The sixty-plate iron sujibachi kabuto (ridged helmet) with a fivestage gilt and copper tehen kanamono. The mabisachi, with fine gilding on the edge, holds the large and impressive gilt-lacquered wood maedate in the shape of a shell. The three-tiered shikoro (neck guards) is hon kozane of lacquered heavy iron tied together with fine fabric. The upper part shows a flaring gilt iron section which holds an inscription and the mon of the Honda clan on each side. The menpo (face mask) is made of iron and shows a moustache made from horsehair. The five-lame yodarekake are iron with gilt lacquer and leather.
HEIGHT (with stand) 58 cm
Condition: Excellent age-related condition. There is very minor wear all around, including but not limited to, small crackling, creases and miniscule losses. It is very rare to find this complete set in this condition.
Provenance: Important samurai art from an Austrian private collection – Lots (31 – 39) are from an Austrian private collection, assembled with great knowledge and care, as all the objects are in a superior state of preservation. The collection most prominently features three Koto swords, no. 31 is listed as a Juyo Token (= important work).
The Honda clan is a Japanese family that claims descent from the medieval court noble Fujiwara no Kanemichi. Arguably the most famous member of the Honda clan was the legendary samurai general Honda Tadakatsu (1548-1610).
Auction comparison: Another early Hon-Kozane Kabuto was sold recently at Bonhams, Fine Japanese and Korean Art, 11 September 2019, New York, lot 984.