Mumei (unsigned): Jingasa

Size: height 11 cm, diameter 45 cm

Period: Late Edo

With a wood-box

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This jingasa has a handsome black lacquer with karakusa-makie and family crest.

The jingasa (lit. “camp hat”) was a type of hat worn by Japanese warriors when traveling or encamped, it is typically lacquered, making it especially lightweight and waterproof.

The term has evolved with the words jin (陣), that means military, and kasa (笠) meaning hat.

Jingasa developed both in shape and decoration during the Edo period (1603-1867) and were a symbol of samurai culture. The origin of the word jingasa is unclear but it appears in the history of Zōhyō Monogatari (1657).

The jingasa as protection was used by ashigaru from the 15th century. Cheap and easy to produce (mass-produced caps made of paper, leather or iron) compared to Kabuto, the jingasa was the perfect cap to equip thousands of ordinary soldiers and ashigaru.

During the Edo period, heavy and expensive Kabuto became useless during this period of peace, which is why the samurai adopted jingasa. That is because in addition to protecting the head against blows the jingasa also served as protection against the sun or rain. It played also the role of a marker indicating the status of the wearer’s family in society.

Karakusa (arabesque patterns) is the Japanese term for the style of design taken from the patterns found in stalk, tendril, the linkages between the leaves and vines of plants. Countless variations developed featuring a wide range of flowers and plants. This form entered Japan together with Buddhist art during the Nara period (710-794).

Over the centuries, Japanese lacquer workers developed lavish styles of decorations using powdered gold and silver to adorn their ware. This style of decorating lacquer is known as Makie. The use of this technique was first developed during the Heian period in Japan and started to gain its popularity during the Edo period. Makie were initially designed as household items for the court nobles but as it gained popularity, royal families and military leaders began to adopt it as a symbol of power.