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Mail and Plate Armour, Called “Four Mirrors” Armour

ca. 1600-1800

The armour consists of a helmet, a mail coat with four metal plates known as chahar’aina, a pair of forearm protectors called dastana or bazuband and gloves or jazrarant. The name four mirrors (in Persian chahar’aina), refers to the metal plates of which it is formed that protect the warrior's vital organs. They are worn over the mail coat, forming a light, supple set that gives great freedom of movement, particularly suitable for the mobility required in the infantry.
This type of Indo-Persian armour appeared in Iran in the early 15th century and rapidly spread to Ottoman Turkey and Mughal India, after the accession of Emperor Akbar (1542-1605). It is generally difficult to distinguish between items made in Safavid Iran and those from Mughal India as they have a number of similarities. The semi-spherical shape of the helmet is borrowed from Safavid Iran where it was particularly popular during the reigns of Shah Tahmasp and Shah Abbas. However, the decorative repertoire of the metal plates, consisting of arabesque patterns and flowery diamonds is typically Mughal and can reliably be attributed to the Mughal India of the 17th and 18th centuries, a period when the production of weapons and precious armours reached its peak.

Courtesy of Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd, London

Artwork Details

Title: Mail and Plate Armour, Called “Four Mirrors” Armour
Geography: Mughal India
Date: ca. 1600-1800

Medium: ferrous and copper alloy, silk velvet, leather

Classification: arms, military equipment, uniforms
Dimensions: 135 x 50 x 30 cm
Inventory number: LAD 2015.017
Contact for images: [email protected]


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