Leather (and other animal-derived) armours of the Ming Dynasty

Pi Jia (皮甲, leather armour or hide armour)
Ming Chinese Cowhide Scale Armour
Pi Jia, from 'Wu Bei Yao Lue (《武備要略》)'.
Pi Jia is a type of hide armour made of raw cowhide. To make this armour, a cowhide is cut into small scales, painted with tung oil, baked dry, then mixed together with iron powder (by hammering). This process is repeated again and again until every piece of cowhide scales become iron-hard. The scales are laced together into a suit of armour.

Pi Jia is used by the rank-and-file. It is usually worn on top of paper armour.


Long Lin Jia (龍鱗甲) and Xie Di Jia (鞋底甲)
Ming Chinese scale armour
Xie Di Jia (left) and Long Lin Jia (right), from 'Yu Zi Shi San Zhong Mi Shu Bing Heng (《喻子十三種秘書兵衡》)'.
Cowhide armour that covers the entire body of its wearer. 

For more detail, see my other post.


Yue Bing Kui Jia (粵兵盔甲, 'Armour of Yue Troop')
Yue Bing Kui Jia, from 'Chou Hai Tu Bian (《籌海圖編》)'.
Armour used by the militia-sailors from Yue region (粤, modern day Guangdong and Guangxi province, especially Guangxi). This armour is made of cowhide, cut into multiple bands and treated with tung oil, then joined together with studs (turning it into a studded leather armour). Its spaudlers can be further reinforced with cow horn plates.

Yue Bing Kui Jia was considered the best among leather armours.


Chu Zhou Pi Jia (處州皮甲, 'Hide armour from Chu Zhou')
A type of hide armour used by Ming troops from Chu Zhou. Recorded in Huo Long Shen Qi Zhen Fa (《火龍神器陣法》), this armour is made of raw buffalo hide, cut into multiple strips and assembled in the likeness of a Zheng Long (蒸籠, bamboo steamer), then painted with tung oil and dried. 


Chu Zhou Keng Bing Pi Jia (處州坑兵皮甲, lit. 'Hide armour of Keng Bing from Chu Zhou')
Chu Zhou Keng Bing Pi Jia, from 'Wu Bei Yao Lue (《武備要略》)'.
Auxiliary armour commonly used by Keng Bing (坑兵, lit. 'Tunnel troops', referring to troops recruited among miners) from Chu Zhou that only protects the left side of the body. It is usually worn on top of another armour.

The lower part of this armour can be lifted and hitched with a hook so that it will not hinder the wearer's movement.



Armour made of unusual material
Beside common cow and buffalo hide, Chinese sometimes made armour out of very unusual animal or animal parts.

Tan Ni Kai (唐猊鎧, lit. 'Lion armour')
Ming Chiese pangolin hide helmetMing Chinese Pangolin hide armour

Tang Ni Kai is a rather unusual armour made of pangolin hide. To make this armour, pangolin hide is boiled together with radish seed and lopseed (along with saltpetre, Glauber's salt and Sal ammoniac), before being molded into lamellar or scale plates and assembled into a complete armour.


Chuan Shan Jia Jia (穿山甲甲, 'Pangolin armour')
Ming Chinese pangolin scale armour
Chuan Shan Jia Jia, from 'Wu Bei Yao Lue (《武備要略》)'.
Chuan Shan Jia Jia is made of pangolin scales. Said to be extremely tough, it is usually reserved for high-ranking officers.


Isinglass armour of Guangzhou
Militias from Guangzhou also made armours and shields out of isinglass (hardened fish glue made from fish bladder). This armour was said to be extremely tough and bulletproof.

2 comments:

  1. Regarding "Isinglass armour of Guangzhou"...was it mentioned if it's other materials soaked in isinglass or is it somehow pure isinglass in solid form?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The record says "palm-sized plate” so I presume it is solid pure isinglass...

      Delete

StatCounter