Some years back I acquired a helmet bowl in the zunari form. I never paid too much attention to the design as most helmets that you encounter are somewhat different from each other. A few years on yet another helmet turned up which was nearly identical. Since then I have seen 8 such examples.
Each helmet has a large number or name written on the inside in red urushi. Number 12 is the highest number I have seen so far. Of the 8 I have been able to restore 4.
I am also in a very lucky position as I also own what to date is the only full set of armour. The hitsu has the mon of the Matsuura clan. These armours must be a form of okashi, they are all very similar and contain many features that suggest that they were built for an elite unit. The following images illustrate the number of restorations that I have completed. It has been something of an honour to have been able to resurrect these important pieces of Matsuura history.
Each helmet that I restored had all the flaking urushi removed. I resurfaced the damaged areas using ji-urushi and kokuso. I developed a way to create the exact colour and texture of the original lacquered used and also created an aged patina. I also made a custom odoshi braid that matched the original colour.
A side story, my son came home from school and said that they were studying the Samurai Invasion of Korea.
The date and clan of these armours suggest that they were perhaps present when the Matsuura clan formed part of the invasion away team. As he was only 15 years old at the time of the school project I dressed him up so that we could put a spin on his powerpoint presentation. Which kind of surprised his teachers.
There is a full dairy of these restorations on my Facebook group page if you would like to see them in more detail.