Neck protector for fireman's helmet (hikeshi-shikoro)

late Edo period
mid-19th century

Object Place: Japan


162 x 92 cm (63 3/4 x 36 1/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Wool embroidered with silk and gold-metallic thread

Not On View


Asia, Textiles and Fashion Arts



Neck protector for samurai fireman’s helmet (hikeshi-shikoro) with design of a large dragon embroidered with black and gray broadcloth with gilt yarns couched over cording to create a relief effect. Along the bottom on one side are Chinese characters (artist signature: Chiku Koku) worked with black cord and artist’s stamp in red (Ryo Kan); the eyes of the dragon are glass. Lined with brocade woven with golden brown silk and gilt paper strip diaper pattern; shape is semi-circular with “frog” closure and buttons at neck; slit 3/4 up the center back.

All members of a samurai family had their respective fire fighting wardrobe. This neck protector possibly belonged to the wife of a daimyô.


Signed in ink: painted by Chiku Koku


By 1911, purchased by William Sturgis Bigelow (b. 1850 - d. 1926), Boston [see note 1]; 1911, gift of Bigelow to the MFA. (Accession Date: August 3, 1911)

[1] Much of Bigelow's collection of Asian art was formed during his residence in Japan between 1882 and 1889, although he also made acquisitions in Europe and the United States. Bigelow deposited many of these objects at the MFA in 1890 before donating them to the Museum's collection at later dates.

Credit Line

William Sturgis Bigelow Collection