Information

What is the history of zirah bagtar armor used in India?


I am looking for information on zirah bagtar style of plate and chain armor.

I am currently recreating a suit of that armor in this style and a history of its use and development have been difficult to pin down. The style of armor was brought into India by the Mughals. The plate and chain styles of armor were first seen in the Middle East in the form of leg protection. This form of armor is also seen in Japanese culture with a different appearance but similar techniques.

One of the issues that I keep running into is that a lot of the information on this style of armor is not in English, so finding source material is difficult. While I can duplicate the style and the techniques, I am left with a minimal background of how and why the armor developed in the form it did, in contrast the to European model of development of more full plate styles.


I have several hypotheses in concept of design:

  • one involves the climate of the regions. Plate armor is dangerous to use in hot climates. More so than the open armor design. This is one possibility for the difference in design development.

  • The other major one is that people just liked the look. Armor design was often determined by fashion trends as much as defensive value. The other point of interest is the possibilities of religious influence in the development of this particular style of armor; many armors of this style are decorated with Islamic symbols.

  • The final hypothesis is the potential lack of appropriate materials, though this is questionable since the Ottoman Empire was more advanced than their European counterparts during much of the historical era in which this armor was prevalent.


Armour

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Armour, also spelled armor, also called body armour, protective clothing with the ability to deflect or absorb the impact of projectiles or other weapons that may be used against its wearer. Until modern times, armour worn by combatants in warfare was laboriously fashioned and frequently elaborately wrought, reflecting the personal importance placed by the vulnerable soldier on its protection and also frequently the social importance of its wearer within the group. Modern technology has brought about the development of lighter protective materials that are fashioned into a variety of apparel suited to the hazards of modern warfare. With the rise of terrorism and the use of powerful personal weapons by criminals, armour is now frequently worn by police, by private nonmilitary security forces, and even by noncombatants who might be targets of attack.


The Vachères warrior, 1st century BC, a statue depicting a Romanized Gaulish warrior wearing chainmail and a Celtic torc around his neck, wielding a Celtic-style shield. Fresco of an ancient Macedonian soldier ( thorakitai ) wearing chainmail armor and bearing a thureos shield

The earliest example of surviving mail was found in a chieftain's burial located in Ciumești, Romania. [3] Its invention is commonly credited to the Celts, [4] but there are examples of Etruscan pattern mail dating from at least the 4th century BC. [5] [6] [7] Mail may have been inspired by the much earlier scale armour. [8] [9] Mail spread to North Africa, West Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, India, Tibet, South East Asia, and Japan.

Ciumești is a commune located in Satu Mare County, Romania.

Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe. It borders the Black Sea to the southeast, Bulgaria to the south, Ukraine to the north, Hungary to the west, Serbia to the southwest, and Moldova to the east. It has a predominantly temperate-continental climate. With a total area of 238,397 square kilometres (92,046 sq mi), Romania is the 12th largest country and also the 7th most populous member state of the European Union, having almost 20 million inhabitants. Its capital and largest city is Bucharest, and other major urban areas include Cluj-Napoca, Timișoara, Iași, Constanța, Craiova, and Brașov.

The Celts are an Indo-European ethnolinguistic group of Europe identified by their use of Celtic languages and cultural similarities. The history of pre-Celtic Europe and the exact relationship between ethnic, linguistic and cultural factors in the Celtic world remains uncertain and controversial. The exact geographic spread of the ancient Celts is disputed in particular, the ways in which the Iron Age inhabitants of Great Britain and Ireland should be regarded as Celts have become a subject of controversy. According to one theory, the common root of the Celtic languages, the Proto-Celtic language, arose in the Late Bronze Age Urnfield culture of Central Europe, which flourished from around 1200 BC.

Herodotus wrote that the ancient Persians wore scale armor, but mail is also distinctly mentioned in the Avesta, the ancient holy scripture of the Persian religion of Zoroastrianism that was founded by the prophet Zoroaster in the 5th century BC. [10]

The Avesta is the primary collection of religious texts of Zoroastrianism, composed in the otherwise unrecorded Avestan language.

Zoroastrianism, or Mazdayasna, is one of the world's oldest religions that remains active. It is a monotheistic faith, centered in a dualistic cosmology of good and evil and an eschatology predicting the ultimate destruction of evil. Ascribed to the teachings of the Iranian-speaking prophet Zoroaster, it exalts a deity of wisdom, Ahura Mazda, as its Supreme Being. Major features of Zoroastrianism, such as messianism, judgment after death, heaven and hell, and free will may have influenced other religious systems, including Second Temple Judaism, Gnosticism, Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism.

Zoroaster, also known as Zarathustra, Zarathushtra Spitama, or Ashu Zarathushtra, was an ancient Iranian prophet, spiritual leader and ethical philosopher who taught a spiritual philosophy of self-realization and realization of the Divine. His teachings challenged the existing traditions of the Indo-Iranian religion and later developed into the religion of Mazdayasna or Zoroastrianism. He inaugurated a movement that eventually became the dominant religion in Ancient Iran. He was a native speaker of Old Avestan and lived in the eastern part of the Iranian Plateau, but his exact birthplace is uncertain.

Mail continues to be used in the 21st century as a component of stab-resistant body armour, cut-resistant gloves for butchers and woodworkers, shark-resistant wetsuits for defense against shark bites, and a number of other applications.

A wetsuit is a garment, usually made of foamed neoprene, which is worn by surfers, divers, windsurfers, canoeists, and others engaged in water sports and other activities in or on water, primarily providing thermal insulation, but also buoyancy and protection from abrasion, ultraviolet exposure and stings from marine organisms. The insulation properties depend on bubbles of gas enclosed within the material, which reduce its ability to conduct heat. The bubbles also give the wetsuit a low density, providing buoyancy in water.


The History Of Chain Mail

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Many archeologists have come to believe that chainmail was invented by the Celts because rusty masses were found in some Celtic graves, dating as far back as 400 BC, and they were identified as being remains of old chain mails. However, the earliest known record of chain mail armor is of a Persian solider who was wearing a chain mail shirt in battle around 359 BC.

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Also, some samples of Mail go as far back as to the Etruscans however, it seems that the Etruscan mail is constructed in a pattern closely related to that of the Japanese and some Italian patterns, rather than the common European 4 in 1 pattern.

Then, around the 2nd Century BC after the Celts had defeated the Romans, they had demanded a large ransom for leaving the Romans occupied territories. Despite their defeat in battle, the Romans found that the Gauls wore the first known examples of European Pattern chainmail shirts and found they were impressed by the Celts and their armor, and soon adopted the oval shield, chainmail, and helmets for their secondary troops. The Roman chainmail shirts were referred to as Lorica Hamata.

The Roman Lorica Hamata is interesting in the sense that half of the links that made up the shirt were solid rings, punched from metal sheets. This technique can even be found in later European chainmail examples, but most European chainmail is made entirely from the drawn-wire links. Another example of chain mail with punched links is called “Theta” or “Bar Link” which comes from Persia and India. It is called “Theta” or “Bar Link” because the punched links have a bar going across their centre which makes them resemble the Greek letter and mathematical term “Theta”.

From the 2nd Century of the Common Era, through the fall of the Roman Empire and into the so called Dark Ages, chainmail seems to have been a common armor all over Europe, including further down to what we now call the Middle East, and north into the Viking cultures and even into the far east where the Japanese began to develop their own styles of chainmail. The only culture that didn’t develop its own chainmail armor is China, even though they did wear imported chainmail from the Middle East.

The common patterns of the Japanese were lighter and more open than the European patterns, but they were made of a superior quality tempered wire that wasn’t riveted. Some links in Japanese mail were double or even triple wrapped for strength. Much like the best European chainmail makers, the Japanese also paid good attention to which parts of the body the armor was supposed to be protecting. Chainmail over ones chest would be thing and strong, but on the elbows, were flexibility is important, the chainmail would be lighter.

However, it is not completely fair to compare the chainmail’s from Europe and Japan because the fighting styles evolved on completely different tangents. European armor had to be heavier in order to deal with the crushing weapons which were commonly found in their battles, even though heat exhaustion was common because of the thicker and less breathable armor. Japanese fighting techniques required lighter and faster weapons, therefore making mobility a greater concern.

As some countries were already developing their chain mail armor, the Vikings in northern Europe began to utilize this style of armor as well. A Viking warrior’s attire varied from the very basic to much more comprehensively equipped. The poorer Vikings had to make do with simple protective garments of padded leather however, reindeer hide was reputedly even more effective than chain mail. Chain mail required a lot of intense labour to make and it was also extremely heavy, but very difficult to penetrate. Chain mail was even used in helmets which took immense skill to make. Some other warriors in the Viking era who used chain mail armor were the Anglo Saxons. Saxon mail was generally more decorative than the plain Viking style but by the 11th century, when warriors across northern Europe all wore similar chain mail, the Anglo Saxon swords and armor were the equipment of wealthy warriors.

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As mail evolved in some cultures it became common to use the flexible chainmail to link together larger protective metal plates. This was especially common in Persian examples of Plate and Chainmail armors. Persia also claims to have had some unique mail patterns of its own.

In the Ottoman Empire in the 15th and 16th centuries, the armed forces were very diverse. However, much of the armor and weaponry, such as chain and plate mail coats, curved swords and round shields, were very similar to those found from the same period across a wide area of the Islamic world. A body armor known as a Zirh Gomlek was composed of both riveted and solid mail links with plates engraved with scrolling foliage. In an example found of this mail there was inscription on the plate mail which translated into “Power is in obedience. Wealth is in contentment. May the end be to the best.” At this point in time, chian mail had been intergrated into helmets, plate mail and gloves but the Ottoman had tried it with boots. Although they were heavy and uncomfortable, the boots made up of four plates fastened to each other with 3 columns of mail at the front, back and sides, with the mail continuing around and under sole, provided great protection for the wearer.

In the early 18th century in Asia, a special armor jacket known as a Zereh Bagtar and an armor coat were the both interesting examples of combining chain and plate mail together. The Zereh Bagtar is a armor jacket which resembles a haubergeon but it has longer sleeves and all around the upper body area there are columns of small plates. The armor coat is an Indian style of combined chain and plate mail with four large plates at the front, two smaller ones at the sides and further plates at the back. This particular style was favored by Mughal emperors despite the fact it did not offer absolute protection. Any missiles and stabbing weapons could potentially penetrate the areas of riveted mail. Chain and plate mail combinations were in general use across the Islamic world from the Ottoman Empire to Central Asia by the 15th Century and they were the predominant armor of Mughal India.

As plate armor began to develop in Europe, it became common to start using chainmail to protect areas that need to flex more that the metal plates would allow. Chainmail became very common in elbow joints, knees and so on. This plate and main “Transition armor” along with Persian Plate and Chainmail, are some of the Armors the cross classification. It wasn’t long before full plate armor became popular and with the invention of the fully articulated joints, chainmail began to lose its popularity. However, it still did hold a place in history as it was used as decoration and armor up until the First World War.

In the present day, one can still find use for chainmail in certain industries. Butchers commonly wear fine mail gloves in order to protect their hands, and shark divers wear entire suits of fine mail. This fine mail is made from strong welded links and is woven on large machines. Other decorative and practical uses for chain mail can also be found, especially in the historical reenactments.

Many archeologists have come to believe that chainmail was invented by the Celts because rusty masses were found in some Celtic graves, dating as far back as 400 BC, and they were identified as being remains of old chain mails. However, the earliest known record of chain mail armor is of a Persian solider who was wearing a chain mail shirt in battle around 359 BC.

Also, some samples of Mail go as far back as to the Etruscans however, it seems that the Etruscan mail is constructed in a pattern closely related to that of the Japanese and some Italian patterns, rather than the common European 4 in 1 pattern.

Then, around the 2nd Century BC after the Celts had defeated the Romans, they had demanded a large ransom for leaving the Romans occupied territories. Despite their defeat in battle, the Romans found that the Gauls wore the first known examples of European Pattern chainmail shirts and found they were impressed by the Celts and their armor, and soon adopted the oval shield, chainmail, and helmets for their secondary troops. The Roman chainmail shirts were referred to as Lorica Hamata.

The Roman Lorica Hamata is interesting in the sense that half of the links that made up the shirt were solid rings, punched from metal sheets. This technique can even be found in later European chainmail examples, but most European chainmail is made entirely from the drawn-wire links. Another example of chain mail with punched links is called “Theta” or “Bar Link” which comes from Persia and India. It is called “Theta” or “Bar Link” because the punched links have a bar going across their centre which makes them resemble the Greek letter and mathematical term “Theta”.

From the 2nd Century of the Common Era, through the fall of the Roman Empire and into the so called Dark Ages, chainmail seems to have been a common armor all over Europe, including further down to what we now call the Middle East, and north into the Viking cultures and even into the far east where the Japanese began to develop their own styles of chainmail. The only culture that didn’t develop its own chainmail armor is China, even though they did wear imported chainmail from the Middle East.

The common patterns of the Japanese were lighter and more open than the European patterns, but they were made of a superior quality tempered wire that wasn’t riveted. Some links in Japanese mail were double or even triple wrapped for strength. Much like the best European chainmail makers, the Japanese also paid good attention to which parts of the body the armor was supposed to be protecting. Chainmail over ones chest would be thing and strong, but on the elbows, were flexibility is important, the chainmail would be lighter.

However, it is not completely fair to compare the chainmail’s from Europe and Japan because the fighting styles evolved on completely different tangents. European armor had to be heavier in order to deal with the crushing weapons which were commonly found in their battles, even though heat exhaustion was common because of the thicker and less breathable armor. Japanese fighting techniques required lighter and faster weapons, therefore making mobility a greater concern.

As some countries were already developing their chain mail armor, the Vikings in northern Europe began to utilize this style of armor as well. A Viking warrior’s attire varied from the very basic to much more comprehensively equipped. The poorer Vikings had to make do with simple protective garments of padded leather however, reindeer hide was reputedly even more effective than chain mail. Chain mail required a lot of intense labour to make and it was also extremely heavy, but very difficult to penetrate. Chain mail was even used in helmets which took immense skill to make. Some other warriors in the Viking era who used chain mail armor were the Anglo Saxons. Saxon mail was generally more decorative than the plain Viking style but by the 11th century, when warriors across northern Europe all wore similar chain mail, the Anglo Saxon swords and armor were the equipment of wealthy warriors.

As mail evolved in some cultures it became common to use the flexible chainmail to link together larger protective metal plates. This was especially common in Persian examples of Plate and Chainmail armors. Persia also claims to have had some unique mail patterns of its own.

In the Ottoman Empire in the 15th and 16th centuries, the armed forces were very diverse. However, much of the armor and weaponry, such as chain and plate mail coats, curved swords and round shields, were very similar to those found from the same period across a wide area of the Islamic world. A body armor known as a Zirh Gomlek was composed of both riveted and solid mail links with plates engraved with scrolling foliage. In an example found of this mail there was inscription on the plate mail which translated into “Power is in obedience. Wealth is in contentment. May the end be to the best.” At this point in time, chian mail had been intergrated into helmets, plate mail and gloves but the Ottoman had tried it with boots. Although they were heavy and uncomfortable, the boots made up of four plates fastened to each other with 3 columns of mail at the front, back and sides, with the mail continuing around and under sole, provided great protection for the wearer.

In the early 18th century in Asia, a special armor jacket known as a Zereh Bagtar and an armor coat were the both interesting examples of combining chain and plate mail together. The Zereh Bagtar is a armor jacket which resembles a haubergeon but it has longer sleeves and all around the upper body area there are columns of small plates. The armor coat is an Indian style of combined chain and plate mail with four large plates at the front, two smaller ones at the sides and further plates at the back. This particular style was favored by Mughal emperors despite the fact it did not offer absolute protection. Any missiles and stabbing weapons could potentially penetrate the areas of riveted mail. Chain and plate mail combinations were in general use across the Islamic world from the Ottoman Empire to Central Asia by the 15th Century and they were the predominant armor of Mughal India.

As plate armor began to develop in Europe, it became common to start using chainmail to protect areas that need to flex more that the metal plates would allow. Chainmail became very common in elbow joints, knees and so on. This plate and main “Transition armor” along with Persian Plate and Chainmail, are some of the Armors the cross classification. It wasn’t long before full plate armor became popular and with the invention of the fully articulated joints, chainmail began to lose its popularity. However, it still did hold a place in history as it was used as decoration and armor up until the First World War.

In the present day, one can still find use for chainmail in certain industries. Butchers commonly wear fine mail gloves in order to protect their hands, and shark divers wear entire suits of fine mail. This fine mail is made from strong welded links and is woven on large machines. Other decorative and practical uses for chain mail can also be found, especially in the historical reenactments.

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Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa

Alfonso VIII was so traumatized by his crushing defeat that he was unable to organize a counterattack. The archbishop of Toledo, Rodrigo Jiménez de Rada, took it upon himself to stir up religious outrage at such a decisive Muslim victory over Christians. Local garrisons began to travel to Toledo and Pope Innocent III declared a crusade for taking back Spain from the Muslims in 1212. Knights and other warriors flocked to Toledo and then the combined armies of Aragon, Castile, and Portugal marched to fight the Muslims.

Despite early victories, the non-Spanish soldiers were discouraged by the climate and returned home. Undaunted the crusade, leadership recruited Navarre and Alfonso’s forces to fill in the gaps. Almohad caliph Muḥammad al-Nāṣir, commander of the Almohad forces, attempted to cut off the Christians in the flat plains of Las Navas de Tolosa where their horses would be able to move more effectively. The Christians attempted to alter their route by using the high mountain passes of La Llosa. The passes were heavily guarded by Muslim forces, and the Christians would have been torn to shreds had a local shepherd not shown them an alternate route. Outflanked and ambushed, the Muslim forces suffered heavy losses and broke into a messy retreat before the Christian onslaught. Muslim control on the peninsula was greatly weakened through the combination of Christian forces scoring a string of victories across the peninsula and the collapse of the Almohad Empire due to internal division and a lack of a successful central ruler.[17]


Contents

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

  • Behterets (Russian: Бехтерец ), from Persian behter: Ώ] small horizontal plates arranged in vertical rows without gaps, joined by rings, and embedded in mail.
  • Yushman (Russian: Юшман ), from Persian jawshan: Ώ] long horizontal plates embedded in mail and resembling laminar armour (e.g. Roman lorica segmentata)
  • Kalantar (Russian: Калантарь ): square plates embedded in mail, very similar to the Japanese karuta tatami-do. The major difference is that kalantar are not sewn to a cloth backing as Karuta tatami-do are.

According to Bobrov ΐ] 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). Α]

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. Β]

The 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 ]


Manufacture [ edit | edit source ]

A manuscript from 1698 showing the manufacture of mail

Several patterns of linking the rings together have been known since ancient times, with the most common being the 4-to-1 pattern (where each ring is linked with four others). In Europe, the 4-to-1 pattern was completely dominant. Mail was also common in East Asia, primarily Japan, with several more patterns being utilised and an entire nomenclature developing around them.

Historically, in Europe, from the pre-Roman period on, the rings composing a piece of mail would be riveted closed to reduce the chance of the rings splitting open when subjected to a thrusting attack or a hit by an arrow.

Up until the 14th century European mail was made of alternating rows of riveted rings and solid rings. After that point mail was almost all made from riveted rings only. ⎶] Both were commonly made of wrought iron, but some later pieces were made of heat-treated steel. Wire for the riveted rings was formed by either of two methods. One was to hammer out wrought iron into plates and cut or slit the plates. These thin pieces were then pulled through a draw plate repeatedly until the desired diameter was achieved. Waterwheel powered drawing mills are pictured in several period manuscripts. Another method was to simply forge down an iron billet into a rod and then proceed to draw it out into wire. The solid links would have been made by punching from a sheet. Guild marks were often stamped on the rings to show their origin and craftsmanship. Forge welding was also used to create solid links, but there are few possible examples known, the only well documented example from Europe is that of the camail (mail neck-defence) of the 7th century Coppergate helmet. ⎷] Outside of Europe this practice was more common such as "theta" links from India. Very few examples of historic butted mail have been found and it is generally accepted that butted mail was never in wide use historically except in Japan where mail (kusari) was commonly made from butted links. ⎫]


Contents

Most pesh-kabz use a hollow-ground, tempered steel single-edged full tang, recurved blade with a thick spine bearing a "T" cross-section for strength and rigidity. [7] [8] In most examples, a pair of handle scales are fixed to the full-tang grip, which features a hooked butt. The earliest forms of this knife featured a recurved blade, suggestive of its Persian origin. [9] [10] In all variants the blade is invariably broad at the hilt, but tapers progressively and radically to a needle-like, triangular tip. Upon striking a coat of mail, this reinforced tip spreads the chain link apart, enabling the rest of the blade to penetrate the armor. [7] [8] One knife authority concluded that the pesh-kabz "as a piece of engineering design could hardly be improved upon for the purpose". [8]

The knife is typically used as a thrusting weapon also held upside down in hand with the thumb on the bottom of the handle. [11] However, the wide hollow-ground blade also possesses considerable slicing performance, and as such may also be used effectively with slashing or cutting strokes. Its ability to be used as either a cutting or thrusting weapon has caused more than one authority to erroneously classify the pesh-kabz as a fighting dagger. [4] [7] [8] [12]

Pesh-kabz are typically around 40–46 cm (16-18 inches) in overall length, with blades of approximately 28–33 cm (11-13 inches). When compared to other similar knives with T-section blades and reinforced tips, the pesh-kabz virtually indistinguishable, save for its length of blade. The kard or bahbudi (antiq.) has a longer blade (though still shorter than an Afghan sword such as the salwar yatagan) [13] and is considered a separate design, [14] while the chura, used by the Mahsud clan of the Pashtun Khyber tribe, is a slightly shorter version of the pesh-kabz. [8]

The pesh-kabz has a full tang and is traditionally fitted with walrus (دندان ماهی dandān māhi) ivory scales or handles), [15] [16] but other examples have been found using ivory from the tusks of the rhinoceros, or elephant. [14] [17] Still other knives may be found with scales of wood, agate, jasper, rock crystal, [9] horn, serpentine (false jade), [18] or metal. [8] [10] The sheaths are typically constructed of metal or leather over wood, and may be inset with silver or precious stones. [4]

The pesh-kabz originated in Safavid Persia and is believed to have been created sometime in the 17th century to overcome the mail armor worn by mounted and foot soldiers of the day. [3] The term itself was first used to describe the front of a girdle worn by Persian wrestlers, indicating that the pesh-kabz was worn centrally as opposed to the kard and other blades which were worn at the sides. It soon spread to neighbouring Afghanistan and Central Asia before eventually being introduced to the Indian subcontinent by the Mughals. After armor ceased to be worn by modern armies, the pesh-kabz retained its utility as a close combat knife, and many Pashtun tribesmen, particularly the Mahsud, Afridi, and Shinwari clans, continued to use the design, along with the chura and kard.

During their period of colonial rule in India, the British frequently referred to all Afghan blades of this pattern collectively as "Afghan knives" or "Khyber knives", [13] [18] after the Khyber Pass that marked the transition from British India to the nation of Afghanistan. In India, manufacture of the pesh-kabz was centered in the northern city of Bhera, [18] now part of Pakistan.

The pesh-kabz is still used today as a personal weapon as well as a ceremonial badge of adulthood for Pashtun and other Afghan hill tribes.


Modern uses

Practical uses

Mail is used as protective clothing for butchers against meat-packing equipment. Workers may wear up to 8 pounds (3.6 kg) of mail under their white coats. ⏂] Butchers also commonly wear a single mail glove to protect themselves from self-inflicted injury while cutting meat, as do many oyster shuckers. ⏃]

Scuba divers sometimes use mail to protect them from sharkbite, as do animal control officers for protection against the animals they handle. In 1980 marine biologist Jeremiah Sullivan patented his design for Neptunic full coverage chain mail shark resistant suits which he had developed for close encounters with sharks. ⏄] Shark expert and underwater filmmaker Valerie Taylor was among the first to develop and test shark suits in 1979 while diving with sharks. [ citation needed ]

Mail is widely used in industrial settings as shrapnel guards and splash guards in metal working operations. [ citation needed ]

Electrical applications for mail include RF leakage testing and being worn as a faraday cage suit by tesla coil enthusiasts and high voltage electrical workers. ⏅] ⏆]

Stab-proof vests

Conventional textile-based ballistic vests are designed to stop soft-nosed bullets but offer little defense from knife attacks. Knife-resistant armour is designed to defend against knife attacks some of these use layers of metal plates, mail and metallic wires. ⏇]

Historical re-enactment

Many historical reenactment groups, especially those whose focus is Antiquity or the Middle Ages, commonly use mail both as practical armour and for costuming. Mail is especially popular amongst those groups which use steel weapons. A modern hauberk made from 1.5 mm diameter wire with 10 mm inner diameter rings weighs roughly 10 kg (22 lb) and contains 15,000–45,000 rings. [ citation needed ]

One of the drawbacks of mail is the uneven weight distribution the stress falls mainly on shoulders. Weight can be better distributed by wearing a belt over the mail, which provides another point of support. [ citation needed ]

Mail worn today for re-enactment and recreational use can be made in a variety of styles and materials. Most recreational mail today is made of butted links which are galvanised or stainless steel. This is historically inaccurate but is much less expensive to procure and especially to maintain than historically accurate reproductions. Mail can also be made of titanium, aluminium, bronze, or copper. Riveted mail offers significantly better protection ability as well as historical accuracy than mail constructed with butted links. Riveted mail can be more labour-intensive and expensive to manufacture. ⏈] Japanese mail (kusari) is one of the few historically correct examples of mail being constructed with such butted links. ⎲]

Decorative uses

Mail remained in use as a decorative and possibly high-status symbol with military overtones long after its practical usefulness had passed. It was frequently used for the epaulettes of military uniforms. It is still used in this form by the British Territorial Army.

Mail has applications in sculpture and jewellery, especially when made out of precious metals or colourful anodized metals. Mail artwork includes headdresses, decorative wall hangings, ornaments, chess sets, macramé, and jewelry. For these non-traditional applications, hundreds of patterns (commonly referred to as "weaves") have been invented. ⏉]

Large-linked mail is occasionally used as a fetish clothing material, with the large links intended to reveal – in part – the body beneath them.


In film

In some films, knitted string spray-painted with a metallic paint is used instead of actual mail in order to cut down on cost (an example being Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which was filmed on a very small budget). Films more dedicated to costume accuracy often use ABS plastic rings, for the lower cost and weight. Such ABS mail coats were made for the Lord of the Rings film trilogy, in addition to many metal coats. The metal coats are used rarely because of their weight, except in close-up filming where the appearance of ABS rings is distinguishable.