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Sotheby's To Offer Collection of Japanese Arms and Armor
Iron Namban Kawari Kabuto, 17th/18th century (est. $20/25,000). © Sotheby's Images.
NEW YORK.- On March 18th, 2008, Sotheby’s will offer a collection of Japanese arms and armor, comprised of approximately thirty pieces including complete suits, breastplates, helmets, masks and swords, a number of them signed by armorers, including the Saotome family. The pieces, which range in date from the late 16th to 19th centuries, were used during military battles. Acquired over the past two decades by a Private Collector, the offering is expected to bring in excess of $400,000* and will be included in the catalogue of Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art.

Sachiko Hori, specialist in Japanese art at Sotheby’s, said: “This is a very fine collection assembled by a person with great artistic sense and contains many exclusive Japanese elements. The group of helmets is superb and exhibits extraordinary shapes -- one can feel wit and humor of skillful armor makers.”

Highlighting the sale is a complete suit of armor (Tosei Gusoku), 17th century, consisting of a thirty-two plate suji bachi helmet bowl with a large, steep mabizashi (visor), an iron nimai okegawa do (cuirass), a pair of chu sode (shoulder guards), hyotan gote (arm guards), haidate (thigh guards) and suneatre (shin guards) (est. $40/50,000). Other suits on offer include the 17th century (Tosei Gusoku) (est. $35/45,000) and one with a 32 plate iron helmet from the 17th/18th century (pictured here, est. $25/35,000).

A Daisho sword (Wakizashi and Katana), 17th and 19th century, on a lacquer sword stand (Katanakake), signed Hizen Tadanori, decorated in the Tokugawa family crests on a nashiji ground with scrolling foliage (est. $16/20,000).

From the 19th century is a suit of armor with thirty-two ruset iron black lacquered suji bachi and a russet iron resseimen (mask) of prominent construction and a yadome (arrow protector) with gilt teeth, as well as a pair of chu sode (shoulder guards), Bishamon gote (arm guards), haidate (thigh guards) and suneatre (shin guards) (est. $30/40,000).

*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium



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