RM 54-53 Japanese Warrior Monk, 1180
The Japanese warrior monks from the regions of Enrykuji or Nara (circa 1180) were, in battle dress, almost indistinguishable from ordinary samurai. The monk’s traditional weapon was a fierce-looking cutting weapon called naginata which was a form of glaive. They were expert archers on horseback, a skill which was to become the traditional art of yabusame, still performed at festivals. The monks wore a succession of wide-sleeved kimonos, over which a stiff black or yellow jacket of a gauze material would be worn, and under the outer kimomo that was white, tan or saffron, they wore a wrap-around do-maru, rather like a protective flack jacket, made up of lacquered metal or leather scales laced together in overlapping rows. Some also wore armour sleeves under the ample sleeves of the kimono, consisting of a cloth tube to which small armour plates were sewn at vulnerable places. The usual headwear was a cowl, folded and tied around the head leaving only the face exposed, otherwise a white headband was tied around their shaven heads. Fuller head protection would, of course, necessitate the wearing of a helmet instead of a cowl. The lower leg was often covered by gaiters and on their feet they wore straw sandals over white socks, or wooden clogs called getas, made from one piece of wood which provided a raised platform.
Sculptor: Maurizio Bruno.
Historical research, and translation: Riccardo Carrabino.
Text: Lorenzo Romeo.