A rare example of an Karasu (raven) Samurai menpo (facial armour).
Although not as celebrated today, the crow is a mark of rebirth and rejuvenation; the animal that has historically cleaned up after great battles symbolized the renaissance after such tragedy. Yatagarasu as a crow-god is a symbol specifically of guidance.
Known by many different names, Men-gu,Men-yoroiand Katchu-men, the face protection encountered with many suits of Japanese armour is a fascinating topic in its own right, having become highly sought after by collectors for their beautiful craftsmanship and unique forms.
Masks used for protecting the face came in several different styles that were categorised and sub-categorised by which part of the face they covered and also their shape. Generally, those that cover the whole face are known as Somen, those that protect the face below the eyes, Menpo and those that protect the chin and cheek area are loosely termed as Hanbo. They were made mostly from lacquered (or natural russet) steel and iron, although hardened leather (Neri-kawa) is sometimes encountered.
Tengu are goblins that are believed to live in the mist shrouded forests and peaks of Japan, having both Shinto and Buddhist attributes. They are famous for their supernatural powers and also their prowess in martial arts, especially swordsmanship. The patron of martial arts, the bird-like KarasuTengu is a skilled warrior and mischief-maker, especially prone to playing tricks on arrogant Buddhist priests and to punishing those who wilfully misuse knowledge and authority to gain fame or position.
Edo Period (1868 – 1912)
Dimensions: 11″ high X 9 1/2″ wide