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Antique Samurai Articles

Inu Yoroi - The World's First and Only Authenticated Set

SOLD to renowned UK museum. Further announcements pending.

Updates for May:

This unique set will feature in a 15 minute slot for an NHK ( Nippon Hoso Kyokai - Japanaese Broadcasting Corporation ) TV interview on May 13th.

Copies from Dr. Yoshihiko Sasama's hand written Kanteisho authentication documents.

Toraba.Com is proud to have located and identified the first set of Japanese dog armour ever to have been found. This amazing and unique historical item represents one of the few new discoveries of authentic samurai warrior related equipment and regalia to have surfaced for several decades.

The armour has just recently received its official kanteisho and authentication documents, including a hand written report and cover letter directly from Dr. Yoshihiko Sasama, the renowned international authority and scholar on Japanese armour, and President of the Nihon Kacchu Bugu Kenkyu Hozan Kenkyu Kai (Society For the Preservation of the Study of Japanese Arms and Armour) here in Japan.

Dr. Sasama was thrilled to view this item, and has confirmed that at the present time it is again the world's first, and only known and without a doubt authentic example of such an item of bugu.

Only one reliable historical document referring to a samurai taking a dog with him into battle is also known to exist, and is found in Volume 21 of the Gasen by Taiheiki, which refers to a warrior named "Hata Roku Ryouzae-mon Tokiyoshi" who kept his dog named, "Inu-jishi", literally the "Dog Lion" with him during battle.

Though almost certainly other warriors over the centuries may have done likewise, the ancient documents referring to Tokiyoshi and Inu-jishi are the only historically reliable references referring to such an occurrence.

This particular armour clearly dates from the mid to later part of the Edo Era, and was almost certainly made for the pet dog of an extremely high ranking samurai, possibly even a daimyou, as few other person could have afforded such a novelty item for their pet, or could have been well placed enough to have allowed a dog to join him in such a manor on the field, even if only on exercise or parade.

A formal public announcement and newspaper interview are pending along with further studies of this rare piece.

We have enclosed below our original and un-altered item description from when we first presented this piece last month on our homepage to show that we can stand by our historical appraisals and evaluations, a point of which we are proud of.

Our historical appraisal in the case of this item was 100% spot on, as is confirmed by the kanteisho received from Dr. Sasama. If perhaps anything our estimate and opinions were as always slightly more conservative than most, with ourselves stating this piece to be late Edo, though Dr. Sasama was willing to suggest it was perhaps even older that we had been willing to credit the item with.

We will however continue to stand by our policy of bumping the age estimates of items forward, rather than back, without substantial evidence to confirm the later, in order to assure our customers of the most reliable and accurate historical appraisals possible.

Present Updates to Original Listing:

  • Authenticated
  • Received Kanteisho paper from Armour society.
  • Hand written historical appraisal from Dr. Sasama
  • View by Kyo Iku Iinkai

Please check back for further updates which are pending.

Original Item Description and Evaluation by TORABA.COM:

Moku-sei inu-men, kinpaku oshi nuri neri-gawa inu yoroi gusoku. ( applied gold leaf finished moulded rawhide chanfron and barding for a dog. )

Age: Late Edo period. ( circa. 1800-50 )

Condition: Overall excellent original non-restored condition.

Important Features:

  • Original chanfron and barding set.
  • Embossed rawhide scale and plate assembly.
  • Original period silk brocade, hemp, and smoked doe-skin leather materials.
  • Completely original non-restored set.

Materials: Barding - Embossed scale and lame neri-gawa plates with a kuro urushi lacquer finish which was originally covered with gold leaf. Each piece is individual stitched to a sturdy three layer hemp cloth backing panel. Stenciled doe-skin leather edge trims and smoked leather fastening loop straps.

Chanfron - Carved wooden mask with applied lacquer finish. Etched design decorative copper plate with gilded swivel ring assembly. Gilded copper grommets and smoked-leather fastening loop fobs. Kinpaku oshi leather edge trim over paper backings with imported rasha cotton cloth inset collar like attachment, which has been affixed to the mask with gilded copper bosses. Silk brocade gold with kinpaku faced leather strips in the cloth weave. Course weave hemp cloth inner layer and silk cloth reserves side liner. Smoke doe-skin edge trim and decorative cord braiding. Lacquered seiro-gusari chain mail link neck covering screen. Heavy iron chain and thick twine cord lead.

General History: This set of inu-yoroi is presently the only known example of such an item, with there being no references, images or examples on recorded. My personal inital impression was amazement, and then immediate doubt over the authenticity of this set. Careful study of the materials and craftsmanship though confirmed the pieces to be contructed entirely of genuine period materials with no signs of any form of modern alteration.

Several leading armour society members have already viewed this articles since it came into my possesion and are in agreement to its authenticity.

The armour is presently being prepared for shipment to the home of Dr. Yoshihiko Sasama, the internationally renowned armour export and President of the Japan Society for the Preservation of the Study of Japanese Arms & Armour, where he will further study the pieces and issue final confirmation of its actual historical authenticity, upon which official shinsa papers from the Nihon Katchu Bugu Kenkyu Hozan Kenkyu Kai documents are expected to be issued. Dr. Sasama has expressed his great interest in this piece and is expected to write a personal in-depth report to accompany the shinsa documents based on present discussions.

Presently the consensus opinion is again that this item is the only authentic and known example of such a piece to have ever been found or recorded, making it a most extraordinarily rare and truly historical item.

Persons with information, written, visual or material, which might be related to an article of equipment such as this are most earnestly encouraged to contact us.

This item will be offered for sale pending the completion and confirmation of the issue of the shinsa authenticity documents.

We are pleased to list this item at this time so that all Japanese armour collectors, enthusiasts and students may enjoy viewing and studying this extraordinarily rare period example of samurai related regalia.

Interested parties are welcome to forward offers on this set and contact use for further discussions, though no sale will be honoured prior to the issuing of the official armour society shinsa documents.

Origins: General opinion is that this set was made from a dog belonging to a very senior samurai, possibly a daimyou, who apparently was extremely found of this canine companion.

Like articles of bagu, this set is of dubious practical value, and was almost certainly produced as a novelty item to appease the whim of an apparently very wealthy, powerful, and one can only assume, somewhat eccentric samurai warrior.

The armour was most like used likely limited in its use to being worn during gyo-ritsu and other formal parade-like situations.

Please contact us for further images and information.

Asking Price: SOLD
Price includes express airmail delivery and full value insurance coverage.



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