Body Armour thumbnail 1
Body Armour thumbnail 2
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Body Armour

19th century (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This classic four plate Indo-Iranian type of body armour was intended to be worn over other armour to provide additional protection for the torso. Its versatility led to almost continued use well into the middle of the 19th century. The degree of decoration on the plates reflected the wealth and status of the wearer.


object details
Category
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 4 parts.

  • Body Armour
  • Backplate (Body Armour)
  • Body Armour
  • Body Armour
Materials and Techniques
Steel decorated with gold kuftkari with green velvet covered leather attachments
Brief Description
Cuirass chahar aina composed of four metal plates decorated with gold kuftkari, probably Lahore, 19th century
Physical Description
Cuirass chahar aina or 'four mirrors' composed of four rectangular metal plates designed to be attached to one another by green velvet covered leather straps and buckles. The two smaller underarm plates have concave upper edges to allow free play of the arms. Each plate is of steel with a gold overlaid pattern of palmettes and tendrils arranged in a basic design of circles; this is surrounded by a border of floral and rope designs while each plate has a raised gold ridge round the edge.
Dimensions
  • Width of plate i s.209 1951 width: 22cm
  • Length of plate i s.209 1964 length: 29.5cm
  • Depth of plate i s.209 1964 depth: 2.6cm
  • Width of plate a width: 21.7cm
  • Length of plate a length: 29.4cm
  • Depth of plate a depth: 2cm
  • Width of plate b width: 19.2cm
  • Length of plate b length: 26.2cm
  • Depth of plate b depth: 3.7cm
  • Width of plate c width: 18.5cm
  • Length of plate c length: 26cm
  • Depth of plate c depth: 4.2cm
  • Overall length of 4 plates of armour length: 83cm (Note: overall length of 4 plates of armour)
Gallery Label
BODY ARMOUR Watered steel, chiselled and overlaid with gold; lined with green velvet and with leather fastenings Probably Lahore First half of the 19th century IS.209-1964 Given by the Right Hon. the Earl Kitchener of Khartoum Traditional armour in the north of the subcontinent consisted of four plates (chahar aina in Persian, literally ‘four mirrors’) worn over a mail coat. One protected the front of the body, one the back, and the two smaller pieces fitted under the arms. Leather straps linked them together. The elite of Ranjit Singh’s army would have had armour of this kind, with gold embellishment, and originally with a rich silk brocade lining covering a quilted cotton padding. (August 2017)
Credit line
Given by Lord Kitchener
Object history
Given by the Right Hon. the Earl Kitchener of Khartoum
Subjects depicted
Summary
This classic four plate Indo-Iranian type of body armour was intended to be worn over other armour to provide additional protection for the torso. Its versatility led to almost continued use well into the middle of the 19th century. The degree of decoration on the plates reflected the wealth and status of the wearer.
Associated Objects
Collection
Accession Number
IS.209 toC-1964

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record createdJune 25, 2009
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