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Details
A MORO SUIT OF ARMOUR
MINDANAO, PHILIPPINES, 19TH CENTURY
The shirt formed of brass panels within a mail coat, a number of the panels set with gemset and engraved silver foliate panels, on wooden stand
23½in. (59.6cm.)

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Sara Plumbly
Sara Plumbly

Lot Essay

Moro armours such as ours consist of plates and chainmail invariably laid out in three distinct parts: torso plates, abdominal chainmail section, lower body and hip plates. The first are held together by a nexus of chainmail links protecting the upper body forming a short sleeve coat allowing both freedom of movement and relative ventilation to the wearer. The abdominal section is made of chainmail only and acted as a connective part to the lower part of the suit of armour, essentially an articulated armoured skirt composed of rectangular plates.

Copper alloys and horn are traditionally used for the plates and chainmail links. The use predominance of brass in this armour and other example could be explained by its malleability which, in a practical context, is neatly preferable as opposed to more brittle buffalo horn.

A similar suit of armour but with engraved silver clasps is was attributed to 19th Century Mindanao, Philippines (A. C. Tirri, Islamic Weapons- Maghrib to Moghul, Miami, 2003, pl. 318, p. 446) and another sold at Christie’s, London, 07 April 2011, lot 402.

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