Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Armor for the Torso and Hips

Date:
12th–13th century
Geography:
Yunnan or Sichuan
Culture:
Dali Kingdom (present-day Yunnan, China)
Medium:
Leather, lacquer, copper alloy, iron
Dimensions:
H. as mounted 24 in. (61 cm); W. 18 in. (45.7 cm); D. 18 in. (45.7 cm)
Classification:
Armor for Man
Credit Line:
Purchase, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Gift, 2014
Accession Number:
2014.592
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 378
This armor is one of only two early examples of this type known to exist. Its distinctive form and construction are unique to Yunnan province in southwestern China. It is made of rigid leather panels coated with layers of red and black lacquer and joined together by leather laces. The layered lacquer technique, tixi (marbled) or ticai (carved colors), was well known in China from the fourteenth or fifteenth century onward. Scientific testing establishes the armor’s date to the time of the Dali Kingdom, an independent state that ruled the region before it was renamed Yunnan and incorporated into China during the Yuan dynasty (1271–1368). The armor, therefore, is extremely important as one of the earliest and most complete examples of this technique and for being identifiable as lacquerwork from the Dali Kingdom or the Yunnan area.
[Tenzing Lama, Kathmandu, Nepal, until 1988; sold to an art dealer]; by descent through collector's father to a private collection, Kathmandu, Nepal (until 2014; sold to MMA).
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