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RARE Edo period Nanban Japanese set of armor with image of Buddhist Deity Fudō Myōō (不動明王)

( ID: ja618 )

A beautiful and early armor, likely from the 18th C. displaying the characteristics of Nanban style armor, with a Morion style helmet.  The breastplate a work of art, and very uncommon to see of this quality.  Made of two pieces of iron that have been chiseled and then overlaid with gold and silver, the back of the armor displays Japanese kanji and calligraphy, and the front displays the Buddhist deity Fudo Myoo, making it likely to be the armor of an armed Mahayana follower.

In Mahayana Buddhism he is known as Ācala , but in Japanese he is called Fudō Myōō (不動明王). He is one example of aVidyaraja “Wisdom King” who can be found mainly in esoteric Buddhism. Fudo appears as a low-caste servant in Indian society, by virtue of the hair and dress, while the sword symbolizes cutting through ignorance and delusion. Meanwhile, the cord in hand is a symbol of self-discipline and restraint.

See a similar armor in the Walters Art Gallery in Boston.

 Very rare style of armor that need some restoration of the cloth ties, which we will leave to the buyer.

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