Plated mail

For armour made entirely of plates, see Plate armour.
"Splint mail" redirects here. For armors made from long metal strips, see Splint armour.
Russian plated mail armour, Hermanni linn Museum, Narva, Estonia.
Polish: Bechter diagramm
Different types of joining plates to mail

Plated mail (mail and plate armour, plated chainmail, splinted mail/chainmail) is a type of mail with embedded plates. Armour of this type has been used in the Middle East, Japan, China, Korea, Vietnam, Central Asia, Greater Iran, India, Eastern Europe, and by the Moors.

Types of plated mail

In Russia there are three known varieties of this armour. These were adopted from Persia, initially as Persian exports, and have Persian names.

According to Bobrov[2] the first plated mail appeared as cuisses in the Middle East, and were imported by the Golden Horde. Iranian miniatures of the first half of 15th century show different combinations of plated mail with lamellar armor and brigandines sometimes worn with a single round mirror plate as breast re-enforcement. The first representation of plated mail as body protection is shown in Iranian miniatures, which show plated mail composed of relatively large plates, worn with laminar pauldrons and skirt (formed from long, horizontal plates), re-enforced by a large round mirror plate. The first representation of classic plated mail (without lamellar elements) can be seen in Baghdad's miniature which dates from 1465. From the end of the 15th century plated mail began to fully replace lamellar armours. The main difference between eastern European (Russian and Polish) and Oriental plated mail is that eastern European versions usually do not have sleeves, while Oriental versions have sleeves (the forearms were protected by vambraces). In a heavy version these sleeves have embedded plates, and a light version (more widely used) has sleeves entirely made from mail.

In Kitab al-Durra al-Maknuna (The Book of the Hidden Pearl) Jābir ibn Hayyān describes plated mail for use in armours (jawasin), helmets (bid), and shields (daraq).[3]

In Japan plated mail is called "karuta", small square or rectangular plates with the gaps between them filled with mail.[4]

The Korean version of this armour is known as gyeongbeongap (경번갑/鏡幡甲). The most famous general who used this type of armor was General Chonji.

See also


  1. 1 2 Leonid A. Bobrov "Iron hawks from the territory of Maveranahr" (sets of the defensive equipment of the warriors of the Middle Asia and the neighbouring territories in 16th–17th centuries)
  2. Леонид Бобров "Защитное вооружение среднеазиатского воина эпохи позднего средневековья" (Leonid Bobrov "Panoply of a Late Medieval Central Asian Warrior")
    illustrations of different kind of plated mails
  3. Ahmad Y Hassan, The Colouring of Gemstones, the Purifying and Making of Pearls, and Other Useful Recipes
  4. Ian Bottomley & A. P. Hopson, Arms and Armor of the Samurai: The History of Weaponry in Ancient Japan, pp. 88 & 91.
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