Heart and Soul of the Samurai

(Plum Blossom Warrior)

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.

Some reference pics below:


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