Sanjyūrokken Tetsu-Jingasa



Sanjyūrokken Tetsu-Jingasa
Samurai hat
Japan, Edo period, end of 18th-beginning of 19th century
Iron and lacquer on the back
Edo period, 18th century
Ø. 16 ¾ in (42.5cm) – D. 3.1 in (8cm)

Jingasa was a hat formerly worn by common foot soldiers in place of helmets in the Sengoku period (1467-1573). Its conical shape did offer some protection. After the Edo period, it became popular among the Samurai, who used it not only defensively, but to conceal their social status as well.
This jingasa was made with 36 iron plates (Sanjyūrokken means 36). The plates are extremely thin and are secured with iron tacks, and the inside is lacquered. It is gilded with gold foil on the black lacquer, but the foil is mostly worn away. The design with the studs is simple but beautiful and the structure of the iron plates is quite artistic, beyond the level of just craft. It is as if the object flaunts the samurai’s power.