A very rare example of an Antique Japanese iron samurai chest armor (dou) with Fudo Myo-o. Made in the five plate, four hinge go-mai chest armor sendai or yukinoshita style. On the breastplate, Fudo Myo-o, one of the five myo-o or Lords of Light stands with sword in hands, the flames of his nimbus swirling around him as he stands on churning waves. Fudo is a fitting subject for samurai armor as his name means “the unmovable or unshakable one”. With his fierce appearance he guards the Law of Buddhism from the forces of evil.
This dou is lacquered gold on the inside and signed 肥前住宮田勝盈作. Like sword signatures, it’s written in kanbun Chinese form; it reads like this as Japanese: “Hizen ni sumu Miyata Katsumitsu tsukuru” which means “Made by Miyata Katsumitsu, living in Hizen”. Miyata is the family name here, and they are known for making armor and swords. A 2011 exhibition at the Saga Prefectural Museum called “Miyata: Armor Makers of Hizen” mentions that Miyata armor was highly regarded for the patterns, images and characters expressing military power featured on the breastplates. Katsumitsu was an 8th generation Miyata craftsman. This dou comes with a custom made metal stand. Provenance: from a noted armor collector.
Age: Edo Period (1603-1867)
Dimensions: 16 1/4″ high x 14″ wide (23″ high on stand)