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Kabuto And Mempo Any Info Please.


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#1 shakudo

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Posted 13 August 2016 - 09:11 AM

Hi All,My name is Mike. Havent done this before so apologies to Admin if in wrong area or I'm showing  how inept I am at using a computer- quite amazed I have attached files really!

I have the opportunity of purchasing these items but at present I am unsure as to whether they are original or repo. They have been held by same owner for 25 years and is now down sizing.

Any information at all would be most appreciated as I am way out of my depth. Alot to ask I know but maybe even a monetary guide line would be greatlyappreciated by PM.

Thanks to all members and Admin for this Forum.

Regards Mike

ps. not my pics- just love the bluey!

 

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#2 IanB

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Posted 13 August 2016 - 11:13 AM

Mike,  Both are absolutely real and very good, but do need a heck of a lot of TLC. The helmet bowl is older than the shikoro (neck guard) and looks from the photos as if it might be late Muromachi. Re-using an older helmet bowl is perfectly normal. The crest holder has been bent forward and might be cracked, but the major work would be to repair the stencilled leathers. It all needs a general clean. The mask is I'm afraid pretty shot. It would be possible to consolidate the remaining lacquer and keep it as it is, but in reality it needs re-lacquering and a new tare making to match the shikoro. So a very nice helmet that could be brought back and would look superb, but only by someone who has access to the right materials and knows what they are doing. Oh, and the hair -ugh.

Ian Bottomley


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#3 shakudo

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Posted 13 August 2016 - 11:32 AM

Hi Ian, Many thanks for your reply,unbelievable I have a book of yours, never in my wildest...thank you so much!

I am definetely going to make an offer on these but unfortunately he is asking me to make an offer??

 Now that I know they are real I will research late Muromachi and try to get an idea of an amount.

If successful I would like both restored and maybe you could recommend someone.

Thank you once again

Mike.


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#4 estcrh

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Posted 13 August 2016 - 12:24 PM

Hi All,My name is Mike. Havent done this before so apologies to Admin if in wrong area or I'm showing  how inept I am at using a computer- quite amazed I have attached files really!

I have the opportunity of purchasing these items but at present I am unsure as to whether they are original or repo. They have been held by same owner for 25 years and is now down sizing.

Any information at all would be most appreciated as I am way out of my depth. Alot to ask I know but maybe even a monetary guide line would be greatlyappreciated by PM.

Thanks to all members and Admin for this Forum.

Regards Mike

ps. not my pics- just love the bluey!

Mike, this helmet has some problems which can be quite expensive to fix if done properly. There is lacing with seems to be falling apart, the leather needs to be replaced and there is at least one crack in the lacquer of the helmet bowl. You need more images in order to see if there are any other problems, you also have to find out if the helmet is iron or rawhide, a magnet would tell this. As for price, since you said that you are "way out of your depth" I would not attempt to make an offer, the owner should come up with a price. I would not rush into buying any Japanese armor unless the price is low enough to compensate for any restoration work which as I said will be expensive. There are a LOT of nice Japanese armor items for sale that do not need any repairs so take your time and do some research.

9ed7c90db7c50ad61b3a2ca9381edcc1.jpg


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#5 shakudo

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Posted 13 August 2016 - 12:48 PM

Hi Eric,

Many thanks for your reply and I see what your saying. Repairs will be expensive if I'm succesful, but as I haven't done any research yet I wont be making any offer yet. I agree the seller should at least set a price but unfortunately after 2 years that still hasnt happened.Any guess on a $ value for a full restoration? I have no idea! I collect swords, can get my head around the cost of polishing in Japan but kabuto restoration ....no way! Thank you once again and any advice you can give on restoration would be most appreciated. Regards Mike.


Mike

#6 uwe

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Posted 13 August 2016 - 05:34 PM

Hi Mike,
there are some knowledgeable restorers over there in Europe. For example, Dave Thatcher, Robert Soans, ZĂ©non van Damme...etc. They can tell you about the costs for restoration. It is not that often, a quality Muromachi bowl appeared on the market (even if remounted). Everything depends on "your love" and your budget :-)
Regards
Uwe
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Uwe Sacklowski

#7 Shogun8

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Posted 13 August 2016 - 07:06 PM

Hi Mike,

 

As has already been stated, this is a very good kabuto and the very fact that it is a quality piece from the Muromachi is quite rare. Some of the damage (such as cracks to the lacquer) can be acceptable depending upon your taste, sensibility and attitude towards conservation and restoration. Many conservative collectors may even choose to leave as is. For me, I agree with Ian - restore/replace the stencilled leathers and fix the haraidate (crest holder) and clean up the urushi. I don't think you have to spend a fortune on it and if you get it for a decent price, it will become even more saleable in the future if you do this work. Ultimately, it's a very nice kabuto from the Sengoku period that any collector would be happy to have in their collection. The menpo is also very nice but in terrible condition and would cost quite a bit to restore fully (and unlike the kabuto, this needs a full restoration - urushi, moustache, new tare). I would treat this almost as a throw-in when you negotiate with the owner.

 

John


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#8 uwe

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Posted 13 August 2016 - 07:38 PM

As a side note, the men would be worth the efforts!
Uwe Sacklowski

#9 estcrh

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Posted 13 August 2016 - 10:38 PM

I agree with Ian - restore/replace the stencilled leathers and fix the haraidate (crest holder) and clean up the urushi.

You forgot to mention the lacing that needs replacing, also without getting more detailed images you can not rule out other unseen damage. As for expense, when done properly using materials and techniques that are of the highest quality this is never cheap. You can relate this to what it costs and the time it takes to have a Japanese sword properly restored by a highly skilled polisher and there are more highly trained Japanese sword polishers than highly trained Japanese armor restorers.



#10 Shogun8

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Posted 14 August 2016 - 02:34 PM

You forgot to mention the lacing that needs replacing, also without getting more detailed images you can not rule out other unseen damage. As for expense, when done properly using materials and techniques that are of the highest quality this is never cheap. You can relate this to what it costs and the time it takes to have a Japanese sword properly restored by a highly skilled polisher and there are more highly trained Japanese sword polishers than highly trained Japanese armor restorers.

Relatively speaking, there doesn't seem to be that much damaged lacing (if it's just the two broken strands that are shown in the pic). If it were mine, I could live with it. However, if it's going in for restoration anyway, then I would definitely get these fixed (I don't think the entire thing has to be re-laced, but as you rightfully say, better pics and in-person assessment is required).


John - Always learning.


#11 Jesper

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Posted 14 August 2016 - 07:36 PM

Very nice Kabuto.

I am also of the opinion that a few broken strands should not mandate a complete re-lacing. Some collectors prefer pieces in perfect condition, but I actually prefer some minor damage instead of a perfectly restored piece with new lacing. It  is however at the end of course a question of personal preferences, but remember we are dealing with antiques. The less we alter, the better.

 

Jesper


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#12 estcrh

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Posted 15 August 2016 - 01:52 AM

some of the damage (such as cracks to the lacquer) can be acceptable depending upon your taste, sensibility and attitude towards conservation and restoration. Many conservative collectors may even choose to leave as is. For me, I agree with Ian - restore/replace the stencilled leathers and fix the haraidate (crest holder) and clean up the urushi.
 
Relatively speaking, there doesn't seem to be that much damaged lacing (if it's just the two broken strands that are shown in the pic). If it were mine, I could live with it. However, if it's going in for restoration anyway, then I would definitely get these fixed (I don't think the entire thing has to be re-laced, but as you rightfully say, better pics and in-person assessment is required).

 

Very nice Kabuto.
I am also of the opinion that a few broken strands should not mandate a complete re-lacing. Some collectors prefer pieces in perfect condition, but I actually prefer some minor damage instead of a perfectly restored piece with new lacing. It  is however at the end of course a question of personal preferences, but remember we are dealing with antiques. The less we alter, the better.

If you are going to clean / polish the lacquer on the helmet bowl and replace the old leather with new leather but at the same time leave the old, frayed, faded, deteriorating lacing and an uncleaned /  unpolished shikoro you would in my opinion have an unbalanced look.
 
Everyone has their own opinion as to how far to go with restoration / conservation and I am not suggesting that you strip the old lacquer off but lacing was made to be replace and it was regularly replaced. If the helmet is of a high quality the work done should have a balanced look. The shikoro lacquer also has many cracks which would have to be looked at as well.
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#13 shakudo

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Posted 15 August 2016 - 12:12 PM

Hi All,

Many thanks for all the comments and apologies for not replying earlier.

I agree with all the comments on restoration of both the kabuto and mempo, only what is needed but also a visual balance with lacing and urushi. Im hoping to just polish urushi but lacing could be interesting as I havent seen kabuto in hand.

Contacted seller and have discovered that the armour is still around even after being in a fire! Cant wait to see what is there and when i can I will upload some pics for more advice.

Thanks to Ian, John, Uwe and Eric for your expertise and guidance and hope you comment on pics of the armour- owner was advised it was repo so ignored it, been in garage for 25 years!!! Go figure.

Best regards Mike.


Mike

#14 IanB

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Posted 15 August 2016 - 12:47 PM

Mike, Have faith. My first armour was rescued from under a pile of garden rubbish where it had lain about 5 years, It was in a dreadful state but to me it was a treasure.

Ian Bottomley


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#15 Shogun8

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Posted 15 August 2016 - 07:45 PM

Eric,

 

Some of the comments attributed to me in post #12 (last paragraph) were actually made by Jesper.

 

John


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