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Adult vs. Child's Kabuto
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Shogun8
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 4:21 pm    Post subject: Adult vs. Child's Kabuto Reply with quote
Hello,

As this is my first post, please allow me to introduce myself as a long-time admirer of the Way of the Samurai - their code of conduct, their aesthetic and their appreciation for the subtle and finer things in life. I am also well aware of the contradictions and ultimate failings of the Samurai way, which lead to their historic downfall.

I have recently begun a collection of antique Kawari Kabuto and I am hoping that one of the members can help with one of my recent purchases - an Edo period tall Eboshi Kabuto. This kabuto has a small bowl which cannot fit over my head, which makes me wonder if it could be a child's kabuto, or if it's simply a kabuto for a samurai with a small head. From the exterior it looks normal-sized and the entire helmet is made out of lacquered iron (unlike many kawari kabuto which were harikake - made out of lacquered leather, wood or paper).

Does anyone know how one can tell if the kabuto is meant for a child or an adult?
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M.J.Peters
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
The little white tag at the back. For a child it should say *children's* medium, small, etc... Wink

Measure the circumference at the brow. If it's under 20.5 " circumference it's probably a child's helmet. While, traditionally japanese were smaller, head size *should* be close to modern sizes. A picture might help.
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AJBryant
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
You could also upload an image of it....
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Shogun8
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 3:53 am    Post subject: Adult vs. Child's Kabuto Reply with quote
Thanks to you both. I will measure the helmet and let you know my findings and I will also try to post an image or two of the helmet (if I can figure out how to attach the image(s) on this forum!).
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AJBryant
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 6:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Just upload the image to a free imagehosting service (like waffleimages.com) and link the image here with img tags. Smile
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Shogun8
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2007 4:29 am    Post subject: Adult vs. Child's Kabuto Reply with quote
Hi All,

For those of you interested, I measured the inner circumference of the kabuto (as reco'd by MJPeters) and it came to just under 26" -so it looks like the kabuto is an adult one after all (I guess my noggin' is just too big!). MJPeters - just for interest's sake, how did you come up with 20.5" as the demarcation point for separating Adult vs. Child?

I'll also try to post some images of the kabuto today or tomorrow for those who would like to see it.
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Shogun8
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2007 5:20 pm    Post subject: Adult vs. Child's Kabuto Reply with quote
As promised, here's the link to images of the helmet I purchased - the images are from the dealer's site (I tried the free upload and img thing, but I'm not technically savvy enough to do that without help).

http://www.armorantiques.com.au/HE-Item3.htm
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2007 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Shogun8,

My guess is that that kabuto was meant for an adult.

Overall, the eboshi kabuto looks structurally in very good condition. My gut feeling says that there was significant post-edo restoration done to it (specifically lacing and lacquer). I'm also highly suspect of the dragon. The neck cord also looks like a modern replacement.

... however, if the kabuto is entirely original (meaning minimal restoration) then you have a very nice find. Some of our resident experts such as Tony Bryant are better at these things than me.

Regardless, congrats are in order. Cheers.

PS: Did you really pay $8800 AUD ($7400 US)?
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Shogun8
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2007 1:36 am    Post subject: Adult vs. Child's Kabuto Reply with quote
Ranger,

Thank you for your comments.

The neck cord although silk, is definitely a modern replacement and the dealer was upfront about that. Aside from a few chips, there isn't any major loss of lacquer which might speak to your thought that the lacquer has been restored - my eye is not yet educated enough to determine this. The lacework however, does seem to be original as does the liner for the helmet bowl and the brass heraldric fittings on the fukaegashi.

Coincidentally, a similar kabuto was recently sold by a very reputable dealer (with whom I'm sure you're all familiar) and in my opinion, my version compares nicely to it (perhaps it came from the same Myochin or school?). I also know for a fact that the other version sold for considerably more than what I paid (just under $7K). Here's the link to the other version:

http://shogunart.com/Kabuto18.html

Is your question about the price because you think I overpaid?
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2007 6:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Nice piece. With all the froufrou, I'd put it as a mid-Edo kabuto, or at least heavily modified during Edo.

Hella good find.

I hate you. Smile


Tony
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2007 6:54 am    Post subject: Re: Adult vs. Child's Kabuto Reply with quote
Shogun8 wrote:
Is your question about the price because you think I overpaid?

Do I think you overpaid?

In the world of collecting antiquities, pricing is relative. However, would I have paid 7k? No. My limit on this piece would have been $2000. As I said previously, I feel the dragons on the side of the kabuto are highly suspect. In my opinion, the artwork is a fake. After seeing that other kabuto that you linked to only confirmed my suspicion that your kabuto artwork is a direct copy from the Shogun Armory item. I say that because the likelihood of two eboshi kabutos of similar design and virtually identical artwork appearing on the internet at roughly the same time period is almost unheard of. In my opinion, artwork such as this would have been unique, not massed produced. The dragons on the Shogun kabuto look genuine, the artwork on yours, I’m sorry to say does not. The quality is simply not there. I also don't believe it to be a myochin. It may be a kawari in final form, but at its heart it's still a common zunari.



By now you must think me an ass, but please don’t be discouraged by what I have written. You have a very nice kabuto, unfortunately in my opinion the seller tried to enhance its perceived value by copying artwork from an existing piece of work. If I were the seller, rather than marring the urushi finish, I would have instead put a nice maedate on the front of it. You would be amazed at what a maedate can do to a kabuto’s appearance.

Hopefully, others will chime in.
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Shogun8
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2007 8:06 am    Post subject: Adult vs. Child's Kabuto Reply with quote
Ranger,

Appreciate the feedback and opinion and I certainly do not think negatively of you because you have voiced it. Forums such as these exist for like-minded people to learn from each other.

Although I am an experienced collector in other fields and I have been researching and reading voraciously on the subject of Japanese armour, I'm resigned to the fact that I'm susceptible to mistakes as I continue collecting. Unlike other collectors for whom historical value and significance is of utmost importance, at this stage, I purchase primarily with consideration for the overall aesthetic design and lines of the piece (along with quality, condition, provenance, historical value, etc.).

As a further point of interest, I actually had seen the piece I bought several months before I actually purchased it and well before I encountered the Shogun Armory item.

In any event, thank you again for your valued feedback.
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Shogun8
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2007 9:42 am    Post subject: Adult vs. Child's Kabuto Reply with quote
Just noticed the encouraging post from Tony Bryant (whom I understand is also quite a respected authority).

Thank you.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2007 11:32 am    Post subject: Re: Adult vs. Child's Kabuto Reply with quote
Shogun8 wrote:

Although I am an experienced collector in other fields and I have been researching and reading voraciously on the subject of Japanese armour, I'm resigned to the fact that I'm susceptible to mistakes as I continue collecting.

We all are susceptible to mistakes, but in your case you got a great looking authentic edo period kabuto. No mistake in my book. We all have been down this road. Even experience is no guarantee to avoid the lemons, especially when dealing with antiques.

Several years ago, I paid $400 for what I thought was an edo period jinbaori, only to find out it was a modern reproduction. Last year, while in Washington, my wife’s cousin is a judge in Seattle that acquired a Japanese sword. After asking my opinion on it, I pulled out a five-dollar bill and told her that was how much it was worth. It turned out to be a Chinese crapper fake.
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M.J.Peters
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2007 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I would place it latter half of the edo period. The ornateness is common in that era. The price is not out of line for a kawari. Unfortunately they are the ones most prized by collectors (Or fortunately if, like *me* you prefer standard kabuto) thus the prices are a bit high.

(given a choice of any of the above three pictured *I* would definitely take the zunari)

As for the measurement, I make armour. Anything below 21" would be an extra small measurement.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2007 10:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
M.J.Peters wrote:
Or fortunately if, like *me* you prefer standard kabuto) thus the prices are a bit high.

(given a choice of any of the above three pictured *I* would definitely take the zunari)

I agree. I've always preferred a nice simple looking design. My personal favorite style is the suji kabuto.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 4:21 am    Post subject: Re: Adult vs. Child's Kabuto Reply with quote
Ranger wrote:
Shogun8 wrote:

Although I am an experienced collector in other fields and I have been researching and reading voraciously on the subject of Japanese armour, I'm resigned to the fact that I'm susceptible to mistakes as I continue collecting.

We all are susceptible to mistakes, but in your case you got a great looking authentic edo period kabuto. No mistake in my book. We all have been down this road. Even experience is no guarantee to avoid the lemons, especially when dealing with antiques.

Several years ago, I paid $400 for what I thought was an edo period jinbaori, only to find out it was a modern reproduction. Last year, while in Washington, my wife’s cousin is a judge in Seattle that acquired a Japanese sword. After asking my opinion on it, I pulled out a five-dollar bill and told her that was how much it was worth. It turned out to be a Chinese crapper fake.


Is there some organization or individual available, for a fee, that authenticates Japanese armour in the US. Not a rating system, just a scholarly/expert analysis and evaluation.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 6:36 am    Post subject: Re: Adult vs. Child's Kabuto Reply with quote
mgd99 wrote:
Is there some organization or individual available, for a fee, that authenticates Japanese armour in the US. Not a rating system, just a scholarly/expert analysis and evaluation.


I am not aware of any organization within the US that authenticates and/or grades Japanese armor. Even the Japanese Armor Society (NKBKHK) is very difficult to find information on. For us non-Japanese speaking folk it would be easier to get into Skulls and Bones than finding information on the NKBKHK.

However, I digress …

Off the top of my head I would start with the museums, specifically the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Royal Armouries in Louisville, KY. If I were you I would send an inquiry to these folks first.
http://www.metmuseum.org/home.asp
http://www.mfa.org/
http://www.royalarmouries.org/extsite/view.jsp?sectionId=84

And for our Anglo brothers across the pond, the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds.
http://www.royalarmouries.org/extsite/view.jsp?sectionId=2222

Of course, you can always start here first for an initial azimuth check. There is nothing that can replace physical examination of the item in question, but with enough detail images posted online, there is enough people on this forum that can give you a pretty good albeit rough assessment of what you have. Additionally, you may also want to send a friendly PM to Anthony Bryant for his opinion.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 9:30 am    Post subject: Re: Adult vs. Child's Kabuto Reply with quote
[quote="Ranger
Off the top of my head I would start with the museums, specifically the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Royal Armouries in Louisville, KY. If I were you I would send an inquiry to these folks first.
http://www.metmuseum.org/home.asp
http://www.mfa.org/

Of course, you can always start here first for an initial azimuth check. There is nothing that can replace physical examination of the item in question, but with enough detail images posted online, there is enough people on this forum that can give you a pretty good albeit rough assessment of what you have. Additionally, you may also want to send a friendly PM to Anthony Bryant for his opinion.[/quote]

Thanks. I thought about the Met amd MFA. I guess it is worth asking them.

I am going to inquire at the Met when I visit Wednesday and see what they recommend.

I may take some pix and post some closeups of areas that I am trying to understand better (anchor points, stitching, etc). What is original, what looks like a repair, etc. Level of technical skill, etc.

It's the kabuto in a previous post of mine.

BR

Mark
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 10:00 am    Post subject: Re: Adult vs. Child's Kabuto Reply with quote
mgd99 wrote:
It's the kabuto in a previous post of mine.

I don't remember seeing your kabuto. Is there a way you can post a picture(s) of it? I would love to see what you have.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 10:32 am    Post subject: Re: Adult vs. Child's Kabuto Reply with quote
Ranger wrote:
mgd99 wrote:
It's the kabuto in a previous post of mine.

I don't remember seeing your kabuto. Is there a way you can post a picture(s) of it? I would love to see what you have.


I need to take close ups of the inside at some point.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 1:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Wow mgd99. Me likey very much!
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I *love* that hat.


Tony
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 2:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Thanks. I am pretty fond of it.

When I get a chance, I want to post close-up photos of the inside of the hachi and then the mounting points for the shikoro and fukigaeshi. I am trying to learn if the mountings look original on the shikoro(I believe they are) where they attach to the hachi and fukigaesgi. The mons look original to the piece to me. They are Chamoni. They were originally thought to be Tachibani, but were misread by the dealer.

The tehen is in perfect condition, nicely styled but certainly not one of the best out there. It looks original to the piece.

The Lacquer is unmarred on the hachi. Don't know if it was redone at some point. I was led to believe all parts are original to the piece but uncertain on the maedate.

It was represented as Late Momo to Early Edo.

I see no signature and I am told none was found by the dealer.

Perhaps some better trained eyes here can share some opinions on the construction, once I get some close-ups.

From what I have read at this Forum, there seems to be a small but select group of people who really are into authentic antique armour. I know I used AJ Bryants site as reference material when I was researching a purchase.

I like this piece, I just want to understand it better.


TIA

BR

Mark
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Lets see if this works. Here are some closeups of various areas where the pieces attach.










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