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On point: The 4th Annual Arts of the Samurai Auction set to engulf Bonhams New York
A fine "Dutch leather" honkozane blue laced armor for a Daimyo. Edo period (early 18th century), the helmet by Myochin Nagamichi (est. $55,000 – $65,000). Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams.


NEW YORK, NY.- Bonhams presents a selection of masterfully crafted suits of armor, fanciful iron helmets and impossibly long swords, in the auction of The Arts of the Samurai to be held on October 27 at the New York galleries located at Madison Avenue at 56th Street.

Featured is a suit of armor created for a high-ranking Samurai (est. $55,000 – $65,000). Decorated in gilded leather and worked to resemble imported “Dutch leather” the spectacular armor underscores the fascination among the military elite with exotic foreign fabrics. All of the components on the suit have been covered in the gilt-tooled leather and then meticulously laced together, a remarkably labor-intensive process. Only a warrior of considerable wealth could even imagine commissioning such a suit.

An impressive 16th century inlaid-iron helmet by Yoshimichi, (est. $18,000 – 25,000) is a highlight from the selection of fine helmets in the auction. The heavy helmet is constructed of 12 vertical plates fastened with large exposed rivets. The entire surface of the helmet is decorated with scrolling vines, leaves and confronted dragons holding flaming jewels in gold and silver.

The extensive selection of swords is led by an extremely long and impressive sword (nagamaki) (est. $100,000-150,000) reputed to have been in the collection of Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543-1616), the great Shogun and unifier of medieval Japan. Measuring 38 5/8 inches in length (cutting edge only) this massive sword would have required an assistant to draw it from its scabbard.

For the more faint of heart is an attractive wool felt surcoat (jinbaori) (est. $1,200 – 1,800) with large flared sleeves and colored with an uncharacteristically bright yellow shade. The bold design of Mount Fuji depicts a rather modern-looking illustration of the mountain with rising smoke and stylized rain drops in yellow, white and black.





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