The arms and armor of Tibet, Assam, and Bhutan cannot be considered separately as the borders of these countries do not reflect historic population and cultural distribution. Publication of Warriors of the Himalayas, Rediscovering the Arms and Armor of Tibet, which cataloged the exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in 2006, has contributed to the clarification of the origins of many previously obscured items. This part armor comprises three major elements which, as with the armor in the exhibition, should be considered separately. The mail coat is opened at the front and hangs below the waist with a uniform bottom edge. It comprises riveted links of uniform weight throughout, with each arm extended by about 10 rows of butted links. The helmet is Bhutanese. The deeply domed skull is made entirely of finely pattern welded or mechanical Damascus watered steel displaying a crisp and intricate whorl pattern in beautiful contrasting shades. The brim is steel, chiseled in a scale pattern and gilt. The top is mounted with a plume holder secured with hide lash. The armored belt is one of a very few of surviving examples. Another, from the Metropolitan Museum, is illustrated and discussed, ibid, pp.131 & pp. 132, where it is stated that armored belts such as this are know from a handful of examples acquired in Tibet in the early 20th century. The present example is clearly one of that group and accords in detail with the Metropolitan Museum example including its line bordered plates and wax seal to the reverse. It is complete with all plates, original buckles and leathers, with one braided securing strap broken and tied as used. This armor came to auction in England about 25 years ago and comprises elements of such rarity, that it is necessary for museums to loan elements from their collections to compose a single armor for exhibit.

Stock Number: 95-110

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