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Shirt of Mail and Plate

Date:
late 15th–16th century
Geography:
possibly Istanbul
Culture:
Turkish, possibly Istanbul
Medium:
Steel, iron, copper alloy, silver
Dimensions:
as mounted, H. 34 in. (86.4 cm); Wt. 20 lb. 10 oz. (9,349 g)
Classification:
Coat of mail and plate
Credit Line:
Bequest of George C. Stone, 1935
Accession Number:
36.25.362
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 455
Shirts constructed of small interlocking rings, called mail, were the principal body defense of Muslim warriors since the time of the Prophet Muhammad. By the late fourteenth century, this flexible defense was reinforced with rigid plates to cover the vital areas of the torso. The engraved and silvered damascened inscriptions on this armored shirt, rendered in a flamboyant kufic script, contain well-wishing phrases utilizing the words "glory" and "wealth."
Marking: Stamped on the front of the lower left plate: the Constantinople arsenal mark.
[William Ockelford Oldman, London, before 1935; sold to Stone]; George Cameron Stone, New York (by 1934–d. November 18, 1935; his bequest to MMA).
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