Heart and Soul of the Samurai
The menpo, the iron battle mask, to protect the
face from cuts and instill fear in the enemy.
Based on an antique Japanese plum blossom tsuba,
I carried the theme all the way through menpo, katana, and kabuto. I used lots of
reference photos to get some historical accuracy established, even though
it is essentially a unique creation. Sas_lite was used for the horse-hair
mustache. Many of the war masks (menpo) had such hair included in varying
lenghts. The rings, mostly hooks, on the side of the menpo were used
to fasten the mask to the kabuto (helmet). Typically, there would be
also some small neck protection plates at the bottom of the menpo, but
that would have made this particular composition very awkward, so I
didn't bother to include them. The little brass fastener midway up the
helmet is one of four that hold the helmet liner. The helmet decoration
is one of a number of possibles. Some even had brass animals and dragons
mounted on them, or had actual stag horns in place of the brass device.