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Suit of armour

March 5, 2017

Suit of armour,



When I began looking at the suit of armour, I thought how can such beauty be portrayed with war? Yet with further research I found that diplomacy was used rather than fighting, so they would live in peace. From 1185 to 1868 Japan was ruled by warriors known as samurai. Their roles changed from fierce warriors to spiritual guides, yet the amour was ahead of time, when compared to European armour. Materials were accurately binded together to make the outfit mobile and give the warrior’s free movement, while still maintaining protection on close combat fighting, something the European outfit was so depraved at achieving. This is done though the precision of design, that can be seen throughout the outfit. Individual rings of chainmail are fixed to the patented silk jacket, the rope connecting the shoulders to the back. This design is to keep the outfit in place and the layers upon layers of uniform, make this final suit a piece of art. The complexity of the suit makes it hard for the warriors to dress, this is shown in ‘how to put on’ hanging scroll from the same era, this is stood behind the model.

The difference between this suit of armour with rest of the display, was the dragonfly situated on top of the helmet, which is a cultural meaning of never giving up. The helmet has an empty holder on each side for a crest. When on, a face mask decorated with monstrous features would scare the enemy’s away. It was often that dragonflies would be situated on clothing as a reminder, the reminder that art was important to the samurai fashion. The dragonfly being an important factor in the tradition of the samurai, and this can be seen around the whole collection at the V&A. The rich colours of green, red, gold and orange translate the room from left to right.

The level of detail throughout and materials used e.g. how decorated, colourful and layered the outfit would be, would reflect for a higher prestige. The production of materials in this era was time consuming. The outfit contains elements of Iron, gilded and painted copper, leather, lacquer and silk materials commonly used in the samurai period. The amour was created by combining small iron plates with cord through holes and then lacquer applied to them, this was for protection from the elements. This can be seen in the drawing I have sketched out. The armour was then placed under a surcoat, which was made from silk and heavily embodied. The helmet was made from both iron and bronze riveted plates, that were again combined by cords to produce large panels. The level of different craftsman’s ship in this jacket, and the amount of time put in to produce this one suit of amount, excels anything in this period. The amour Inspired the new US army monder flak jackets, backing up the point that the armour was way ahead of it times, changing the way we looked at protection and mobility. These fierce warriors were ‘spiritual Guides’ and this is reflected to how they were dressed like gods.


How was samurai armor made (2013) Available at: (Accessed: 2 March 2017).In-line Citation:(How was samurai armor made, 2013)

Poisuo, P. (2013) 10 fascinating facts about the samurai. Available at: (Accessed: 3 March 2017).In-line Citation:(Poisuo, 2013)


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