A striking iron- forged face mask in Somen style with attached doe-skin shikoro (neck guard) woven in beige silk with red leather rivets. The face, with prominent eyebrows in a scowl and mouth turned upward in a grimace, highlights the exaggerated nose and ears, all forged separately and attached with ornate rivets. On the chin are two pegs for cords and a heart-shaped ventilation hole. Its leather interior is beautifully gold-lacquered. This ingenious samurai armor component is the work of the Myochin school, famous armor and jizai okimono artists, the incised signature found on the chin. This rare face mask is in very good condition with only minor wear, commensurate with age and use.
19th Century, Japan