This exceptionally fine cuirass of crucible ("watered") steel is unusual in its use of octagonal plates decorated with fluting. The edges and central bosses are damascened in gold with Koranic inscriptions.
Iranian and Indian cuirasses of this four-plate construction are known in Persian as char-a'ina, "four mirrors." The term suggests the talismanic value of the mirror for repelling evil.
This artwork is meant to be viewed from right to left. Scroll left to view more.
Front panel, center round
Front panel, upper
Front panel, lower
Back panel, center round
Back panel, upper
Back panel, lower
Proper right panel, middle
Proper right panel, back
Proper left panel, middle
Proper left panel, front
Proper left panel, back
Use your arrow keys to navigate the tabs below, and your tab key to choose an item
Title:Cuirass (Char-aina) with Mail Shirt
Date:cuirass, 17th–early 18th century; mail shirt, 18th–19th century
Culture:cuirass, Iranian; mail shirt, Iranian or Indian
Medium:Steel, iron, gold, leather, textile
Dimensions:Breast- and backplates: 11 x 11 in. (28 x 28 cm); side plates: 11 5/8 x 6 1/8 in. (29.5 x 15.5 cm); Wt. of cuirass 6 lb. 8 oz. (2948 g)
Credit Line:Bequest of George C. Stone, 1935
Accession Number:36.25.18a–d, .22a
Inscription: Inscribed on the cuirass: al- Asmāʾ Allāh al-Ḥusnā, "the ninety-nine names of Allah."
George Cameron Stone, New York (until d. November 18, 1935; his bequest to MMA).
Grancsay, Stephen V., Thomas T. Hopes, George C. Stone, and Fred G. Blakeslee. [Boxed Set Containing "Brief Essays on Armor and Arms," Nos. 1–4 and a Series of 17 Pamphlets of Photographs of Arms and Armor in Members' Collections, Nos. 1–85]. New York: Armor and Arms Club, 1925. no. 1, fig. 56 (36.25.18a–d).
Grancsay, Stephen V. "A Loan Collection of Oriental Armor." The Metropolitan Museum fo Art Bulletin (May 1928), pp. 128–29, ill. (36.25.18a–d).
Stone, George Cameron. A Glossary of the Construction, Decoration and Use of Arms and Armor in All Countries and in All Times, Together with Some Closely Related Subjects. Portland, ME: Southworth Press, 1934. p. 43, fig. 56.2 (36.25.18a–d).
Stone, George Cameron. A Glossary of the Construction, Decoration and Use of Arms and Armor in All Countries and in All Times, Together with Some Closely Related Subjects. New York: Jack Brussel, Pub., 1961. p. 43, fig. 56.2 (36.25.18a–d).
Stone, George Cameron, and Donald J. La Rocca. A Glossary of the Construction, Decoration and Use of Arms and Armor in All Countries and in All Times, Together with Some Closely Related Subjects. Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications, 1999. p. 43, fig. 56.2 (36.25.18a–d).
Stöcklein, Hans. "Arms and Armor." In A Survey of Persian Art, edited by Arthur Upham Pope, and Phyllis Ackerman. Vol. 3. London, New York: Oxford University Press, 1939. pp. 2561–62, n. 4 (36.25.18a–d).
Robinson, H. Russell. Oriental Armour. London: Jenkins, 1967. pp. 36–38, fig. 21 (36.25.18a–d).
Alexander, David G. "Decorated and Inscribed Mail Shirts in the Metropolitan Museum." Waffen– und Kostümkunde: Zeitschrift der Gesellschaft für historische Waffen– und Kostümkunde, Waffen- und Kostümkunde, 44, ser. 3, v. 27, no. 1 pp. 33–34, fig. 7 (36.25.22a–c).
Grancsay, Stephen V., and Stuart W. Pyhrr. Arms & Armor: Essays by Stephen V. Grancsay from the Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 1920–1964. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1986. pp. 26–27, fig. 7.1 (36.25.18a–d).
Allan, James, and Brian J. J. Gilmour. Persian Steel: The Tanavoli Collection. Oxford Studies in Islamic Art, Vol. 15. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. p. 136 (36.25.18a–d).
Alexander, David, Stuart W. Pyhrr, and Will Kwiatkowski. Islamic Arms and Armor in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2015. pp. 48–51, no. 14, ill.
Reddy, Ravinder. Arms & Armour of India, Nepal & Sri Lanka: Types, Decoration and Symbolism. London: Hali Publications Limited, 2018. p. 295, ill.
The Met Collection API is where all makers, creators, researchers, and dreamers can connect to the most up-to-date data and public domain images for The Met collection. Open Access data and public domain images are available for unrestricted commercial and noncommercial use without permission or fee.
We continue to research and examine historical and cultural context for objects in The Met collection. If you have comments or questions about this object record, please complete and submit this form. The Museum looks forward to receiving your comments.