View full screen - View 1 of Lot 8. A suji-bachi [helmet with raised ridges] and mempo [face mask] | The helmet signed Saotome Ietsugu The mempo signed Neo Masanobu | Edo period, 17th century.
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A suji-bachi [helmet with raised ridges] and mempo [face mask] | The helmet signed Saotome Ietsugu The mempo signed Neo Masanobu | Edo period, 17th century

The Property of a European Collector

A suji-bachi [helmet with raised ridges] and mempo [face mask] | The helmet signed Saotome Ietsugu The mempo signed Neo Masanobu | Edo period, 17th century

A suji-bachi [helmet with raised ridges] and mempo [face mask] | The helmet signed Saotome Ietsugu The mempo signed Neo Masanobu | Edo period, 17th century

The Property of a European Collector

A suji-bachi [helmet with raised ridges] and mempo [face mask]

The helmet signed Saotome Ietsugu The mempo signed Neo Masanobu

Edo period, 17th century 


the sixty-two plate russet iron bowl with raised ridges, terminating in a three-stage tehen kanamono of typical chrysanthemum form, russet iron mabisashi [peak], shakudo fukurin, the large fukigaeshi [turnbacks] in stenciled linen and leather applied in copper with nanatsu boshi mon [Seven Luminaries crests], three-tiered black lacquer itamono manju-jikoro [rounded neck guard with solid plates] in kebiki odoshi [close-spaced lacing] in dark blue braid, the gold, black and red lacquered maedate [forecrest] in the form of a shakuchiho [tiger and fish chimera], large gold lacquered kuwagata wakidate [lateral crests in the form of stylised horns], russet iron ressei mempo [face mask with fierce expression] forged with deep wrinkles, flared nostrils and open mouth, detachable nose plate, inlaid silver moustache, red lacquer interior, four-tiered yodaregake [throat protector] with sugake odoshi [spaced-lacing] in blue braid, this lot is sold with a wood helmet stand as illustrated


The bowl to peak: 29 cm., 11⅜ in. 

The shikoro to peak: 38.5 cm., 15⅛ in. 

The mempo: 16 cm., 6¼ in.

The fine iron helmet bowl with minor wear and a few small nicks in the raised ridges, but overall in good condition, the black lacquer to the neck guard with some areas of restoration particularly around the edge attached to the bowl, the underside with some slight cracks to the tiers, the face mask with some slight surface wear and minor pitting from rust on one corner, some wear to the red lacquer to the interior, the forecrest with restoration to the red lacquer fins, the teeth replaced with composite resin, some where to gilt overall, the lacquered kuwagata with cracks and old repairs.


Condition 11 of the Conditions of Business for Buyers (Online Only) is not applicable to this lot.


The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.

There are two armourers known to have signed their work Saotome Ietsugu, both of which lived in Hitachi province, also known as Joshu. One was active during the late Muromachi period, the other during the mid-Edo period. The latter was the tenth Saotome master and is most likely the smith of this helmet. 


For another example of a helmet by this smith, see Ian Bottomley, Japanese Armor: The Galeno Collection, (Berkeley, 1998), pg. 140.