made circa 1560 -- Musée de l'Armée, Paris

There was nothing particularly beautiful about the black body armor and helmet I wore when I embedded with the military “downrange,”  though I did find a  sober beauty in the mottled light of a cammie net and the dusty browns of battle rattle.  Still, even our military’s dress uniforms get nowhere near the splendor of yore — a WSJ review of a show in Paris’s Musée de l’Armée makes me want to hop a plane to see shields and helmets so splendid they could have defeated enemies with sheer awe, forget the shock. Of course, they weren’t the only ones — anyone see the show of Samurai weaponry and armor at the Metropolitan Museum last year?

Eboshi-Shaped Kabuto (Helmet) with Maedate (Crest) in the Form of a Mantis Edo period, 17th century Iron, lacquer, cord, silk, wood, gold, and papier-mâché; H. of bowl: 8 in. (20.3 cm) - Art of the Samurai at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

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