A lame is a solid piece of sheet metal used as a component of a larger section of plate armor. Multiple lames are riveted together or connected by leather straps or cloth lacing to form an articulated piece of armor that provides flexible protection; the armor worn by the samurai class of feudal Japan used lames in the construction of many of their individual armor parts. Lamellar armour Laminar armour Scale armour Plate armour
Battle of Ichi-no-Tani
Ichi-no-Tani was a Taira defensive position at Suma, to the west of present-day Kobe, Japan. It sat on a narrow strip of shore, between mountains on the north, the sea to the south; this made it quite defensible, but made it difficult to maneuver troops inside the fortress. The Taira suffered a crucial defeat to the forces of Noriyori. Yoshitsune split his force in two. Noriyori's force attacked the Taira in the woods a short distance to the east. A second detachment, no more than a hundred horsemen under Yoshitsune, attacked the Taira at Ichinotani from the mountain ridge to the north. At the chosen hour, the Minamoto forces attacked causing confusion amongst the Taira who neither deploy nor retreat. Only about 3000 Taira escaped to Yashima, while Shigehira captured. Killed from the Taira clan were Lord Michimori, Noritsune, Moromori, Tomoakira and Moritoshi. Ichi-no-Tani is one of the most famous battles of the Genpei War, in large part due to the individual combats that occurred here. Benkei the most famous of all warrior monks, fought alongside the Minamoto Yoshitsune here, many of the Taira's most important and powerful warriors were present as well.
The death of Taira no Atsumori at the hand of Kumagai no Naozane is a famous passage in Heike Monogatari. It has been dramatized in noh and kabuki, in popular fiction, Oda Nobunaga is portrayed as performing the noh at his own death; the death of Atsumori is arguably among the most celebrated acts of single combat in all of Japanese history. Ichi-no-Tani is the last recorded instance in which crossbows were used in a Japanese siege
A crest is a component of a heraldic display, consisting of the device borne on top of the helm. Originating in the decorative sculptures worn by knights in tournaments and, to a lesser extent, crests became pictorial after the 16th century. A normal heraldic achievement consists of the shield, above, set the helm, on which sits the crest, its base encircled by a circlet of twisted cloth known as a torse; the use of the crest and torse independently from the rest of the achievement, a practice which became common in the era of paper heraldry, has led the term "crest" to be but erroneously used to refer to the arms displayed on the shield, or to the achievement as a whole. The word "crest" derives from the Latin crista, meaning "tuft" or "plume" related to crinis, "hair". Crests had existed in various forms since ancient times: Roman officers wore fans of feathers or horsehair, which were placed longitudinally or transversely depending on the wearer's rank, Viking helmets were adorned with wings and animal heads.
They first appeared in a heraldic context in the form of the metal fans worn by knights in the 12th and 13th centuries. These were decorative, but may have served a practical purpose by lessening or deflecting the blows of opponents' weapons; these fans were of one colour evolving to repeat all or part of the arms displayed on the shield. The fan crest was developed by cutting out the figure displayed on it, to form a metal outline; these were made of cloth, leather or paper over a wooden or wire framework, were in the form of an animal. These were worn only in tournaments, not battle: not only did they add to the considerable weight of the helm, they could have been used by opponents as a handle to pull the wearer's head down. Laces, straps, or rivets were used to affix the crest to the helm, with the join being covered by a circlet of twisted cloth known as a torse or wreath, or by a coronet in the case of high-ranking nobles. Torses did not come into regular use in Britain until the 15th century, are still uncommon on the Continent, where crests are depicted as continuing into the mantling.
Crests were sometimes mounted on a furred cap known as a chapeau, as in the royal crest of England. By the 16th century the age of tournaments had ended, physical crests disappeared, their illustrated equivalents began to be treated as two-dimensional pictures. Many crests from this period are physically impossible to bear on a helm, e.g. the crest granted to Sir Francis Drake in 1581, which consisted of a disembodied hand issuing from clouds and leading a ship around the globe. In the same period, different helms began to be used for different ranks: sovereigns' and knights' helms faced forwards, whereas those of peers and gentlemen faced to the right. In the medieval period crests would always have faced the same way as the helm, but as a result of these rules, the directions of the crest and the helm might be at variance: a knight whose crest was a lion statant, would have the lion depicted as looking over the side of the helm, rather than towards the viewer. Torses suffered artistically, being treated not as silken circlets, but as horizontal bars.
Heraldry in general underwent something of a renaissance in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many of the illogicalities of previous centuries were discarded. Crests are now not granted unless they could be used on a physical helm, the rules about directions of helms are no longer rigidly observed; the use of crests was once restricted to those of'tournament rank', i.e. knights and above, but in modern times nearly all personal arms include crests. They are not used by women and clergymen, as they did not participate in war or tournaments and thus would not have helms on which to wear them; some heraldists are of the opinion that crests, as personal devices, are not suited for use by corporate bodies, but this is not observed. In continental Europe Germany, crests have a far greater significance than in Britain, it is common for one person to display multiple crests with his arms; this practice did not exist in Britain until the modern era, arms with more than one crest are still rare.
In contrast to Continental practice, where a crest is never detached from its helm, a Briton with more than one crest may choose to display only one crested helm, have the other crests floating in space. Though adopted through marriage to an heiress, examples exist of secondary crests being granted as augmentations: after defeating the Americans at the Battle of Bladensburg, Robert Ross was granted, in addition to his original crest, the crest of an arm holding the US flag with a broken flagstaff. After the 16th century, it became common for armigers to detach the crest and wreath from the helm, use them in the manner of a badge, displayed on crockery, carriage doors, etc; this led to the erroneous use of the term "crest" to mean "arms", which has become widespread in recent years. Unlike a badge, which can be used by any amount of relatives and retainers, a crest is personal to the armiger, its use by others is considered usurpation. In Scotland, however, a member of a clan or house is entitled to use a "crest-badge", which consists of th
Mengu called menpō or men-yoroi, is the term for various types of facial armour worn by the samurai class and their retainers in feudal Japan. Types of Japanese facial armour include the somen, menpō, hanbo or hanpo, happuri. Men-yoroi were facial armour which covered all or part of the face and provided a way to secure the top-heavy kabuto; the Shinobi-no-o of the kabuto would be tied under the chin of the men-yoroi. There were small hooks called ori-kugi or posts called odome located on various places to help secure the kabuto's chin cord. Men-yoroi may be constructed from a combination of both, they may have a lacquered or rusted type of finish and can include a variety of facial details, such as moustaches, fierce teeth and a detachable nose. Most men-yoroi with the exception of the happuri had a small hole underneath the chin for sweat drainage. Men-yoroi are similar to masks worn by armored cavalry and infantry in ancient Chinese armies from the Han Dynasty to the Song Dynasty. Sōmen covered the entire face.
Menpō covered the face from the nose down to the chin. Hanbo covered the lower face from under the nose to the chin. Happuri covered cheeks. Japanese armour Kabuto Samurai Arms and Armor Anthony Bryant's online Japanese armour manual
History of Japan
The first human habitation in the Japanese archipelago has been traced to prehistoric times. The Jōmon period, named after its "cord-marked" pottery, was followed by the Yayoi in the first millennium BC when new technologies were introduced from continental Asia. During this period, the first known written reference to Japan was recorded in the Chinese Book of Han in the first century AD. Between the fourth century and the ninth century, Japan's many kingdoms and tribes came to be unified under a centralized government, nominally controlled by the Emperor; this imperial dynasty continues to reign over Japan. In 794, a new imperial capital was established at Heian-kyō, marking the beginning of the Heian period, which lasted until 1185; the Heian period is considered a golden age of classical Japanese culture. Japanese religious life from this time and onwards was a mix of native Shinto practices and Buddhism. Over the following centuries, the power of the Emperor and the imperial court declined and passed to the military clans and their armies of samurai warriors.
The Minamoto clan under Minamoto no Yoritomo emerged victorious from the Genpei War of 1180–85. After seizing power, Yoritomo took the title of shōgun. In 1274 and 1281, the Kamakura shogunate withstood two Mongol invasions, but in 1333 it was toppled by a rival claimant to the shogunate, ushering in the Muromachi period. During the Muromachi period regional warlords called daimyōs grew in power at the expense of the shōgun. Japan descended into a period of civil war. Over the course of the late sixteenth century, Japan was reunified under the leadership of the daimyō Oda Nobunaga and his successor Toyotomi Hideyoshi. After Hideyoshi's death in 1598, Tokugawa Ieyasu came to power and was appointed shōgun by the Emperor; the Tokugawa shogunate, which governed from Edo, presided over a prosperous and peaceful era known as the Edo period. The Tokugawa shogunate imposed a strict class system on Japanese society and cut off all contact with the outside world. Portugal and Japan started their first affiliation in 1543, making the Portuguese the first Europeans to reach Japan by landing in the southern archipelago of Japan.
The Netherlands was the first to establish trade relations with Japan, Japan–Netherlands relations dating back to 1609. The American Perry Expedition in 1853–54 more ended Japan's seclusion; the new national leadership of the following Meiji period transformed the isolated feudal island country into an empire that followed Western models and became a great power. Although democracy developed and modern civilian culture prospered during the Taishō period, Japan's powerful military had great autonomy and overruled Japan's civilian leaders in the 1920s and 1930s; the military invaded Manchuria in 1931, from 1937 the conflict escalated into a prolonged war with China. Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 led to war with its allies. Japan's forces soon became overextended, but the military held out in spite of Allied air attacks that inflicted severe damage on population centers. Emperor Hirohito announced Japan's unconditional surrender on 15 August 1945, following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Soviet invasion of Manchuria.
The Allies occupied Japan until 1952, during which a new constitution was enacted in 1947 that transformed Japan into a constitutional monarchy. After 1955, Japan enjoyed high economic growth, became a world economic powerhouse. Since the 1990s, economic stagnation has been a major issue. An earthquake, tsunami in 2011 caused massive economic dislocations and a serious nuclear power disaster; the mountainous Japanese archipelago stretches northeast to southwest 3,000 km off the east of the Asian continent at the convergence of four tectonic plates. The steep, craggy mountains that cover two-thirds of its surface are prone to quick erosion from fast-flowing rivers and to mudslides, they have hampered internal travel and communication and driven the population to rely on transportation along coastal waters. There is a great variety to its regions' geographical features and weather patterns, with a Wet season, in most parts in early summer. Volcanic soil that washes along the 13% of the area that makes up the coastal plains provides fertile land, the temperate climate allows long growing seasons, which with the diversity of flora and fauna provide rich resources able to support the density of the population.
A accepted periodization of Japanese history: Land bridges, during glacial periods when the world sea level is lower, have periodically linked the Japanese archipelago to the Asian continent via Sakhalin Island in the north and via the Ryukyu Islands and Taiwan in the south since the beginning of the current Quaternary glaciation 2.58 million years ago. There may have been a land bridge to Korea in the southwest, though not in the 125,000 years or so since the start of the last interglacial; the Korea Strait was, quite narrow at the Last Glacial Maximum from 25,000 to 20,000 years BP. The earliest firm evidence of human habitation is of early Upper Paleolithic hunter-gatherers from 40,000 years ago, when Japan was separated from the continent. Edge-ground axes dating to 32–38,000 years ago found in 224 sites in Honshu and Kyushu are unlike anything found in neighbouring areas of continental Asia, have been proposed as evidence for the first Homo sapiens in Japan. Radiocarbon dating has shown that the earliest fossils in
Scholars agree that Japanese armour first appeared in the 4th century, with the discovery of the cuirass and basic helmets in graves. It is thought they originated from China via Korea. During the Heian period, the Japanese cuirass evolved into the more familiar style of body armour worn by the samurai known as the dou or dō, with the use of leather straps, lacquer for weatherproofing. Leather and/or iron scales were used to construct samurai armours, with leather and silk lace used to connect the individual scales of these cuirasses. In the 16th century, Japan began trading with Europe, during what would become known as the Nanban trade. Samurai acquired European types of armour, which they modified and combined with domestic armour, as it provided better protection from the newly introduced matchlock muskets; when a united Japan entered the peaceful Edo period, samurai continued to use both plate and lamellar armour as a symbol of their status. Lightweight and secret hidden armours became popular, since personal protection was still needed against civil unrest.
Japanese armour is thought to have evolved from the armour used in ancient China. Cuirasses and helmets were manufactured in Japan as early as the 4th century CE. Tankō, worn by foot soldiers and keikō, worn by horsemen were both pre-samurai types of early Japanese cuirass constructed from iron plates connected together by leather thongs. During the Heian period, the Japanese cuirass evolved into the more familiar style of armour worn by the samurai known as the dou or dō. Japanese armour makers started to use leather, lacquer was used to weatherproof the armor parts. By the end of the Heian period, the Japanese cuirass had arrived at the shape recognized as being distinctively samurai. Leather and or iron scales were used to construct samurai armours, with leather and silk lace used to connect the individual scales from which these cuirasses were now being made. In the 16th century, Japan began trading with Europe during what would become known as the Nanban trade. Samurai acquired European armour including the cuirass and comb morion, which they modified and combined with domestic armour, as it provided better protection from the newly introduced matchlock muskets known as Tanegashima.
The introduction of the tanegashima by the Portuguese in 1543 changed the nature of warfare in Japan, causing the Japanese armour makers to change the design of their armours from the centuries-old lamellar armours to plate armour constructed from iron and steel plates, called tosei gusoku. Bullet resistant armours were developed called tameshi gusoku, allowing samurai to continue wearing their armour despite the use of firearms; the era of warfare called the Sengoku period ended around 1600, when a united Japan entered the peaceful Edo period. Although samurai continued to use both plate and lamellar armour as a symbol of their status, traditional armours were no longer necessary for battles. During the Edo period lightweight and secret hidden armours became popular, since personal protection was still needed. Civil strife, duels and peasant revolts all required the use of armours such as the kusari katabira and armoured sleeves, as well as other types of armour which could be worn under ordinary clothing.
Edo period samurai were in charge of internal security and would wear various types of kusari gusoku and shin and arm protection as well as forehead protectors. Armour continued to be worn and used in Japan until the end of the samurai era in the 1860s, with the last use of samurai armour happening in 1877 during the Satsuma Rebellion. Japanese armour was constructed from many small iron and/or leather scales and/or plates, connected to each other by rivets and macramé cords made from leather and/or braided silk, and/or chain armour. Noble families had silk cords made in specific colors of silk thread. Many of these cords were constructed of well over 100 strands of silk. Making these special silk cords could take many months of steady work, just to complete enough for one suit of armour; these armor plates were attached to a cloth or leather backing. Japanese armour was designed to be as lightweight as possible as the samurai had many tasks including riding a horse and archery in addition to swordsmanship.
The armour was brightly lacquered to protect against the harsh Japanese climate. Chain armour was used to construct individual armour pieces and full suits of kusari were used. A full suit of traditional Samurai armour could include the following items: Dou or dō, a chest armour made up of iron and or leather plates of various sizes and shapes with pendents Kusazuri made from iron or leather plates hanging from the front and back of the dou to protect the lower body and upper leg. Sode, large rectangular shoulder protection made from leather plates. Kote, armoured glove like sleeves which extended to the shoulder or han kote which covered the forearms. Kote were made from cloth covered with iron plates of various size and shape, connected by chain armor. Kabuto, a helmet made from iron or leather plates riveted together. A neck guard shikoro made from several layers of curved iron or leather strips was suspended from the bottom edge of the kabuto. Mengu, various types of lacquered metal and or leather facial armour designed in a way that the top heavy helmet kabuto could be tied and secured to them by various metal posts.
Mengu had throat guards yodare-kake made from several rows of iron
Benty Grange helmet
The Benty Grange helmet is a boar-crested Anglo-Saxon helmet from the 7th century AD. It was excavated by Thomas Bateman in 1848 from a tumulus at the Benty Grange farm in Monyash in western Derbyshire; the grave had been looted by the time of Bateman's excavation, but still contained other high-status objects suggestive of a richly furnished burial, such as the fragmentary remains of a hanging bowl. The helmet is displayed at Sheffield's Weston Park Museum, which purchased it from Bateman's estate in 1893; the helmet was constructed by covering the outside of an iron framework with plates of horn and the inside with cloth or leather. It would have provided some protection against weapons, but was ornate and may have been intended for ceremonial use, it was the first Anglo-Saxon helmet to be discovered. The helmet features a unique combination of structural and technical attributes, but contemporaneous parallels exist for its individual characteristics, it is classified as one of the "crested helmets" used in Northern Europe from the 6th to 11th centuries AD.
The most striking feature of the helmet is the boar at its apex. This is representative of 7th-century England when Christian missionaries were converting Anglo-Saxons away from traditional Germanic mythology; the helmet seems to exhibit a stronger preference towards paganism, with a large boar and a small cross. The cross may have been added for talismanic effect, the help of any god being welcome on the battlefield; the boar atop the crest was associated with protection and suggests a time when boar-crested helmets may have been common, as do the helmet from Wollaston and the Guilden Morden boar. The contemporary epic Beowulf mentions such helmets five times and speaks of the strength of men "when the hefted sword, its hammered edge and gleaming blade slathered in blood, razes the sturdy boar-ridge off a helmet"; the Benty Grange helmet was made by covering an iron frame with horn. It weighed about 1.441 kg, the weight of the Weston Park Museum's 1986 replica. The framework, which now exists in sixteen corroded fragments consisted of seven iron strips, each between 1 and 2 millimetres thick.
A brow band, 65 cm long and 2.5 cm wide, encircled the head. Two strips of the same width ran from front to back, from side to side; the 40 cm long nose-to-nape band extended 4.75 cm in 3.8 cm in the back. The lateral band ran from ear to ear, it was affixed to the outside of the dexter side of the brow band, the inside of the sinister side, the outside of the nose-to-nape band. The four quadrants created by this configuration were each subdivided by a narrower subsidiary strip of iron, only one of which now survives; each subsidiary strip was attached to the outside of the brow band 7 cm from the centre of the lateral band. Here they were 22 mm wide, while tapering towards a width of 15 mm, rose at a 70° angle towards the lateral band, which they overlapped at a 50° angle just beneath the crest; the inside of the helmet was most originally lined with leather or cloth, since decayed. Eight plates of horn softened and bent and suggested to be from cattle, were cut to fit the eight spaces created by the iron frame.
No horn now survives. The plates were fitted over the iron, thereby hiding it, abutted at the centre of each strip; the joins were hidden by further pieces of horn that were cut to the width of the iron strips and placed on top. The three layers—iron at the bottom, followed by two layers of horn—were held together by a succession of rivets: iron rivets placed from inside the helmet, rivets made of, or coated in, with ornamental heads in the shape of a double-headed axe, placed from the outside, 4 cm apart. Traces of horn on the rear extension of the nose-to-nape band, on the rear brow band, suggest that the material was used for a neck guard; these suggest that pieces of horn, extending 5 cm from the centre of the brow band to the bottom of the rear nose-to-nape band, would have met each extension of the lateral band at a 5° angle, reaching them 6.4 cm from the centre of the brow band. In addition to the aesthetic elements incorporated into the basic construction of the helmet, two features provide added decoration: a cross on the nasal and a boar on the crest.
The silver cross is 3.9 cm long by 2 cm wide, consists of two parts. A silver strip was added underneath, elongating what was an equal-armed cross, it was placed atop a layer of horn and attached to the helmet with two rivets, one at the intersection of the two arms and one at the bottom. Around the cross in a zigzag pattern are twenty-nine silver studs, out of a suggested original forty, that were tapped into small holes drilled or bored into the horn; the most distinctive feature of the Benty Grange helmet is its boar, affixed to the apex of the helmet. The core of its body is made of two pieces of hollow D-sectioned bronze tubes, their flat sides 2 mm apart; the space between the two halves was filled in with a substance horn or metal, which has now disintegrated.