Russian mail and plate armour (behterets), Hermanni linn Museum, Narva, Estonia
Polish: Bechter diagramm
Different methods of joining plates to mail

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


In Russia, there are three known varieties of mail and plate armour. These were adopted from Persian, initially as Persian exports,[citation needed] and have Persian names.

According to Bobrov[3] the first mail and plate armor appeared as cuisses in the Middle East, and were imported by the Golden Horde. Persian miniatures of the first half of 15th century show different combinations of mail and plate armour with lamellar armor and brigandines sometimes worn with a single round mirror plate as breast re-enforcement. The first representation of mail and plate armour as body protection is shown in Persian miniatures, which show mail and plate armour 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 mail and plate armour (without lamellar elements) can be seen in Baghdad's miniature which dates from 1465. From the end of the 15th century mail and plate armour began to fully replace lamellar armours. The main difference between eastern European (Russian and Polish) and Oriental mail and plate armor (according to Bobrov) is that eastern European versions usually do not have sleeves, while Oriental versions have sleeves (the forearms were protected by vambraces).[citation needed] 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 mail and plate armour for use in armours (jawasin), helmets (bid), and shields (daraq).[4]

Indian mail was constructed with alternating rows of solid links and round riveted links and it was often integrated with plate protection (mail and plate armour).The use of mail and plate armour in india declined in the 18th century. Mail and plate armour was documented in the Battle of Plassey by the Nawabs of Bengal. [citation needed] Mail and plate armor, called baju lamina, was also used by some of the people of Southeast Asia, namely the Bugis, Torajans and Malay.[5][6] An early reference of this armor type was mentioned by the son of Alfonso de Albuquerque in the 16th century.[7][8]

In Japan, mail and plate armour is called "karuta", small square or rectangular rawhide or metal plates with the gaps between them filled with mail.[9]

The first known use of iron plate mail in Korea was used by the Gaya Confederacy between 42 and 562 AD. A large number of iron and steel artifacts, including iron armor, iron horse armor such as helmets and bits, and smaller iron ingots (often used as money), have been found in the Daeseong-dong tombs in Gimhae. Gimhae (김해, 金海) literally means "Sea of Iron", as if the city's name symbolizes the abundance of iron in the area. Surviving examples are currently on display at the Gimhae National Museum in South Korea.[10] The later 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.[citation needed]


See also


  1. ^ Nicolle, David; Shpakovsky, Viacheslav (25 May 2002). Medieval Russian Armies 1250–1500. Bloomsbury USA. p. 45. ISBN 978-1-84176-234-0.
  2. ^ a b 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)
  3. ^ Леонид Бобров "Защитное вооружение среднеазиатского воина эпохи позднего средневековья" (Leonid Bobrov "Panoply of a Late Medieval Central Asian Warrior") Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine
    [ Archived 2011-06-12 at the Wayback Machine illustrations of different kind of mail and plate armour
  4. ^ Ahmad Y Hassan, The Colouring of Gemstones, the Purifying and Making of Pearls, and Other Useful Recipes
  5. ^ Albert G. van Zonneveld: Traditional weapons of the Indonesian archipelago. C. Zwartenkot Art Books, Leiden 2001, ISBN 90-5450-004-2, p. 28.
  6. ^ Klinkert, Hillebrandus Cornelius (1926). Nieuw Nederlandsch-maleisch Woordenboek. N. v. boekhandel en drukkerij voorheen E. J. Brill. p. 546.
  7. ^ The son of Afonso de Albuquerque (1774). Commentários do Grande Afonso Dalbuquerque parte III. Lisboa: Na Regia Officina Typografica. p. 144.
  8. ^ Birch, Walter de Gray (1875). The Commentaries of the Great Afonso Dalboquerque, Second Viceroy of India, translated from the Portuguese edition of 1774 volume III. London: The Hakluyt society. p. 127.
  9. ^ Ian Bottomley & A. P. Hopson, Arms and Armor of the Samurai: The History of Weaponry in Ancient Japan, pp. 88 & 91.
  10. ^ Pak, John. "'Sea of Iron', Gimhae embraces Gaya history". Retrieved 14 April 2015.