Sashimono are small banners worn by warriors, usually for identification during battles. The sashimono are usually fitted to the backs of common soldiers, known as Ashigaru, to elite samurai, and in special holders on the horses of some cavalry soldiers. The banners resembled small flags and hung from an L-shaped frame, which was attached to the body armour by a socket near the waistline and hinged at shoulder level with a ring. While this arrangement is perhaps one of the most common, there are other variations. Silk and leather are the most common materials used.

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Given the great variety in Japanese armour, sashimono were used to provide a sense of “uniform” to the armies. The sashimono were typically black and white and came in either square or short rectangular forms, although many variations existed. A variation that is often bigger and coloured is the uma-jirushi, which were large, personalized, sashimono-like flags worn by commanders. Similar to this were the very large and narrow nobori banners, which commonly took two or three men to hold erect and were used to control the direction of fighting during large battles.

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