Texas Chapter

Japanese Armor of Kon Kebiki Odoshi Do-Maruo Yoroi Mukashi-Gusoku

This restoration was generously sponsored by Robert Wigley.

This wonderful Japanese armor Kon Kebiki Odoshi Do-Maruo Yoroi Mukashi-Gusoku is an excellent reproduction of a set of armor from the XII – XIII century. Reproductions like this one are very rare and few examples of this type of armor exist in the world. Two of them (inv. no. 206-207) are located in the Vatican Museums and were donated to Pope Pius XI (1922-1939) in 1925 for the Universal Exhibition. These sets of armor were manufactured using ancient Japanese techniques (3000-4000 years old). This is clearly seen by the high quality of the materials and the meticulous attention to the smallest detail. The equipment is composed by eight different parts: helmet, neck sabre, war mask, corset, armlet, cuisses, shin-guards, shoes, and shoulder-plates. All these pieces were highly affected by iron oxidation, erosion and spots. The fabrics were ruined and stained. The leather was dehydrated and the wooden elements, split.

The first step of the restoration focused on pesticide treatment. All the elements were placed in transparent pillow-shaped bags that were inflated with ozone, and deprived of oxygen. This treatment allowed the restorers to get rid of all the insects. Afterwards, the restorers removed the oxidation and corrosion from the armor using chemical treatments or by sanding the surface lightly. The fabric was separated and dry cleaned. Eventually, the wooden parts were also removed and consolidated. Stitching was redone where necessary and the various points of attaching different materials together was fortified individually. The restoration was completed with photographic documentation and summary.

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