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Lot 0042B
Japan, Edo, ca. 1603 to 1868 CE. An exquisite bronze samurai kabuto (helmet) vessel richly adorned with cloisonne in abstract floral and geometric motifs colored with royal blue, aqua, spring green, deep red, and white enamel. The form itself is quite impressive with a high hachi (dome) removeable lid, decorated with a prominent flat front tehen kanamono (crest) featuring rising wing-like elements flanking a chrysanthemum flower roundel. The mabizashi (visor) emerges from the rim of the vessel below. The shikoro (suspended neck guard) is beautifully detailed with striated bands in repousse as if representing hundreds of interlaced scales and a border punctuated by repeated bosses. Fukigaeshi (wing or ear-like projections) also detailed with that striated motif and cloisonne borders add to the splendor of this piece as do the pair of smaller wing-like elements flanking the mabizashi. Size: 10.875" W x 13.75" H (27.6 cm x 34.9 cm)

Finally, the vessel stands on six curved 'feet' adorned with striated bands followed by cloisonne enamel borders with a tied knot above the central one representing the shinobi-no-o (chin cord) that secures mengu (facial armor). On the underside of the base is a plate featuring a signature, perhaps identifying the samurai warrior or the emperor, the clan he served, or the artist who created this piece.

Dying with respect and honor was of the utmost importance to Japanese samurai, hence one inflexible principle was that a samurai's death should bring glory to his family and descendants as well as the emperor or clan he served. Given this, samurai armor was quite elaborate with elements displaying immense technique and artistry. Comprising an elite warrior class, samurai were well versed in the arts, mastering such various cultural pursuits such as monochrome ink painting, poetry, and the tea ceremony. Their luxurious arms and armour reflected their elite status as well as their appreciation for the arts.

Provenance: ex William Scollard collection; Los Angeles, California, USA

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Age wear to bronze and enamel cloisonne, though details are still vivid. Losses to interior rim and one loss to lower corner of one 'foot'. Deposits visible on backside of two feet.

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Japanese Edo Bronze / Cloisonne Samurai Helmet Urn

Auction ended on Thu, Sep 14, 2017
Estimate $8,000 - $12,000
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