Caucasian Armor in the State Hermitage Museum (Sankt Petersburg 2014)

The State Hermirage Museum in Sankt Petersburg has a marvelous collection of Caucasian armor which will be presented as follows:

 

Misurka (mail coif helmet) made of steel plate on top with silver and gold overlaying and engraving. It is attributed to Georgia from the second half of the 18th century. It was acquired in 1885-1886 from the Armoury of Tsarskoye Selo. It had been in Prince Pyotr Saltykov's collection before 1861.

 

Mail armor of a Khesvarian warrior (Georgia) from the 19th century made of riveted rings.  It was acquired in 1931 and was formerly held in the collection of Count Sergey Sheremekev's colllection.

Note the riveted mail links.

Protective mail mittens made of leather, fabric, steel with mail protection for the back of the hands made of riveted rings. The fabric inside is embroidered.  The pair was acquired in 1923 from the Stieglitz Central School of Technical Drawing Museum.  This gauntlet is shown and described in the book "Caucasian Arms from the State Hermitage Museum St. Petersburg" by Yurij A. Miller, 2000, p.p. 172, 329 as follows:

"Gauntlet from an armguard. Circassia. End of 18th century, beginning of 19th century. Iron, morocco, silk, braid, 17,7 cm x 29.5 cm. . .  Inv.No 1604. The guantlet would be fastened to the arm guard. The outside of the armguard is covered in ring-braid to protect the hand. It has a lining of coloured silk".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A misurka (mail helmet) made of steel and copper and mail ring mesh. It was acquired in 1932 and was formerly held in the collection of Count Sergey Sheremekev's colllection.

A Georgian shield made of steel forged into shape with leather backing from the Winter Palace. This shield is shown and described in the book "Caucasian Arms from the State Hermitage Museum St. Petersburg" by Yurij A. Miller, 2000, p.p. 316 as follows:

 

"Shield, Georgia (Hvsuretia or Ossetinia) 1810-1820. iron, cow hide; forging. Diameter 38.2 cm (large); 33.2 cm (small). . . Inv. No. 5628 . .  Solid fighting shields made from cow hide and forged with iron bands were used in Hevsuretia - one of Georgia's historic areas - and also in the neighbouring country Ossetinia. This type of shield appeared locally, and was also used locally".

Helmet made of forged steel with engraved, carved and gilded surface. The mail rings consist of riveted rings.  It is attributed to Georgia from the second half to the late 18th century. It was acquired from the State Museum in 1924. This helmet is published and described in the book "Caucasian Arms from the State Hermitage Museum St. Petersburg", Yurij A. Miller, 2000, p. 216 as follows:

"Helmet, Georgia (?), 2nd half/end of 18th century. Steel, silver, coloured stones, gilding, niello, engraving, carving. Diameter 15,3 cm, Origin: Before 1861 - Prince P. Saltykov's Collection. From 1861-1865 Tsarskoye Selo Arsenal. From 1885 - The Hermitage. Inv. No. 5474 . . . Both ornamentation and design of this helmet point in the direction of Turkey, and from an early period. Later a Caucasian maker applied a small top with a Caucasian pattern, and some plates, probably in order to conceal some minor defects"."

Riveted mail links ingerated with steel plates

An arm protector (vambrace) made of three steel plates.  The bigger plate is connected to the two smaller plates via riveted mail rings.  The surface of the plates is decorated with gold-overlaid design.  It is attributed to Tiflis to the late 17th century.  It is from the Winter Palace.

Misurka (mail coif helmet) from the second half of the 18th century.  It is made of steel bowl with engraved gilded areas. The mail coif consists of riveted rings.  It was acquired in 1885-1886 from the Armoury of Tsarskoye Selo. This item is shown and described in the book "Caucasian Arms from the State Hermitage Museum St. Petersburg", Yurij A. Miller, 2000, pp. 165, 329 as follows:

"Helmet, Circassia (?), end of 18th- beginning of 19th century. Iron, silver; gilding, carving, engraving, height 11,2 cm; diameter 19.1 cm. Origin: under investigation. Inv. No. 3076 . .  This helmet represents a widespread category of helmets. The artistic effect of the decor is built on a combination of a smooth gilt silver-surface, ornamentaed with pierced patterns in Circassian style".

Misurka (mail coif helmet): the helmet bowl is made of steel with engraved areas. The surface is partially gilded. This is attributed to Circassia to the late 18th to the early 19th century. It was acquired in 1885-1886 from the Armoury of Tsarskoye Selo. The mail coif consists of riveted mail rings.

Misurka (mail coif with top helmet) from Circassia: The upper plate is made of steel decorated with silver and gold overllay and gilded. The mail armor is made of riveted rings. It is dated 1231 AH (1615-1616 CE) and with a maker's mark saying "made by Mahmud". This piece is from the Winter Palace.

This helmet is shown and described in the book "Caucasian Arms from the State Hermitage Museum St. Petersburg" by Yurij A. Miller, 2000, p.p. 163, 328 as follows:

"Helmet. Circassia, 1785-1786 by Master Ali, son of Khadzji Bakis. Steel, silver, cloth, braid, gilding, niello, engraving, height 20,2 cm; diameter 17,1 cm. Origin: Before 1926 - The Marble Palace Leningrad; from 1926 - The Hermitage Inv. No. 3331. . . This helmet was designed as a Middle Age helmet, the decor is in Circassian style. Amongst the inscriptions, which form part of the ornamental composition of the helmet, is the name of the master: Ali, Hadzji Bakis' Son, twice mentioned, the year: 1200 after hedjra (1785-1786), and the owner: Inajat Krim Girej Bek. It is a well-known fact that this type of helmet was a part of the Mountain Life Guard Squadron's full dress in the 1840s".

 

Dr. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani