Len Makabe - Helmet of black iron worshiped God ANTEIRA

Len Makabe - Helmet of black iron worshiped God ANTEIRA


dimensions: 13.5”x12.9”x32”

by commission

“The Sengoku era was a period of constant military conflict among war lords and warring states, taking place between the 15th and 16th century in Japanese history. What kind of a helmet would I make if I were a warrior of that time? Such imagination triggered the creation of this helmet. I have been nursing the idea to commemorate my sixtieth birthday.

When I was a boy, my father and I traveled to the city of Nara, where we visited the shin Yakushi temple, which is dedicated to the healing Buddha. Twelve divine generals have also been enshrined there to protect the healing Buddha and his worshippers.

My father pointed at one of the twelve, the divine general of “Anteira” and said, “This is your god.” This twelve divine generals and combined with the twelve animals. As such, “Anteira” is associated with a monkey (my sign). Together, the twelve divine generals support the healing Buddha in his world-saving campaign. Originally, they were Indian pagan gods, and Buddhism incorporated them as divine generals who serve and protect Buddha, Bodhisattva, the Godess of Mercy, etc.

Before turning sixty, I created the divine general piece associated with the monkey that now adorns the helmet. After finishing the piece, and upon learning of the unique helmets that were crafted during the warring states period, I often imagined how I would form my own helmet. Subsequently, the divine general association with the money, and the idea of creating my own unique helmet came together to crate this helmet.

The “Anteira” god placed at the front of the helmet is clothed like an ancient Chinese general and holds a “Hossu,” a priest’s horsehair flapper which os one of the Buddhist altar fitting that came from Taoism. IT is a Buddhistic weapon shaped like a writing brush except for its long hair, and is believed to purge evil spirits, although it does not look like a weapon at all.

This piece will adorn the alcove at tea ceremonies during any year of the monkey. I plan to unveil it every twelve years when the year of the monkey comes around. This helmet embodies the prayer for peace and tranquility in the midst of a world filled with uneasiness.”

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