It doesn't get much better than this ca.1892-95 studio portrait by T. ENAMI showing some of the accouterments of an "Ancient Warrior" --- as Enami himself titled the image.
Actually, there are only one or two other close, classic Meiji-era portraits of Samurai --- taken by other photographers --- that fall into this class. Check out this fantastic old print on eBay : cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=310133771...
Both the above glass plate photo, and the hand-applied colors are over 110 years old.
It is highly possible that this is the same armor that T. ENAMI used later for his own self-portrait seen here : www.flickr.com/photos/24443965@N08/2383039735/
There is something else you should know to keep your history balanced and complete :
THE GAY LIFE
These days, when we talk about or visualize the Glorious Samurai, our mention of them is usually devoid of something important. The world's social and religious aversion to homosexuality has worked to separate and sweep under the rug this once-understood and accepted facet of the Samurai.
In its place, we are left with a group of men who have been "cleansed and sanctified" in the minds of Westerners who have been raised in a nominally monotheistic religious culture, giving us a conservative republican Samurai Warrior with Western, Judeo-Christian family values, living with a so-called "honorable" code of ethics that makes for the stuff of macho dreams found in testosterone-fueled Hollywood movies.
Time to set the record straight :
CONSERVATIVE STATEMENT from the WEB :
KICK-ASS STATEMENT from the WEB :
Sumurai --- Virile, Strong, Warriors among Men, and Fighters after the Spirit of Bushido --- The Last Samurai of Hollywood fiction --- ALSO CARRIED THE BANNER OF HOMOSEXUAL LOVE INTO BATTLE WITH THEM, AND PRACTICED HOMOSEXUAL LOVE AS AN HONORED AND TRADITIONAL WAY OF LIFE.
Therefore, if you are a fan of "all things Samurai", you better not be anti-homosexual, and you better not be a GAY BASHER. The real Samurai held GAY LOVE in high esteem, and encouraged it. Gay love and relationships were considered beneficial for the youth, teaching him virtue, honesty and the appreciation of beauty.