the o-yoru armor, in which the red and blue silk cords alternate, will have the name: aka-con ito dan-odoshi yoroy, while the color that was always above was always called the first. A do-maru with a red lacing and a half chevron would be called aka-tsumadori ito-odoshi do-maru, and haramaki armor with black leather straps would be called kuro-gawa odoshi haramaki-do.
However, one should not think that the Japanese used only armor made of plates, both metal and leather. Very original armor of the Haramaki-do type is known, on the outside it looked like it was made entirely of leather strips connected by cords.
The most famous of this type of armor is the brown armor of the kawatsuzumi haramaki from Itsukushima Shrine (Miyajima Island in the Inland Sea), the Nambokutyo period
Fusube-kawatsutsumi haramaki armor (indoor smoked skin). It consists of two plates for the torso, front and back, and a “skirt” of seven five-tiered kusazuri. Such armor was popular during the Sengoku period, the “war period”, when demand for them grew and it was necessary to satisfy it in a hurry. Here the gunsmiths came up with such armor. The fact is that under the skin there were also metal plates, but ... very different, of different types and sizes, from different armor, collected from the pine forest. It is clear that no self-respecting samurai would wear such armor. He would have been laughed at. But ... they were not visible under the skin! There is also one such armor in the Tokyo National Museum, which we will now see, both in front and behind.
Back view. Please note that, unlike other armors tied on the side, haramaki was tied on the back. The place where the ties were located was covered by a special plate called se-ita - the “plate of a coward”. But on this armor it is absent. Either she was not at all, or she was simply lost
To be continued ...