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Mengu - Facial Armour
Mengu, or items of facial armour, are know to have been used as far back as the early samurai warriors of the Heian period. Yet such pieces, which were unique in their design were the exception and it was not until several centuries later, during the later part of the Muromachi period, that the universal wearing of the more commonly recognizable forms of mengu that are popular with collectors today actually came into use.
Though designed to protect the face, mengu also added a powerful physiological aspect to the appearance of the warrior, often skilfully forged to depict fierce and some sometime even grotesque and intimidating expressions. On a practical level, mengu also provided a base for securing the cords of the heavy kabuto helmets around, which due to their top heavy nature had to be tightly tied in place to stabilize them during rigours movement, which as such, could cut uncomfortably into the skin of an uncovered face. Mengu were thus generally fitted with protruding lugs and hooks for this purpose, styles and designs of which were as varied as the multitude of unique and brilliantly crafted items of facial armour that developed over the centuries.
Toraba.com always has a unique and varied selection of authentic period mengu. Please take time explore the individual links below for further images and information in regards to these classic items.
New mengu are added monthly, so be sure to register if you wish to receive email notification from Toraba when new listings occur, or click here to request us to source a specific item for you.
Several items of mengu will be added this first week of March! Newsletters will be forward before the listings go live.