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Mempo

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Mempo

A Japanese Edo period wood block print of various mengu (facial armour).

Mempo (also menpō, mengu[1][2][3] or occasionally men yoroi[4]), is the term for various types of facial armour worn by the samurai class and their retainers in feudal Japan. Types of Japanese facial armour include the somen, menpō, hanpo and happuri.

Description

Mempo were facial armour which covered all or part of the face and provided a way to secure the top-heavy kabuto (helmet). The Shinobi-no-o (chin cord) of the kabuto would be tied under the chin of the mempo.[5] There were small hooks called ori-kugi or posts called odome located on various places to help secure the kabuto's chin cord. Mengu may be constructed from iron or leather, or a combination of both. They may have a lacquered or rusted type of finish and can include a variety of facial details, such as moustaches, fierce teeth and a detachable nose.[6][7] Most mempo with the exception of the happuri had a small hole underneath the chin for sweat drainage.

Mempo are similar to masks worn by armored cavalry and infantry in ancient Chinese armies from the Han Dynasty to the Song Dynasty.

Types of mempo

Somen

Somen covered the entire face

Menpō

Menpō covered the face from the nose down to the chin.

Hanbō (hanpō)

Hanbo covered the lower face from under the nose to the chin.

Happuri

Happuri covered the forehead and cheeks.

Parts of the mengu

See also

References

  1. ^ , Authors Ian Bottomley, Anthony Hopson, Contributor Anthony Hopson, reprint, Publisher Crescent Books, 1993, Original from the University of Virginia, Digitized Aug 26, 2008, ISBN 0-517-10318-4, ISBN 978-0-517-10318-0 P.77,178, 186Arms and armor of the samurai: the history of weaponry in ancient Japan
  2. ^ ) Trevor Absolon (Author), Brian Snoody (Illustrator), Barry Till (Preface), Anthony J. Bryant (Editor), Trevor Absolon & Dave thatcher (Photographer), Ian Bottomley (Introduction), Ian Bottomley & Anthony J. Bryant (Foreword) Publisher(Toraba), 2011 P.234The Watanabe Art Museum Samurai Armour Collection (Kabuto & Mengu, Volume I
  3. ^ , Author Clive Sinclaire, ,Publisher Globe Pequot, 2004, ISBN 1-59228-720-4, ISBN 978-1-59228-720-8 P.30,138Samurai: The Weapons and Spirit of the Japanese Warrior
  4. ^ , Anthony J. Bryant, Angus McBride, Osprey Publishing, 1994 p.28Samurai 1550-1600
  5. ^ , Anthony J. Bryant, Angus McBride, Osprey Publishing, 1994 p.28Samurai 1550-1600
  6. ^ , Author Clive Sinclaire, ,Publisher Globe Pequot, 2004, ISBN 1-59228-720-4, ISBN 978-1-59228-720-8 P.30,138Samurai: The Weapons and Spirit of the Japanese Warrior
  7. ^ The Watanabe Art Museum Samurai Armour Collection (Kabuto & Mengu, Volume I) Trevor Absolon (Author), Brian Snoody (Illustrator), Barry Till (Preface), Anthony J. Bryant (Editor), Trevor Absolon & Dave thatcher (Photographer), Ian Bottomley (Introduction), Ian Bottomley & Anthony J. Bryant (Foreword) Publisher(Toraba), 2011 P.234

External links

  • Samurai Arms and Armor
  • Anthony Bryant's online Japanese armour manual
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