This helmet, or kabuto, would have been worn by a Japanese foot soldier samurai. The helmet is shallow crowned with a flared brim and is carved from wood. It has a dull finished exterior on which Japanese characters have been carved and painted in gold around the band. A slight lip in the center front of the brim provides protection from the glare of the sun. The interior has shiny black lacquer with Japanese characters at the back and a floral mon (crest) design at the front, both painted in gold. There are metal and leather loops attached around the interior band to which string could be attached.
Samurai armor first appeared during the 4th century and then evolved over the centuries according to different styles and practical needs. Style of armor varies according to status as well. O-yoroi ("great armor") is considered to be the pinnacle of samurai armor. During the Pax Tokugawa of the Edo period (1600-1868), samurai were no longer engaging in battle and therefore their armor became increasingly decorative and ornate.
A mon (also known as a ka-mon) is a Japanese family crest. Similar to coats of arms in the European tradition, a mon identifies a specific individual, family, or group/guild. Mon are usually found decorating clothing, armor, weapons, roof tiles, fans, passports, and even food labels.