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Tanko Cuirass

Tanko Cuirass

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Dō: A brief history of the Japanese cuirass

The , the cuirass of samurai armor, underwent many changes over the centuries, gradually adapting to innovations in the battlefield some of the key ideas, however, persisted for centuries in the minds of Japanese armorers and already in the tanko, the first known model of armor, we can find, at an early stage, the archetypes on which the armor would be built during the following centuries: metal plates, rivets and bindings.

Towards the tenth century, during the Japanese Middle Ages, the advent of new techniques in the art of war forced the armor makers to modify some parts of the suit of armor. With the arrival of horse-riding archers, a new armor was created, the ō-yoroi, equipped with more reliable and effective protections made with a new type of construction. It is in this period that we see the introduction of the hon-kozane system, a complicated but efficient method for lacing plenty of small metal plates together: the result was a flexible, but at the same time resistant, cuirass. The of the ō-yoroi was made in a single element but it did not cover the whole torso and was therefore combined with another element, the waidate, a large plate that completely protected the samurai's right side. Since most of the fighting in this period took place using bows and arrows, the of the ō-yoroi was generally covered with a decorated leather covering (tsurubashiri), so that the bowstring would not get stuck in the weft of the platelets.

After the attempted Mongol invasions of the 14th century, Japanese armorers had to adapt the armor to the new military requirements. Noting that the Mongol armies were efficiently fighting with infantry phalanxes and that their light armor was much more effective in foot combat, the Japanese armorers decided to update their construction techniques. The ō-yoroi was then modified to be worn on foot and not on horseback: the dōmaru and the haramaki have therefore a construction similar to the previous model but they are lighter - made with thinner plates - and allow more agile movements. Also these two types of armor were composed of a single flexible element, which could be fastened respectively on the side and on the back. The tsurubashiri was also left out, being now obsolete after the abandonment of bows and arrows.

With the beginning of the Sengoku era, in the 16th century a new type of samurai armor was finally established, called tōsei gusoku (literally "modern armor"). For this type of equipment, which will remain in use for the entire Edo period, different types of can be distinguished, depending on the construction. The most common are the following:

Samurai Armor – Daku Akuma Samurai Armour with Kabuto and Menpo

The most popular Haniwa excavated was wearing a Keiko armor. Keiko armor was designed for horsemen. They believe that the idea came from China by way of Korea. It was during the time that they were importing horses around Asia.

Keiko armor was made of plain steel or copper. The same with Tanko, they connect them with leather braids. The designs were very much the same as the Tanko, too. Since horsemen’s legs were more exposed, they added extra support for it.

So the full body armor has now begun to emerge. By the 7th century, scale armors are popular, and the Tanko became extinct.

Early Forms of the Samurai Suit

Kozane and Kebiki-odoshi are the first things we should understand before moving on with the next armor suit. As the armor suits developed and changed. The methodology, materials, and construction also did. Kozane pertains to the individual scales used. Most Kozane are made of pressed rawhide or iron and steel. Kebiki-odoshi is the process of connecting each scale.

The O-yoroi

By the 10th century, O-yoroi armors came next after the Keiko. It was specially designed for horsemen. At that time high-rank Samurai were cavalrymen and archers. It features a “C section” that encase the torso, the left side and the back. A different plate protects the right side. The whole cuirass extends to the waist and looks like a skirt. This protects up to the thighs. This portion is the Kusazuri.

First, the right side plate or Waidate is put on. Next, they put on the Do. The straps of the Do or Watagami are made of sturdy semi-rounded plates. This is to protect the Samurai from any vertical cut. They close the Do with Kohaze or buttons attached to the Watagami. The Kohaze are either ivory, hardwood or from a horn. They rivet a copper ring at the back to tie a silk braid to it. This is for the Sode to connect to.

The cuirass or Do is an essential part of an armor. A Tsurubashiri looks like a mantle covering the front section of the Do. It is there to prevent damaging the bow-string as the archers pull their bow. The armpits are covered with a movable part attached to the Sode. The Sode serves as a shield, so they connect them with a complicated system of silk and leather cords.

The Do-maru

If the high-rank Samurai have the O-yoroi, the retainers have the Do-maru. Do-maru means around the body. They wear this cuirass around the torso. The right and left-most edges meet towards the right side of the body. Then two cords secure the Do. This particular armor does not have Sode. Instead, there are two small plates called Gyoyo which they lace to the Watagami.

By the 13th century, the Do-maru and O-yoroi designs were combined, improved or changed. When some Samurai favored the Do-maru, they developed it and became Haramaki. The decoration tells you how high or low the Samurai’s rank is.

The Sode replaces the Gyoyo, and soon they improved the other parts, too. Later they invented a hybrid called Maru-do Yoroi. It had a Do-maru with a multi-section Kusazuri. But the front of the Do and the shoulder guards were from O-yoroi.

Soon, in the 15th century, they introduced Haraate. Haraate means protection of the abdomen. Thus, this Do includes protecting the stomach area. Together with it, they created a new shoulder guard, too. Later as the armors change, they name them according to the size and number of Kozane used.

The Modern Armor Suits

Types of dou (dō) [ edit | edit source ]

The type of dou (dō) that originally came with a matched suit of samurai armour defined the name for that particular suit of armour, for example, a suit of armour that came with a hotoke dou (dō) would be called a hotoke dou (dō) gusoku, a suit of armour that came with a karuta tatami dou (dō) would be called a karuta tatami dou (dō) gusoku.

Kozane dou (dō) [ edit | edit source ]

True kozane dou (dō) are of lamellar construction using individual scales known as kozane, they were old fashioned armours used before the introduction of firearms in Japanese warfare, (pre-Sengoku styles) ⎗] ⎘]

Use of the skin

Every metal plate was coveredsmoked thick skin. For each outfit, several pieces were made from it, the largest of which covered the entire front part of the warrior's torso. Such a measure was necessary for the convenience of shooting. When using a bow, the bowstring slid over the armor. The skin did not allow her to touch the protruding plates. Such an accident could have been worth a lot during the battle.

The pieces of leather that covered samuraiarmor, stained with a stencil. Most often used contrasting blue and red colors. In the Heian period (VIII-XII centuries), drawings could depict geometric (rhombuses) and heraldic (lions) figures. Floral ornaments were also common. During the periods of Kamakura (XII-XIV centuries) and Nambokute (XIV century), Buddhist images and drawings of dragons began to appear. In addition, geometric figures disappeared.

Another example of how evolvedarmor of a samurai, can serve as a breastplate. In the Heian period, their upper edge acquired an elegant curved shape. Each such metal plate was decorated with copper plated overlays of different shapes (for example, a silhouette of a chrysanthemum could be depicted).

Workers Paving a Japanese Road Unearth Remarkable 1,500-Year-Old Armor and Sword

Could you imagine? You are tired after working for hours on fixing a roadway when you suddenly find a strange slab of stone. This gives you a jolt of energy and you call a coworker over. Together you dig away furiously to see what the stone belongs to. Eventually you reveal a stone coffin. Curiosity peaked and a hint of the possibility of treasure lead you to slowly lift open the lid…inside you find a well-preserved set of weapons and some really old armor. Time to call an archaeologist in!

This may be something like how workers paving a road in the Osumi region in the eastern Kagoshima Prefecture of Japan stumbled upon a 1,500-year-old tunnel tomb. The Asahi Shimbun reports that a pumice stone coffin, well-preserved armor, and human remains were unearthed by laborers this past December. This type of tomb is only found in the southern Kyushu region.

Tatsuya Hashimoto, a professor of archaeology at the Kagoshima University Museum, suggested to the Asahi Shuimbun that the style of the armor lends itself to having been owned by an elite who lived during the Kofun (ancient tomb culture) period. Hashimoto said, “It was likely built for a powerful leader in the local region who was directly connected with the Yamato imperial court.”

The Yamato imperial court was based out of modern-day Nara Prefecture and had strong immigration and diplomatic ties with Korea and China. According to New World Encyclopedia , this was a rich cultural time when “A system of writing was adopted, power was centralized, society became stratified and a government administration was set up based on the Chinese model. Buddhism, officially introduced in 552, was dominant by 600, and many temples were constructed.”

Clay horse statuette, complete with saddle and stirrups. A haniwa, from the Kofun period (6th century) in the history of Japan. ( Public Domain )

Kofun tombs are the most famous element of the Kofun age. The iconic earthen mounds were originally built for elite members of society, however commoners began to have their burials in the sculpted hills by the end of the Kofun period.

Daisen-kofun in Sakai, Osaka, Japan. This is one of the largest tombs in the world. ( Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism )

The grave found in the Osumi region has been dated to the late 3rd to 4th centuries and is regarded as one of the largest tunnel tombs discovered in the area so far. The vertical shaft measures 2.6 meters (8’6 ft.) long, 1.8 meters (6 ft.) wide, and 1.6 meters (5’3 ft.) deep. The chamber which held the coffin is also 2.6 meters (8’6 ft.) long, but measures 1.9 meters (6’3 ft.) wide, and only 90 cm (3ft.) deep.

The stone coffin measures 2.4 meters (7’10 ft.) long and contained the remains of a 1.7 meter (5’7 ft.) tall adult male. More than 20 grave goods were discovered, including a sword, its scabbard, an iron arrowhead, iron axe, and a spear. An immaculately-preserved tankō was also placed alongside the coffin.

A Japanese iron plates and leather tankō cuirass. Nagatoronishi Tumulus, Takasaki-shi, Gunma. Kofun period. (James Blake Wiener/ CC BY NC SA )

The Met provides a description of the Japanese armor called a tankō, stating that it is “is constructed entirely of horizontal iron plates joined by rivets. The tankō's rigid cuirass, shaped to the body, is higher in the back and opens at the center front.” The right front panel of a tankō “is hinged at the side to admit the body. The complete tankō would have included the helmet of plate with a deep neck guard, neckplates, shoulderplates, arm guards, and a deep skirt.”

Top Image: A cuirass known as a “tanko” and preserved in excellent condition, and a stone coffin, left, have been unearthed in Shibushi, Kagoshima Prefecture. Source: Shibushi city education board


Alicia McDermott holds degrees in Anthropology, Psychology, and International Development Studies and has worked in various fields such as education, anthropology, and tourism. Ever since she was a child Alicia has had a passion for writing and she has written. Read More


The earliest surviving examples of Japanese armor are those artifacts excavated from the great tumuli dating to the fifth century A.D. Remarkably complete armor and richly adorned arms together with clay tomb figurines, known as haniwa, depicting fully equipped warriors, provide a rather clear image of the armor from that period. These items prove that the people of Japan manufactured armor from metal. However, it should be noted that the production of armor in general, notably helmets and other protective coverings made of hides and woven vines, no doubt predates that age. Unfortunately, it is impossible to know how this ancient armor made of perishable organic materials looked.

Armor dating form the fifth century is generally classified into two types. The first is called keikô and it consists of small iron plates bound together with tanned leather thongs or cords, and is in the tradition of armor worn by mounted warriors of the Asian continent. Like other elements of the continental culture that reached Japan, this kind of armor was altered and adapted by the Japanese to suit their needs and tastes. The second type, called tankô, was a breastplate like those of the ancient Greek and Roman armor, but once again adjusted to Japanese needs and preferences.

With frequent alterations and improvements, these two types of armor continued to be used until the tenth century. By the eighth century or so, however, the battle usage of the iron plate keikô ceased and was it relegated instead to ceremonial use by the imperial court. Highly intricate, fragile, and rather heavy, keikô made up of eight hundred or so small iron plates was replaced during this time by another lighter version better suited for battle.

It was around the eighth or ninth century when Japan was finally more or less unified under a single and centralized government system. Records from this early time show that there were already certain codes designed to regulate the possession of suits of armor. In fact, privately holding such suits was prohibited and all suits of armor were declared to be the property of the government. Agents of the central government became the only legal manufacturers of armor. Standard samples of the desired design, called tameshi were sent out to each province along with the central government’s order. A certain number of copies would be made, according to the order, and these were then sent back to the government as a form of taxation payment.

In about the tenth century, two new styles of armor emerged that replaced earlier keikô and tankô types of armor. The first was called the yoroi or O-yoroi. The yoroi was designed in response to the needs of the mounted warrior who battled with bow and arrow. This type of armor was made from rectangular leather or metal plates called sane. They were approximately 1.5 by 3.25 inches and were laced together with either leather or silk cords (odoshi). Four sections protected the torso. Three of the sections comprised the kabukidô and were joined to form the front, back, and left side protection. The right side was protected by an oblong piece called the tsuboita that was joined to the other three. The wearer’s thighs were protected by the four sections of the kusazuri that was formed of sheets of laced plates hung from a leather band affixed to the bottom of the tsuboita. The warrior’s shoulders were protected by oblong sheets called ôsode. These were formed of six or seven rows of laced together plates (sane).

The lighter dômaru, so-called because it enclosed the trunk of the body () in a round (maru) form, was the type of armor that was used by warriors requiring greater freedom of movement on the ground. In older sources, the dômaru is referred to as a haramaki, a term in use today that means “belly wrapping”. Today we differentiate between these two types of armor primarily by the way they were donned. The position of the opening (hikiawase) whereby the armor could be put on for use was different. Those with the opening down the right side are known as dômaru, and those with the opening in the back are called haramaki. The dômaru and haramaki were the first light body armor for infantry. During the Muromachi era, they came to be used with helmets and shoulder guards in the place of ô-yoroi by military commanders. The main armor parts consisting of the chest and abdomen protection only was worn by the low-class warriors.

Through the battles of the twelfth through fourteenth century, the manufacture of yoroi and dômaru were gradually improved and refined. Eventually, however, the heavier yoroi was replaced by a combination of dômaru and kabuto (helmet). By the fifteenth and sixteenth century, only high-ranking warriors with a proclivity for majestic display wore yoroi, the rest of the warriors preferred the lighter and more mobile style of armor.

The development of the Japanese kabuto (helmet) parallels the evolution of the traditional laminated body armor. The earliest helmets are of Mongolian shape they are rounded and conical in form and built of vertical plates surmounted by an inverted semi-spherical cup.

A new kind of armor and helmet appeared in the sixteenth century. It was largely inspired by European styles that were introduced by the Portuguese, Spanish, and Dutch traders. During a period of more than a century of constant warfare known as the Sengoku Jidai, rapid improvements in the cuirass and helmet were demanded for greater ease of mobility, and for the enhancement of a leader’s image on the battlefields. The new armor was called tôsei-gusoku.

Helmets of the tenth and eleventh century consisted of a simple low bowl with a hole at the top for the warrior’s queue to pass through. The bowl, lined with leather and lacquered, was made up of eight to twelve plates. It was adorned with large conical rivet heads arranged in rows up the sides of the helmet bowl. A neck guard (shikoro) and lateral back turned flaps (fukigaeshi) were attached. A ring in the rear was for small flags to identify the warrior, and a heavy silk cord was used to tie the helmet under the chin. The front bore an ornament, usually an insignia or auspicious motif of some kind (maedate). Generals and high-ranking warriors, however, decorated the front of their helmets with hoe-shaped, horn-like attachments called kuwagata. Though their meaning is not clear, these kuwagata added majesty and distinction to the kabuto.

The most outstanding change in the armor of the sixteenth century, however, was the emergence of the kawari kabuto, literally “extraordinary helmets”. These unique designs were the expression of the new class of warriors, performing battles in large groups of mostly warriors on foot in open fields. In this often-confusing fighting situation, the warriors needed to distinguish their identity in some conspicuous fashion. Striking pieces of ornament thus began to appear on armor parts, specifically on the helmet. Such singularly unique, often odd, helmet forms continued to be produced throughout the Edo period until 1868.

Except for several religious rebellions that broke out in the seventeenth century, most notably the one known as the Shimabara Revolt, the military use of armor ended for all intents and purposes with the Osaka summer battle of 1615. It was at that time that the Tokugawa finalized the unification of Japan and put an end to the internal strife and warfare that plagued Japan for hundreds of years. As the nation then settled into the mainly peaceful centuries of Tokugawa rule, the aging armorers who has accumulated their great skill and knowledge during the high point of the Azuchi and Momoyama times in the late sixteenth century gradually passed away and were gone by around Meireki (1655-1657).

As the demand for armor waned, many former armor makers, especially those who made kabuto, turned to the manufacture of tsuba to eke out a living. While it is true that this had been the practice for some armors as far back as the Muromachi era, there is no doubt that the decline in the need for armor caused this practice to spread wider and wider among armor makers and, indeed, continued well into the Edo period. These tsuba are known as “katchu-shi tsuba” and they are greatly prized by collectors today as they were during the Edo period.

ART AND ARMOR, Samurai Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection: Yale University Press 2014

SPECTACULAR HELMETS OF JAPAN 16 th -19 th CENTURY: Nissha Printing Co. Ltd., Kyoto Japan



Japanese helmets called Kabuto. Its characteristic features were the large rivets and poluceaetsea the form of a cap. Samurai armor not only protected its wearer, they also had decorative value. Helmet in this sense was no exception. On the back surface of the copper ring, to which hung a bow of silk. For quite a while this accessory perform the function of a distinguishing mark on the battlefield. In the XVI century there was a banner attached to the back.

To the ring on the helmet could join the cloak. When driving fast on the horse, this Cape was waving like a sail. It was made from fabric deliberately bright colors. To helmet securely held on the head, the Japanese used a special chin straps.

History of the Samurai Armor

The basic armor was developed in Japan in the first half of the 4th century. The Japanese armor evolved from the armors that were used in China and Korea during those times.

Photo Credit: TodaysWhisper.com

The Samurai armor evolved from armors known as Tanko and Keiko. The first one was used by the foot soldiers and the second one was used by the cavalry. These were the armors which led to the manufacturing of samurai armor as we know today.

Initially, only basic cuirasses were developed in Japan along with the helmets. A cuirass is comprised of 2 pieces, that is, one piece protects the chest and another piece protects the back. Both of these pieces were attached together with the metal strips.

During the Heian period which dated from 794 to 1185, a large focus was put on evolving the armors to accommodate warfare at the time, which led to the samurai armor we are familiar with today. The use of leather and lacquer in samurai armor significantly increased during this period of time.

During the Heian period, the samurai armor was perfected and was extended to cover the entire body rather than just the upper torso.

For a long period of time only leather and iron strips were used to construct the armors but later on, the use of silk lace to connect the individual pieces of armor also became popular. The basic material to construct the armor, however, remained the same which was individual scales made from iron. These individual scales are also known as Kozane.

During the 16th century, however, the Samurai armor changed significantly due to the increasing Japanese trade with Europe.

The Portuguese introduced Tanegashima to the Japanese, which was a primitive form of firearm, due to which the Japanese armor manufacturers had to change the way in which they constructed samurai armor. The armors up until then were unable to protect samurai warriors from firearms, which necessitated the changes.

Instead of the iron strips which were being used earlier, now the samurai armor manufacturers started using iron and steel plates. These were necessary to produce bullet proof armors known as Tameshi gusoku. This enabled the samurai warriors to use the armor and stay protected even in the battles consisting of firearms.

Japan entered a peaceful period after the 1600s and thereafter the samurai armors were used a symbol of prestige and status instead of actual war armors.

Right up until 1877 these various armor types were being used in japan. Their last use in an actual act of war was in 1877 during the Satsuma Rebellion.

Finding Authentic Samurai Armor

Finding authentic samurai armor for sale can be a difficult task and if you do come across it due to the age of the armor it will be merely for viewing purposes only and best as a collectable item. SOTE does offer a few pieces of authentic samurai armor for sale, below are the armor types with links to their site for purchasing (if they’re still in stock) but keep in mind the fragility of these.

Authentic Samurai Armor from the Edo Period (1780)

Authentic Samurai Armor from the Edo Period (1780)


Galba római császár cuirass-t vett fel, még mielőtt halálba lépett volna. Suetonius 12 cézárban rögzíti, hogy "Amikor [Galba] áldozatokat áldozott a meggyilkolása előtti reggelen, egy jósnő újra és újra figyelmeztette, hogy vigyázzon, mert a merénylők nem voltak messze. Nem sokkal ezután megtudta, hogy Otho birtokában volt a tábor, és amikor többen azt tanácsolták neki, hogy minél hamarabb haladjon oda - mert azt mondták, hogy jelenlétével és presztízsével megnyerheti a napot - úgy döntött, hogy nem tesz többet, mint megtartja jelenlegi pozícióját, és megerősíti azzal összegyűjtötte a legionáriusok őrét, akik a város számos negyedében táboroztak. Ő azonban felvett egy vászon cuirass-t, bár nyíltan kijelentette, hogy ez kevés védelmet nyújt ennyi kard ellen. "

Az utóbbi része a 14. században a páncél fokozatosan lépnek általános használata kapcsán páncélzatban végtag-ig, zárásakor a század mail -ben megszűnt között a nemesek (pl lovagok ), kivéve a camail a bascinet és a szélén a páncéling . A cuirass-t szinte egész életében viselték, mint páncélt. A gömböcske formájában az anyatejjel páncélját Black Prince , az ő képmását a Canterbury Cathedral , 1376, sejteti, hogy a páncél (csakúgy, mint a páncéling) kell tekinteni, hogy nem fedik a royalty-címeres jupon (köpeny) a herceg.

A történelmi cuirass, a sok modern reprodukcióval ellentétben, nem nyugodott a csípőn. A történelmi cuirass általában valahol a középső vagy a köldök körül állt meg, hogy elegendő mozgásteret engedjen viselőjének. A deréknál végződő cuirass súlyosan korlátozná viselőjének előre, hátra vagy oldalra hajlásának képességét. Így a törzs többi részének megvédésére postai küldeményeket vagy fauldot használtak, az időtartamtól függően.

A 15. század elején a lemezpáncélt , beleértve a cuirass-t is , mindenféle kabát nélkül kezdték viselni de a század utolsó negyedében a rövid, teljes rövid ujjú, " tabard " néven ismert kabátot általában a páncél fölött használták. Míg a felöltőt fokozatosan kivonták, a különféle formájú és méretű kis lemezeket (és nem mindig párban készítették, azaz a kard karjának lemeze gyakran kisebb és könnyebb, mint a kéznél levő). páncél a vállak előtt, hogy megvédje az egyébként sérülékeny pontokat, ahol a lemezvédelem rést hagyott.

Körülbelül a közepén a 15. században, a mellvért a páncél-ben készült két részből az alsó rész úgy van beállítva, hogy átfedje a felsőt, és egy hevederrel vagy csúszó szegecsgel van együtt tartva annak érdekében, hogy rugalmasságot nyújtson a lemezpáncélzat előnyeivel szemben a postával szemben. A második felében a 15. században, a páncél időnként felülírta a brigandine kabát , a középkori elődje golyóálló mellényt . Lényegében a brigandine kabát szövetlemezbe varrott fémlemezekből készült. A szövet általában gazdag anyag volt, és egymást átfedő fémpikkelyekkel bélelték, amelyeket szegecsekkel rögzítettek a kabáthoz, és a fejük, mint a csapok, kívülről láthatók.

1550 körül a cuirass mellrészét függőleges középső gerinc jellemezte, amelyet tapulnak hívtak , középpontja közelében pedig egy kiugró pont volt. Valamivel később a tapul lejjebb került a mellen. Végül a lemez profilja kezdett hasonlítani a borsó hüvelyére, és mint ilyen, a borsó cuirass-ként emlegették. Az angol polgárháború idején csak a leggazdagabb és fizikailag a legerősebb férfiak engedhették meg maguknak ezt a páncélzatot.

A mell- és a hátsó darabokkal ellátott fűzőket a 17. században a gyalogos katonák viselték, míg felálló társaikat nehezebb és erősebb cuirassákkal látták el. Ezeket a védekezéseket tovább használták, mint bármely más páncélt. Használatuk soha nem szűnt meg, és a modern hadseregekben a cuirassierek , amelyek mell- és hátlemezekkel vannak felszerelve , hasonlóan a korábbi időkhöz , bizonyos fokig a középkori lovagság korának testpáncéljai harci pompait emulálták .

Mind a francia és a német nehéz lovasság viselt páncélokat a parádé vezető az I. világháború . A konfliktus korai szakaszában feketére festették cuirasséikat, és vászonvédő huzatot viseltek az új-római stílusú sisakok felett.

Néhány évvel Waterloo , bizonyos történelmi páncélokat vettünk a nyugalom, a Tower of London és adaptált ünnepi szolgáltatást a testőrség és a Blues és a Royals a brit hadsereg Háztartási lovassági .

Felvonulás céljából a Porosz Gardes du Corps és más hadtestek gazdagon díszített bőrből készült cuirassét viseltek. A Pápai Svájci Gárda továbbra is cuirasseket visel az eskütétel, karácsony és húsvét alkalmával.

A japán cuirass

A cuirasseket Japánban már a 4. században gyártották. A gyalogos katonák által viselt tankó és a lovasok által viselt keikō egyaránt szamuráj előtti típusú korai japán cuirass volt , amelyet bőr tanga összekötött vaslemezekből készítettek. A Heian-periódusban (794–1185) a japán páncélosok a bőrt kezdték anyagként és lakkként használni az időjárásállósághoz.

A Heian-korszak végére a japán cuirass megérkezett az ikonikus szamurájpáncél részeként elismert formára. Vas és bőr mérlegeket, amelyeket selyem csipke köt össze, használtak szamuráj páncélok készítéséhez. A lőfegyverek 1543-as bevezetése Japánba egy szilárd vaslemezekből készült cuirass kifejlesztését eredményezte. A szamuráj cuirass használata egészen az 1860-as évekig tartott, amikor létrehozták a hagyományos egyenruhát használó nemzeti hadsereget. A szamuráj páncélokat (és cuirasses) utoljára 1877-ben használták a szatuma lázadás során .

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