This replica samurai suit was made in the 19th century. Suits such as this would have been worn in Japan from the late 17th to the 18th centuries. At the end of the 19th century there was a great interest in Japanese and Chinese art, and it became fashionable throughout Europe. Museums such as this one - which was at that time the National Museum of Science - and Art and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London collected a lot of Asian art.
Did you know?
The Samurai as a grouping or social class had begun to evolve in the 12th century as soldiers and body guards. The Samurai probably made up only around 10% of the population at this time, but by the 18th century they were the rulers of Japan. As rulers, the Samurai were the only people allowed to carry swords and they enjoyed great power. A Samurai also lived by a strict code called ‘The Way of the Warrior’. ‘The Way of the Warrior’ placed great emphasis on loyalty, vengeance, personal honour and ‘Seppuku’ (honour suicide). Samurai also dressed in a distinctive way and as such were instantly recognisable. There are 23 parts in the samurai suit and each part had its own special name, for example, the ‘Helmet of Kabuto’ - made of iron with 20 studded panels around the sides and a decorated gilt panel at front and back and two decorative horns in front.
Made of: Iron
Find in the Museum: Out of Storage Exhibition, first floor.