9 / 1999

Japan * Samurai warrior's shoe with bear-fur upper

At the beginning of the 17th century, the Emperors of Japan lived a very secluded life, while the actual power in the country belonged to the "Shoguns", who kept their power with the help of Samurai warriors. The Samurai had the right to wear two swords and had to remain loyal to his Shogun until death. The attire of the Samurai was intended to raise fear on sight. For that pupose even their shoes were special and fittingly they were made of bear fur, in the believe that the animal's fierce strength could be transferred to the wearer. The sole of the above shoe is partly covered with gold and the rest of it laquered black. The vamp is made of bear skin and the upper part of silk. The metal trimmings are made of pure gold.

Research and text by : W.A.H.M. Habraken-Oosterhout-Holland
Illustration by : Colin Ball - Waalwijk - Holland