Era of Ancient Burial Mounds
The Era of Ancient Tomb Culture
|9 - A Warrior in a Short Suit of Armor|
pictures show a warrior armed with the ancient Japanese armor over a
cloth and divided skirt. Kojiki and Nihonshoki refer to Kawara, the
short suit of armor, and its figure could be deceted by unearthed
articles. "Kawara" means "to protect" in Sanskrit.
Therefore, yane (roof) kawara protects houses and kawara of warrier
protects bodies of warriers. Tanko (short armor) is made of steel plates
assembled by rivets, braids and leather strings.
Tanko protects only chest and belly. Since it is actually shorter than Keiko, it is naturally named Tanko (short armor). The records of articles for presentation to the Todaiji Temple make refers to Tanko. the plastron or the body armor The combination of a helmet and body armor and the assembly of the small board tassets, bracelets, neck protector, shoulder protector are the complete figure of ancient armor reconstructed by the research of Masao Suenaga.
The helmet is not simply round having Shokaku (brim) in front and pheasant feather on top.
The helmets for high-ranked warriors are made of gold-plated copper. The long sword hangging on the waist is single-edged. The e-kabu(haft-head) or grip end of the swod has a shape of tsuchi or hammer.Therefore it is called kabu -tsuchi-no-tachi (head hammer sword). The warrior with the short sword called Tosu holds a log archery made of catalpa, zelkova and carries willow or bamboo arrows in a woody-vine quiver on his back. He also wears archer's wrist protector on the left hand protecting the hand from hit by leather bowstring. In addition to this, the ancient warriors used halberds with long wooden grips, double-edged swords and shields for protection.