One of Dover’s sea captains, Washington Hardy (1838—1916), brought this Edo period Japanese armor back to Dover on his return from a voyage to the Far East. It is probably from the 17th century and made of steel, leather, wood, and silk cording. The armor (or “karuta”) was custom-fit to each person and was ceremonial as well as practical. The ugly features of the mask were meant to terrify the enemy. A suit weighed between 11 and 50 pounds, but it also had to be flexible because samurai often rode on horseback. Captain Hardy’s career spanned over 46 years and he circumnavigated the globe thirteen times before his retirement in 1901.
H1, first alcove