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  • Tameshi - Bulletproof Helmets

    Thread inherited from The Samurai Armour Forum.

    This topic deals with mainly with ZUNARI Tameshi where a bullet has struck the Kabuto, but other examples can be posted. Tameshi is often a test mark and not always a result of actual battle.
    We should open this thread to all types of bulletproof Kabuto, with or with tameshi present. Feel free to contribute and post images, ask questions.


    Anthony
    Anthony de Vos

    Hi!

    Very heavy bullet tested zunari.

    36024493401_31bd329c4d_b.jpg
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    FUDO MYO . This is an admin account used for transferring threads from the former Samurai Armour Forum

  • #2

    >Dave Thatcher

    heavy????

    >Anthony

    Hi!

    Very heavy Dave, not as heavy as the one you are working on but not far from. The main plate is really thick. Def made for battle.

    >Dave Thatcher

    I really like ballistic zunari. Real battle hats, its something everyone should own in their collections.

    > Massimo

    I love it.

    >Luca Nic

    Anthony, that's gorgeous! How much does it weight?

    >Jan

    I have to agree with Dave when it comes to a heavy ballistic Zunari Kabuto. Well, actually love most Zunari, full stop. A style of Kabuto made for the trenches and the men doing the fighting. This example can def be labelled under ballistic.
    It weighs just south of 3 kilo and comes with two test-shots.

    36614589711_a3641f3e6b_z.jpg
    35944988853_32552a74bb_z.jpg
    36614594491_992b4a1fd2_z.jpg
    36614596421_829301f5a7.jpg

    A textbook Hineno-zunari with the small fukegaeshi and a shikoro with the sweeping lines to fit the shoulders of the wearer. I also like the "peak" on the front. A nice touch is the kebiki-odoshi. The shikoro is perfectly fitted to the bowl which point to it being original to this bowl.
    The overall construction is in good condition but the odoshi is singing on its last notes. The urushi has cracks. But in this case I will not send it off to our magic-man in the UK. I will keep it in the original condition. The reason for this are the testshots. The urushi on this one got that deep "chocolatty" patina, speaking of old age. The indentations is covered with this urushi, confirming the shots to have been performed a long time ago. Well, perhaps a kabuto-maker gave it a whack or two with a hammer, but at least it was done during the Edo-period
    If it was to be fully restored this "authenticity" could to some extant be in question, hidden under new coats of urushi. If the day comes when it all disintegrates I might have to reconsider. Fingers crossed the stabile conditions where I keep it, will give it a reprieve.
    To try dating such a generic zunari is to my knowledge near impossible. But it´s def been around the blocks, once or twice.

    For me with a special interest in the history of matchlocks, it adds a special something. I can see this being worn by a unit-commander running around giving out orders to his merry band of Teppo-ashigaru

    >Anthony

    Hi!

    That's a nice one Jan, congrats! Good that the custom finally let it go. That was a record time in customs custody.

    > Jan

    Yeah, the Swedish customs seems to have beefed-up security But I'm very pleased to finally be able to mount it on the stand back in the yashiki. Since I sold my old Zunari a couple of years ago, I felt I missed a vital part. Like Dave said, everyone should have a ballistic zunari in the collection.

    >Uwe

    Congrats Jan!
    Nice and very typical zunari kabuto. The side view shows the ingenious shape!
    Glad to hear, that you returned victorious from the "customs battlefield" ..... A real Viking
    > Jan

    Fully agree with you regarding the side view, Uwe. A well-made Hineno possesses some really ingenious angles and curves. Actually quite beautiful. Someone sure knew what they were doing when they constructed the prototype.

    > Dave Thatcher

    Very rounded bowl. Nice.
    >Jan

    One interesting thing I discovered whilst handling this kabuto was that the testshot on the front plate actually bent the edge of the right side plate which protrudes underneath the frontplate and pushed in the nearby rivet about 1 mm. The impact of the shot dented the frontplate. But the real energy from the impact transferred and was clearly absorbed by the overlapping plate below. Would def have saved a potential wearer in a real battle situation? Those overlapping sections really adds to the ballistic properties of this kind of model.

    >Piers

    Both good examples of pock-marked zunari, and interesting to compare the slight differences in construction. Something satisfying about these, even though they are so heavy. (I found a large suitcase on sale in a department store recently, advertised as The World's Lightest, at 2.7 kg!)

    I wonder if every major armour maker was able to make their own bespoke version/variation of the ever-popular zunari style?

    Anthony, do you think yours was lacquered at some time?

    > Anthony

    Hi!

    Hard to tell, Piers but I find no obvious signs of lacquer remnants. I will take a closer look when back in Sweden.

    Last edited by Fudo Myo; 09-24-2017, 09:46 AM.
    FUDO MYO . This is an admin account used for transferring threads from the former Samurai Armour Forum

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    • #3

      >Jan

      I went through this forum for additional pictures of Zunari Kabuto sporting the effects of tameshi-uchi. Good to have them filed under this thread for easy access. Also included a picture from the Watanabe Collection. One reflection made is that out of the six posted in this thread, four is Etchu-zunari Kabuto.
      36416215680_d2e6ff64ff.jpg
      36416221350_89b4fca3ce_z.jpg
      36813724365_f0dd964bd3_z.jpg

      (Watanabe Collection. Hineno Zunari with testshots on both sideplates)
      >Uwe

      It would be interesting, to put a date to these kabuto. Consequently, we maybe able to narrowing the timeframe, tameshi-uchi was performed?!
      > Alessandro Tornese

      Hi
      I have a question for Dave, please.
      I'm curious to know why on all these zunari kabuto the urushi is not broken on the "bullet area"
      Is it so compressed that it doesn't break?
      >Jan

      For once I dare to answer a question about armors The Tameshi-uchi was always performed prior to applying the urushi.
      > Alessandro Tornese

      ok I understood, I thought of something like that thanks Jan
      >Jan

      Like I mentioned in my earlier post, when you find a Tameshi Zunari retaining it's orignal lacquered surface covering the test-shots, it confirms that the Tameshi was performed a long time ago.
      Uwe's question about the period when these Tameshi-uchi were performed is interesting. Common sense might suggest that this was popular during times of war, when function was more important than bling. With that in mind, I think Momoyama and early Edo-period sounds like a sure bet. But perhaps also during the turbulent times during the 19th century when "real" armour once again was in demand. It's quite similar to the tradition of making matchlocks from forreign steel (namban-tetsu). Almost every matchlock with this mentioned in the signature dates to the Momoyama and very early Edo-period, when everything forreign was in high demand and most likely demanded a premium price.
      Reading the thread about Zunari-kabuto, Piers brought up an interesting theory about these "tested" kabuto. Was they actually worn by the samurai or were they shop-inventory that the armor-maker could display to potential buyers, proving their skill in making a ballistic kabuto?
      > Dave Thatcher

      There was obviously a demand for heavy bulletproof kabuto.

      I'm actually starting to tell myself that the only true war helmet was the zunari (I may have to write that down and earn a PhD).
      We know that the new designs emerged mostly based upon three to four plates.

      Zunari
      Toppai
      Eboshi
      Momonari

      Zunari from some reason never being classified as kawari. As Ian B said at The Gathering, you rarely find any suji with Tameshi because they exploded apart.
      When did these make an entrance?

      I have seen three examples that are momoyama jidai, really heavy but with no tameshi.
      As Jan has pointed out most are etchu zunari.

      Attention must be paid to the actual dent, some katchushi manuals describe how to create the tameshi dent. I have noticed that on what I would consider being real tameshi that there is a distortion at the very centre of the dent where the ball and iron have created a ballistic train smash. Now, with this in mind if the Hachi is lacquered over this minor detail will be lost, so we must inspect the insides for clues.

      So the variables

      1. Heavy Ballistic Kabuto Momoyama to Edo period
      2. Heavy Ballistic Kabuto with Real Tameshi Momoyama to Edo period
      3. Heavy Ballistic Kabuto with faked Tameshi Momoyama to Edo period

      I personally hold the heavy ballistic Hachi with the same respect as the tested ones, the intention is the same.
      >Jan

      Went through some of my matchlock-books for additional Zunari kabuto displaying test-shots. Here´s a Hineno Zunari sporting what I would call a "bullseye"
      36013797783_135c172a54_z.jpg


      Here´s a Kawari-kabuto based on a Hineno Zunari
      36652649052_15f4d9be24_z.jpg
      Last edited by Fudo Myo; 09-24-2017, 09:56 AM.
      FUDO MYO . This is an admin account used for transferring threads from the former Samurai Armour Forum

      Comment


      • #4
        36426445630_30e70938bb_z.jpg
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        Judging from the last picture, the suji seems to have taken part of the impact. I´m not sure, but that small round object might be remnants of the suji being smashed into a small "cake" by the energy of the ball. Did the suji perform its job by absorbing part of the blast? Any which way, the integrity of the bowl seems to hold up well.
        This is of course a 16-ken. Dealing with a 62-ken kabuto should alter the integrity by default. Or would it
        > Ian Bottomley

        Anthony, I think the answer is to look at the armours the top people were wearing during the late Sengoku Jidai. I have just dragged a copy of the Gakken series No. 118 off my book shelf that deals with the Feudal Warlords of the period and illustrates their armours or images of them wearing armour. It starts with Nanbu Nobunao (1546 - 1599) and shows a painting of him in a do-maru with akodanari kabuto, but also shows a harkake kabuto which was his that would have a zunari as a base. The next is Akita Sanesue (1576 - 1659) who also had a do-maru / akodanari armour but also an ichi no tani helmet again with a zunari base. Date Masamune is shown with is famous yukinoshita armour with its Yoshi style helmet, but did he wear that in action? Probably but not necessarily. Of all the other helmets illustrated, either photographed or in paintings, there are 24 suji bachi (some being only 8 or 12 plates) and 38 zunari or kawari kabuto. When you consider that quite a few armours with multiplate helmets are do-maru and haramaki, and even one o-yoroi, non of which would be worn in battle at that period, I think it shows that while suji kabuto were still being made and worn the trend was for something more solid to actually fight in.

        I have just seen Jan's last post. The last images says it all. The round object is a big rivet to repair the split where a bullet has hit.
        >Jan
        I was just about to write in that earlier post "or is it a repair?" Well Ian, guess you answered that question right away In that case it really shows the inherent weakness of a multi-plate system. This would of course worsen with extra plates added to the construction of the bachi.
        >Dave Thatcher

        I think you would find that even the Saotome double plate would blow out. In order to be objective, we have to focus our attention to Kabuto that are pre-1615 or thereabouts. After Osaka, there was very little in the way of armour being required for combat until the American panic kicked in.

        There is also the factor of actual guns being used in battle, we know that they were increased over time to the point that most were in force post sekigahara.

        Was ballistic bulletproof armour really a requirement, or a panic? What were the real chances of being fatally shot in battle?
        >Jan

        The only way to really understand the true impact of the matchlock during the Momoyama to early Edo-period is to go through battle reports (kassen chumon) and that way get an overview of injuries and deaths caused by firearms.
        >Pascal

        I myself possessed a very beautiful 18 plates that had received two impacts.
        The plates have perfectly absorbed the impacts.
        >Anthony

        Thanks for guys for valuable insights and thoughts.
        >Piers D

        Perhaps in light of Jan's shattered Do above, Kabuto makers began to concentrate on more malleable metalwork that would give, bend and absorb the shock of a bullet.
        >Jan

        That shattered do clearly didn't make the quality control. Having two bullet holes might suggest that it was actually being tested or part of a demonstration. With a big "Fail" attached to it afterwards But I guess that all armors would fail from a close-range large-caliber hit. Still remember the heavy portable metal shield I saw during the Osaka-exhibition in Tokyo. It was clearly pierced by something similar to a 10-monme shot, fired from within the castle.
        I have reached out to some of my trusted allies from the north of Japan to see what can be found in their local records regarding battle-reports. Hope to get hold of some interesting facts later on.
        >Uwe

        Quote: I myself possessed a very beautiful 18 plates that had received two impacts. The plates have perfectly absorbed the impacts.

        Can we have a picture, Pascal?
        >Pascal

        Unfortunately, I do not have it anymore! It was a very heavy helmet but was very elegant.


        I have another of 32 plates that has no bullet impact but he has a weight of 3,5 kg. It was probably made to withstand the Teppo. But I don't want to be off-topic with my Suji Kabuto.
        >Ian Bottomley

        Pascal, No, no - you are not off topic. Examples like yours are evidence that some multi-plate helmets could survive bullets. I am sure all armourers were trying all sorts of ways of defending against the new weapon and the more examples we see the better.
        Last edited by Fudo Myo; 09-24-2017, 10:10 AM.
        FUDO MYO . This is an admin account used for transferring threads from the former Samurai Armour Forum

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        • #5

          >Pascal

          Hello, Ian,

          So I present to you my 32 plates.

          It really has a large volume and weights 3,5 kg.
          I wonder how he could carry such a weight.
          I have no doubt that he can withstand a shot of Teppo.

          The Ukebari being in place, I did not open it.

          I looked inside with a camera but I could not see much else except the rivets.

          bb15614bbe1fb64f76fc1a8ceef6b87c.jpg
          6dcb44e13e02633609cdc59812e11ca2.jpg
          >Uwe

          Hello Pascal,
          can you count the same number of plates inside as outside?
          >Pascal

          Yes, the number of plates is identical both inside and outside.
          >Uwe

          Ah, that means thick plates, "normal" overlapped!
          >Paul SJ

          Was ballistic bulletproof armour really a requirement, or a panic? What were the real chances of being fatally shot in battle?

          Dave, During the Napoleonic Peninsular war, records were kept of casualties for the various battles. The distance and duration of firefights are known, with ranges from 80 yards to as little as 25 yards. The average hit rate for the French was 2% the British 2.5%, in some cases, multipul hits on one casualty were recorded.
          >Pascal

          Hello, Uwe,

          Indeed the plates are very thick: each is riveted by 6 rivets.
          Last edited by Fudo Myo; 09-24-2017, 10:19 AM.
          FUDO MYO . This is an admin account used for transferring threads from the former Samurai Armour Forum

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          • #6
            • Pascal, A very nice helmet. I illustrated a very heavy multiplate helmet at Leeds that had been hit and showed that the overlap of a plate had torn away at a rivet. Given that it had been made in the Nambokucho we could perhaps forgive it. I also have a little toppai helmet which has an intact ukebari, but I can feel a quite thick extra plate running around the inside reaching from the koshimaki to about half way up. Thinking about it, the plate would cover where the head is, anywhere above would be empty space and not need protection.
              I mentioned earlier that all sorts of attempts were being made to make bullet-proof armour. I have a backplate that has a steel face (covered in sword cuts despite the fact that I was told samurai never ran away!!) with about 1cm of rawhide fastened behind it. There is an armour in the Royal Armouries collection that is nerigawa outside, but you can detect iron with a magnet which is either fastened to the back or sandwiched between layers of hide. We all know of Sakikabara's account of cross-ply steel backed by iron and indeed we found an example of a shikoro made that way at the RA. Another possibility, that may occur with Japanese armour, that was used in the English Civil War was to use multiple layers of iron. These prevent the propagation of the cracking that accompanies penetration. Civil war breastplates are massive 1/2 inch thick or more and while some were being X-rayed to find maker's marks, it was found that they were sometimes made in two layers joined by having their outer edges rolled and hammered together. It was then found others had extra pieces of armour plate between the two layers making them triplex. Nobody knew this was done because there was no external differences from simple thick forgings. We have a lot left to learn.
              Ian B

            Post Reply
            Ian Bottomley - UK

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            • #7
              Jan.
              I have a heavy ballistic zunari hachi that is not etchu. But look at the thickness and shape of the mabezashi. Its in two sections, both of which are thick.
              37032786080_77fd07733d_c.jpg
              37431428835_a96d86edce_c.jpg
              David Thatcher
              Professional Armour Restoration (Katchushi Koubou)
              Web: http://www.yoroi.uk
              Facebook Group:
              https://www.facebook.com/groups/Samuraiarmour/
              Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/raimu_gallery_uk/

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              • #8
                This is also another very heavy ballistic Zunari I have. We can see the same two stage mabezashi.

                37288763461_d64dcbdc4d_c.jpg
                David Thatcher
                Professional Armour Restoration (Katchushi Koubou)
                Web: http://www.yoroi.uk
                Facebook Group:
                https://www.facebook.com/groups/Samuraiarmour/
                Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/raimu_gallery_uk/

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have this HEAVY at the moment. Another great example of a ballistic helmet. 突盔 Toppai Kabuto - Kaga


                  37279693892_6293434b84_b.jpg
                  David Thatcher
                  Professional Armour Restoration (Katchushi Koubou)
                  Web: http://www.yoroi.uk
                  Facebook Group:
                  https://www.facebook.com/groups/Samuraiarmour/
                  Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/raimu_gallery_uk/

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Most of the tested kabuto are of the Zunari type. The exeptions appearing more interesting...

                    bullet suji1.JPG

                    bullet suji2.JPG
                    Uwe Sacklowski / Germany

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                    • #11
                      Uwe, Now that is an interesting helmet. A zunari modelled with lacquer on the outside to look like a suji bachi. It is also interesting to see how the armourer has hammered out the pieces for the side plates to make sure the rivets are not too near the edge to stop them being torn out. A very clever and well thought out helmet. I wonder how many helmets that look like suji bachi were made like this one.
                      Ian Bottomley
                      Ian Bottomley - UK

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                      • #12
                        Yes Ian, interesting construction with these wavy plates.
                        I guess the initially wearer wanted the protection of a well made (ballistic) zunari, without forgo the look of a costly suji bachi...
                        Uwe Sacklowski / Germany

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                        • #13
                          I want to thanks everyone for sharing, Learned a lot off of this post. " This is so addicting"

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            This is heavy 3,5 kg, Zunari Kabuto with 4 test /2 on each side. Kabuto is also signed Myochin Munesada..acording to list of Myochin smiths, some Munesada was working in early Edo and also some in late Edo period..must be somehow important that Zunari bears signature? Type of Haraidate tipical for Myouchin work, as Ian kindly pointed.
                            Bojsn S.
                            Attached Files

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                            • #15
                              An nice Zunari with several interesting features. Having a tehen is not standard practise on Zunari kabuto. Also the maedate holder is quite ”beefy”.
                              I have not seen a helmet with two testshots made on the same plate. Seriously weakens the integrity of that particular plate.
                              Overall a very nice Zunari.

                              Jan
                              Jan - Sweden

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                              • Triglav
                                Triglav commented
                                Editing a comment
                                Thank you Jan, it is interesting piece..also as bearing Myochin signature. Look"s lile test on both sides were made from two difrent distances..Don't know if this Kabuto was realy wore by someone...
                                Bojan

                              • DaveT
                                DaveT commented
                                Editing a comment
                                Actually, Jan the top plate on a zunari is called the tehen pate. During edo we see them get adapted with the kanomono.
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