Hanpo Restoration

I was asked to restore a hanpo face mask for the Samurai Art Museum in Berlin. The hanpo had been purchased at the same time as a kabuto and was believed to be matched. I had restored the kabuto over a year prior, and when the mask came in, I had some doubts that it was original to the helmet. Upon inspection, the hanpo was indeed a stray that had been married over the years. Reasons for this were that the dirty lacing was a different weave and one would expect the tare on the mask to match the shikoro of the helmet, but the shikoro was red, and the tare was black.

Over the years someone had attempted a repair using epoxy resin on the chin which I removed and filled with sabi-urushi. The tare lames were very rusted, so I had to remove all the old urushi and recoat the surfaces. I wrapped the bottom of each lame in deer hide to reinforce the edge.

I decided to change the colour of the tare to red so that it would match the shikoro on the helmet. I made an urushi effect that mimics old red lacquer so that the repairs would blend in and look old. Mixing the red to match the urushi on the helmet from memory was a challenge, but I suceeded, and the mask now is back at the museum with its matching helmet.