Tales of Te Papa resource masthead


Samurai Armour

Episode:43Te Papa Collection:History

Suggested curriculum levels:4 – 7

Curriculum connections:English: Listening, Reading, and Viewing, Science:Material World, Social Sciences: Identity, Culture, and Organisation

Description:Conservator Rose Evans spent two years giving a Samurai suit an extreme makeover. Little was known about the history of the armour, or how to restore it.

Questions for students

  1. What is a conservator? What words do you know that are similar to it? Use the 'Words' response template to explore this and other new words you hear in this Tale.
  2. The conservator says that the helmet has 'cinnabar-pigmented lacquer inside and that would reflect on the wearer and be quite scary.' What do you understand from this statement? Use the images and other sources of information to find out what cinnabar-pigmented lacquer is and what it would look like. Try to visualise the effect it would have.
  3. What connections can you make between this armour and that of other cultures? How are they the same? How are they different? What would determine these similarities and differences?
  4. The presenter lists the materials used in the armour. How could you find out about the properties of the different materials used, and the ways each material would respond to temperature and humidity over time? Carry out research and record your findings.
  5. The armour was made in 1735 in Japan and acquired by the museum in 1883. What do you think might have happened to it between those years? How do you think it came to be in New Zealand?

Related templates: