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Another really rare armor, the kusari dou.


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Must say I agree with Tom on this one.

 

Eric, will post close ups as soon as my scanner is operational again :)

 

What makes you think the unusual mail pattern (clearly European mail style with rings of 5) was not a later addition ? It seems to me it was since it is butted and not riveted mail.

 

KM

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What makes you think the unusual mail pattern (clearly European mail style with rings of 5) was not a later addition ? It seems to me it was since it is butted and not riveted mail.

 

KM

Henk, the majority of kusari was butted or a combination of butted and twisted links, I have hundreds of images of different kusari items and they all utilize butted kusari to some extent while images of riveted kusari is quite rare although it was manufactured and used.

 

Wikipedia article on kusari.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kusari_(Japanese_mail_armour)

 

Wikipedia commons kusari images.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Kusari_(Japanese_mail_armour)

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I see Eric. I always had the impression that Japanese mail did not use the typically western 5 ring method but had its rings connected with smaller metal loops like the ones on my Kote.

 

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hitoye-gusari.gif

 

That is why i called the different looking mail patches on the image you posted European style :

 

FZCSAQ8F2ZL53DX.MEDIUM.jpg

 

See also :

 

http://www.artofchainmail.com/patterns

 

Mail is widely studied, made and used these days by re-enactors.

 

KM

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Yes I see now ! :)

 

Clearly different way of interlocking the rings :)

 

Great close up Eric !

 

KM

Henk, I am having trouble figuring out exactly what the difference is, any ideas, some how the person who made this was able to tighten up the links until they almost stand up, do you know anyone who makes mail for re-enactment, maybe a person who does this sort of thing would have a better idea on how it was done. To the eye these links look completely black.

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I think it depends on the textile backing to which they are fastened. If removed they would expand into the more common look of non-backed maile. John

 

Oh, I think I mentioned it in other threads, but, butted maile is cheap protection. Good for slashing weapons and totally unsuited for piercing weapons, arrows, spear or narrow bladed point strikes, not to mention musket balls or blunt force. Many Japanese chain or chain and bar armours have this flaw.

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Eric, got a bit confused since now it looks like European butted style again. Probably mistook the way the rings are linked.

 

Here are some variants of mail on my own gusoku's Kote and Suneate so you see what I mean by different linkages :

 

SAM_1799.jpg

 

SAM_1801.jpg

 

By the way, riveted mail is far stronger against piercing weapons as butted mail.

 

The triangular shapes of yari are especially devised to pierce armor and mail, as well as for instance the tips of most ancient Roman daggers (Pugiones) that are found were shaped in a diamond form :

 

th_SAM_1804.jpgth_SAM_1802.jpgth_SAM_1803.jpg

 

 

 

.

By the way, would the slightly diamond shape of most kissaki when viewd from the mune have the same idea behind it ?

 

DSCF1281.jpg

 

 

KM

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I think it depends on the textile backing to which they are fastened. If removed they would expand into the more common look of non-backed maile. John

 

Oh, I think I mentioned it in other threads, but, butted maile is cheap protection. Good for slashing weapons and totally unsuited for piercing weapons, arrows, spear or narrow bladed point strikes, not to mention musket balls or blunt force. Many Japanese chain or chain and bar armours have this flaw.

John, to be fair even riveted mail was of no use against musket balls and blunt force weapons. I have posted some more images of this unusual kusari, even the areas were the kusari is no longer sewn down the links are way closer than 4 in 1 mail, after close examination it seems that this is an example of 8 in 1 mail or one link passing through four links on either side, any opinions? When you view 8 in 1 and 4 in 1 side by side the difference is quite evident.

 

The artofchainmail.com has a good quide on how 8 in 1 mail is made. http://artofchainmail.com/patterns/euro ... c1in8.html

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Eric, the 1 in 8 idea is a sound one imho.

 

Not having the mail in hand it is more difficult to assess, but your last photos surely point in that direction.

 

KM

 

PS: Indeed mail is no match for blunt force trauma as well as musket balls, as this Wiki article explains :

 

Mail armour provided an effective defence against slashing blows by an edged weapon and penetration by thrusting and piercing weapons; in fact a study conducted at the Royal Armouries at Leeds concluded that "it is almost impossible to penetrate using any conventional medieval weapon" Generally speaking, mail's resistance to weapons is determined by four factors: linkage type (riveted, butted, or welded), material used (iron versus bronze or steel), weave density (a tighter weave needs a thinner weapon to surpass), and ring thickness (generally ranging from 18 to 14 gauge in most examples). Mail, if a warrior could afford it, provided a significant advantage to a warrior when combined with competent fighting techniques. When the mail was not riveted, a well placed thrust from a spear or thin sword could penetrate, and a pollaxe or halberd blow could break through the armour. Some evidence indicates that during armoured combat the intention was to actually get around the armour rather than through it—according to a study of skeletons found in Visby, Sweden, a majority of the skeletons showed wounds on less well protected legs.

 

The flexibility of mail meant that a blow would often injure the wearer, potentially causing serious bruising or fractures, and it was a poor defence against head trauma. Mail-clad warriors typically wore separate rigid helms over their mail coifs for head protection. Likewise, blunt weapons such as maces and warhammers could harm the wearer by their impact without penetrating the armour; usually a soft armour, such as gambeson, was worn under the hauberk. Medieval surgeons were very well capable of setting and caring for bone fractures resulting from blunt weapons. With the poor understanding of hygiene however, cuts that could get infected were much more of a problem. Thus mail armour proved to be sufficient protection in most situations.

 

Whether or not the mail kusari would be worn underneath regular armor like a gambaison I dont know, but it might have been. (In the Netherlands we still call it "Wambuis")

 

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Henk-Jan, Beware of what you read on the internet. Indian mail was not butted until the 19th century. Prior to that they were making mail that was not only riveted but with links that were swaged to a triangular cross section that made European mail look like the work of amateurs. This early Indian mail invariably has alternate rows welded and has different sized links for different parts of the garment - heaviest on the chest, plates over the lower abdomen and smallest links at the ends of the sleeves. Why put the plates there? I will let you work that one out. Two of the mail and plate coats in the Royal Armouries' collection have the welded links crossed by a central bar (the so-called theta mail) whose links are less than 1/4" diameter, yet the joining links are riveted.

There is a cult out there for people to play with different linking systems, non of which were ever used in the past. The good old 4 in 1 being universal except for Japanese mail.

Ian Bottomley

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Thank you very much for pointing that out to me Ian.

 

It is true one should not take the information on Internet for granted, since it does never beat a scholarly book on a subject which has been researched thoroughly and following scholarly criteria. The mail I personally know most about is ancient Roman mail which in almost all cases was riveted.

 

The point I was trying to make was not so much about Indian armor, but more about the blunt force trauma.

 

I have edited the Wiki article in my post by removing the Indian reference.

 

KM

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Here is what the artofchainmail.com has to say about the use of 8 in 1 mail historically,

As far as I'm aware there is no historical basis for this pattern. Still, it makes a very nice, very stiff, heavy armour.
If this statement is true then the kusari dou gusoku that I previously posted and the kusari katabira with the 8 in 1 kusari on the shoulders are currently the only public images of 8 in 1 mail in actual use.
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  • 2 weeks later...

Eric, You are absolutely right - the kusari katabira has 8 in 1 mail which must be a first. Yet again it is proof, if any were needed, never to say never with Japanese armour. They were a really innovative lot those Japanese armourers, perfectly willing to give everything a go. It is interesting how it has been used down the outside of the arms, that part most likely to receive a heavy blow. The nearest the Europeans came to this was to use 4 in 1 but to greatly enlarge the flattened area so that it filled the gaps so to speak. There was also a Tudor period peascod jerkin in the Peter Parson collection that used metal discs with a small hole in the centre linked by regular riveted links. This produced a very dense structure but as far as I know was unique. It is possible that there have been other experimental mails in the past, but its tendency to rust and decay means we only have a tiny survival to base our judgements on.

Ian Bottomley

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Hello folks,

under the heading of Tatami......my new acquisition :)

 

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Dealing with this one, two questions occurred to me.

1. When Tatami-armors came in fashion (use).......during the time of the "traveling Daimyos" ?

2. How were they stored......... hitsu boxes?

I was very astonished as I noticed, that I nearly know nothing about the subject :oops:

So any help would be much appreciated :!:

 

Uwe

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Dealing with this one, two questions occurred to me.

1. When Tatami-armors came in fashion (use).......during the time of the "traveling Daimyos" ?

2. How were they stored......... hitsu boxes?

I was very astonished as I noticed, that I nearly know nothing about the subject :oops:

So any help would be much appreciated :!:

 

Uwe

Anthony any images you have would be nice, especially the kikko one as there are not many images of this type online.

 

Uwe you have found a great looking armor, with gyoyo, original matching leather edging and unusual suspension cords, please post some more images if you have them. It is unfortunate that almost all discussion about Japanese armor centers on what is seen by most people as traditional armor and the other types receive almost no mention in most books and exhibits etc. I have spent years trying to glean any information on the subject from the well known English sources but there is not much to go on including when and were this type of armor originated. The ability for Japanese people to sell antique armor directly online has added a lot of knowledge and images of other types of armor. I have purchased a few tatami armors that came in traditional yoroi hitsu but I do not know if they were the original boxs. I have also seen some smaller, lower hitsu which may be for this type of armor.

 

Anthony Bryant says this about tatami armors in his book titled Samurai 1550-1600.

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Anthony, I`m pleased that you like it. Bought it from a kinsman of you ;)

 

Eric, thanks a lot for your comment. Indeed there are very little information out there. Maybe Ian is able to bring some light in the dark. Yep, the watagami cords are quite special, they are covered with the same leather as the edging of the do and kusazuri. The armor is under restoration this time (I get some help from a friend), so I can take the pics not until next week. What do you think about the chrysanths? Only embellishments, or mon?

Cheers

Uwe

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Uwe, I'm afraid I cannot contribute much. We can all speculate as to why these armours were made and come up with all manner of reasons. Here are a few thoughts:

The common black lacquered ones made of simple plates joined by mail and sewn onto hemp may have been a variety of common soldier's armour. They would have had the advantages that large numbers of them could be stored flat and they would fit almost anyone.

There was one in the William A. Galeno collection, of hexagonal plates, red lacquered and with the characteristic maedate used by the Ii family. It had what I am sure was its original box about 3/4 the size of a normal gusoku bitsu. This was a relatively good quality armour and certainly not made for a common soldier. Similarly, that last one you illustrate with the russet embossed plates has taken a great deal of time and effort to produce and must have been a costly production. I am slowly coming around to the idea that perhaps the main reason for their adoption by the higher ranks was rather banal. Perhaps it was because they were easy to store and far more comfortable to wear than a normal armour.

Incidentally, I recently acquired an armour with same type of lacquered leather covered takahimo as your armour. Unfortunately, some destructive little insects had worked their magic and all that remained were the hollow outer coverings that fragmented when touched. I have preserved a section with the armour but sadly have had to replace them.

Ian Bottomley

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Eric, I hoped secretly you say so :D But the few I found do not match exactly :doubt:

 

post-77-14196851632585_thumb.jpg

 

....as you can see.

 

Ian, :shock: I actually thought that it was my own knowledge gap. I don`t expect that in case of tatami-armor obviously so little is known at all. Where to begin with the necessary research?

Well, back to my armor. The karuta plates are not embossed. The chrysanths rather riveted to the plates and every single plate is marked on the back with a kanji in red lacquer. I assume it`s for the final position in the "arrangement". However, I`ll take some pics next week, because there are still other questions pending. Apart from that, I would like to see some pics from your armor too ;)

 

Cheers

Uwe

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Hello!

 

Eric this is the second time picture of the tatami dou with the green fabric shows up on the forum, I think you were the culprit last time to. :)

That dou still haunts me since the day it was sold on E-bay to Holland for $650.

My intenet conection broke down 5 sek before I was going to bid :bang: . (this was before I found Gixen).

I have tried 3 times to get in contact with the buyer to no avail.

I will not sleep tonight......

 

Regards,

 

Anthony

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