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Tibetan Armor

Place of Origin: TIBET

Date: 17th–19th Century

Total Height: 30" Inches

Reference: 265

Status: Available

Full Description:

Tibetan warriors referred to their four-mirror armor as me long bzhi. Not only did they believe that it provided the wearer with protection against physical attack but, with the mirror being venerated by Buddhists, it also served as a spiritual aegis. The convex iron plates are held by leather straps and worn here over a shirt of riveted chainmail, accompanied by an armored belt and a Bhutanese helmet in a similar arrangement to those seen on the cavalrymen in the photos of the Great Prayer Festival taken in Lhasa in the 1930s and 1940s[1].

The helmet is an undecorated iron bowl but has a distinct mechanical-damascus pattern. Mounted with a plume holder atop and modern felt flaps in place to demonstrate the shape of the originals. The armored belt is a rare component, most examples now only found in museums (such as the one worn by the Metropolitan Museum’s armored cavalryman[2] who guards the arms and armor galleries on Fifth Avenue). It consists of shaped rectangular plates riveted to leather support straps that run lengthwise across the interior.

 

[1] D. La Rocca, Warriors of the Himalayas: Rediscovering the Arms and Armor of Tibet, 2006, p.7.

[2] D. La Rocca, Warriors of the Himalayas: Rediscovering the Arms and Armor of Tibet, 2006, p.134–135, no.46.