Persian armor in the State Hermitage Museum of Sankt Petersburg 2014

The State Hermitage Museum of Sankt Petersburg, Russia has a magnificent exhibition of Persian arms and armor among a bigger exhibition on oriental arms and armor.  In the following the armor sets and shields are presented.  The first is a complete set of Persian armor consisting of:

1) zereh ﺰﺮﻩ (mail armor) with an integrated zereh dāman (the skirt of mail armor). 

2) čāhrāyne ﭽﻬﺎﺮﺁﻴﻨﻪ (four mirrors; an armor consisting of four plates: sineband ﺴﻴﻧﻪﺑﻨﺩ (front plate), poštband ﭘﺸﺖﺑﻨﺪ (back plate) and two baqalband ﺑﻐﻞﺑﻧﺪ (side plate).  

3) zereh šalvār va jošan ﺰﺮﻩﺸﻠﻭﺍﺭﻭﺟﻭﺷﻦ  (mail and plate pants),

4) kolāhxud ﻜﻼﻩﺨﻭﺪ (helmet)

5) A pair bāzuband ﺒﺎﺰﻮﺑﻧﺪ (armguard),

6) separﺳﭘﺭ  (shield)

This is a Persian kolāhxud-e divsar (demon-headed helmet) which is forged into shape from steel with partial copper plating.  It is partially engraved and has a mail coif. Some parts are gold-overlaid. It has two horns made of steel and a nasal. Typical facail features of a demon (div) are also engraved there. This helmet is attributed to Iran and is from the 18th century.  It was acquired in 1885-1886 from the Armoury of Tsarskoye Selo. For similar helmets see (Chodynski, 2000, "Persian Arms and Armor" cat. 47-48, p. 234, cat. 80, p. 252.

čāhrāyne ﭽﻬﺎﺮﺁﻴﻨﻪ (four mirrors; an armor consisting of four plates: sinebandﺴﻴﻧﻪﺑﻨﺩ (front plate), poštband ﭘﺸﺖﺑﻨﺪ (back plate) and two baqalband ﺑﻐﻞﺑﻧﺪ (side plate).  All plates are forged from steel with extra copper plating on the rolled edges.  The surface is beautifully enraved in geometric desing and partially silver overlaid.  This piece was acquired in 1922 and was formerly held in the collection of Prince Volkonsky.  The plates of this example are attached using leather straps, buckles and clasps (for similar examples see Zeller and Rohrer, "Orientalische Sammlung Henri Moser-Charlottenfels", 1955, plate I, plate II; plate III, plate IV, plate V; plate v, 35).  For other examples of čāhrāyne ﭽﻬﺎﺮﺁﻴﻨﻪ  plates which are attached in the same way see Kobylinsky "Persian Arms and Armour", 2000 (cat. 18, p. 220; cat. 37, p. 228; cat. 39, p. 229; cat 40, p. 230; cat. 41, p. 231).

Čāhrāyne ﭽﻬﺎﺮﺁﻴﻨﻪ  consists of four different steel plates, two for protecting the chest and back areas (breast- and backplates) and two for protecting the sides (side plates) (Grancsay, 1957:245) and Lexicon of Arms and Armor from Iran (Khorasani, 2010).  There are some types of čāhrāyne ﭽﻬﺎﺮﺁﻴﻨﻪ with no leather straps; in this case the plates were pinned together (like hinges), forming a more rigid construction.  In some types of čāhrāyne ﭽﻬﺎﺮﺁﻴﻨﻪ the front plate is made of two pieces, so the armor could be folded like a jacket (see Kobylinsky, "Persian Arms and Armour", 2000, p. 68).  For an example of this type see Kobylinsky "Persian Arms and Armour", 2000 (cat. 29, p. 224). For another similar example see Zeller and Rohrer, "Orientalische Sammlung Henri Moser-Charlottenfels", 1955, plate VIII, figure 20). 

To be more specific this example is čāhrāyne-ye fulād (Rostam al Tavārix) (n + n) (lit) four steel mirrors; an armor consisting of four steel plates for protecting the front, back and sides of the body (Āsef, 2003/1382:39).  For a similar four mirror armor consisting of four plates attributed to Shah Ismail Safavid see Khorasani, "Arms and Armor from Iran: The Bronze Age to the End of the Qajar Period", 2006, cat. 396.

zereh šalvār va jošan ﺰﺮﻩﺸﻠﻭﺍﺭﻭﺟﻭﺷﻦ  (mail and plate pants), has integrated:

1) zānuband ﺯﺍﻧﻮﺑﻧﺪ  (knee protector),

2) sāqband ﺴﺎﻘﺑﻨﺪ (shin protector), sāqe ﺳﺎﻗﻪ .or sāqedin ﺴﺎﻘﺪﻴﻦ, or sāqin ﺴﺎﻘﻴﻦ.  

3rānin ﺭﺍﻧﻴﻦ  (thigh protector) 

The trousers is made of riveted mail with integrated steel plates partially gold-overlaid.  The backside is made of leather and partially embroidered.  This piece is attributed to Iran to the second half of the 17th century and is from the Winter Palace.


zereh ﺰﺮﻩ (mail armor) is made of riveted steel and copper rings and is from the Winter Palace.

zereh ﺰﺮﻩ (mail armor) is made of riveted steel and copper rings with a garibān ﮔﺮﻴﺑﺎﻦ  (standard; this piece of armor is made of mail and protects the neck but also provides extra protection for the upper breast) made of steel and copper rings, velvet and cotton fabric

Bāzuband ﺒﺎﺰﻮﺑﻧﺪ (armguard) made of forged steel with partial copper inlays. It is engraved and chased and partially gold-overlaid.  This piece is from the Winter Palace. The armguard consists of two plates: a big plate and a small plate.  For similar examples see Zeller and Rohrer, "Orientalische Sammlung Henri Moser-Charlottenfels", fig. 28. For a similar example of an armguard with two plates attributed to Shah Ismail Safavid in the Military Museum of Tehran see Khorasani, "Arms and Armor from Iran: The Bronze Age to the End of the Qajar Period", 2006, cat. 380-381.

Bāzuband ﺒﺎﺰﻮﺑﻧﺪ (armguard) made of forged steel with partial copper inlays. It is engraved and chased and partially gold-overlaid.  This piece is from the Winter Palace.

A Persian shield made of crucible steel with velvet back cover with leather handles.  It was forged into shape and partially gold-overlaid in geometric design.  It has four shield buckles (qoppe-ye separ).  It was acquired in 1925 from Count Pavel Shuvalov's collection.

kolāhxud ﻜﻼﻩﺨﻭﺪ (helmet) made of forged steel and partially gold-overlaid.  It is dated to the first half of the 19th century and is from the Winter Palace. What makes this piece unsual is that it has four feather holders (jā pari), it has a damaqakk (nasal) for protecting the nose and the face against horizontal strike. For similar Persian helmets see Zeller and Rohrer, "Orientalische Sammlung Henri Moser-Charlottenfels", 1955, plate X.

 

A čāhrāyne ﭽﻬﺎﺮﺁﻴﻨﻪ (four mirrors; an armor consisting of four plates: sinebandﺴﻴﻧﻪﺑﻨﺩ (front plate), poštband ﭘﺸﺖﺑﻨﺪ - back plate - and two baqalband ﺑﻐﻞﺑﻧﺪ - side plate).  The plates are forged from steel beautifully chiseled and engraved with gold-overlaid and gilded areas.  The plates are connected to each other via hinges making a rigid construction. This piece is attributed to the late 17th-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.

For similar style of armor from the Safavid period see Khorasani, "Arms and Armor from Iran: The Bronze Age to the End of the Qajar Period", 2006, cat. 397, 398, 399, 400, 401, 402.

Persian kolāhxud ﻜﻼﻩﺨﻭﺪ (helmet) made of forged steel with yellow metal inlay and mail coif.  It was acquired in 1885-1886 from the Armoury of Tsarskoye Selo; formerly in Prince Pyotr Saltykov's collection before 1861. For a very similar helmet from the Safavid period from the Military Museum of Iran see Khorasani, "Arms and Armor from Iran: The Bronze Age to the End of the Qajar Period", 2006, cat. 407.

A Persian kolāhxud ﻜﻼﻩﺨﻭﺪ  (helmet) made of rhino hide with laquered surface and mail coif made of steel rings.  It is painted and gilded and dated to the 17th century.  It was acquired in 1919.

 

A Persian bāzuband ﺒﺎﺰﻮﺑﻧﺪ (armguard) made of rhino hide with laqured surface and inscribed areas.   It is painted and gilded and dated to the 17th century.  It was acquired in 1919. For a very similar armguard made of rhino hide with the same laquer and the same style of inscriptions but with three plates see Khorasani, "Arms and Armor from Iran: The Bronze Age to the End of the Qajar Period", 2006, cat. 389. In the same book one can see the same style of a čāhrāyne ﭽﻬﺎﺮﺁﻴﻨﻪ (four mirrors armor) see Khorasani, "Arms and Armor from Iran: The Bronze Age to the End of the Qajar Period", 2006, cat. 403.

The armguard consists of two plates: a big plate and a small plate. For similar examples see Zeller and Rohrer, "Orientalische Sammlung Henri Moser-Charlottenfels", fig. 28.

A Persian steel shield forged into a dome shaped.  The whole sruface is chiseled with hunting and floral designs.  The shield is partially gold-overlaid and further decorated with niello.  The back of the shield is covered with cotton fabric.  The shield is dated to 1115 AH (1703-1704) and is from the Winter Palace. The gilded inscription reads Al-soltān nādešāh (The Ruler The Unique King 115). For similar examples of steel shields see Zeller and Rohrer, "Orientalische Sammlung Henri Moser-Charlottenfels", table XV. table XVI.

A Persian helmet dated to 1207 hijra (1792-1793 C.E.).  The whole surface is engraved and chiseled and is from the Winter Palace.

The whole surface of the helmet is chiseled with the beautiful symbols of the Persian lotus Niloufar.

A armguard dated to 1207 hijra (1792-1793 C.E.).  The whole surface is engraved and chiseled and is from the Winter Palace. Note that the armguard consists of a big plate and two smaller plates connected to each other via mail rings.  For similar examples see Zeller and Rohrer, "Orientalische Sammlung Henri Moser-Charlottenfels", 1955, figure 23, figure 26, figure 27, figure 29).

For a similar armguard from the Qajar period with the whole chiseled surface see see Khorasani, "Arms and Armor from Iran: The Bronze Age to the End of the Qajar Period", 2006, cat. 394.

This is a Persian steel helmet from the North West Iran which originally had a mail face mask.  Traces for fastening the mail mask are still there.  The helmet has velvet fitting with leather.  It is angraved and partially decorated with gold-overlaying.  It was acquired in 1925 from Count Pavel Shuvalov's collection.  The interesting feature of eyebrows on this helmet reminds of the helmet of the free-standing rock relief of Ḵosrow II as a Sassanid heavy cavalryman from Taq-e Bostan grotto from the 7th century which shows him wearing a low-domed segmented Spangenhelm. The helmet has a large face-covering mail aventail attached to its rim. The helmet has also decorative eyebrows and the eye openings are carved in a plate (see Nicole, "Sassanian Armies: The Iranian Empire Early 3rd to Mid-7th Centuries AD" 1996, p. 31), For a similar Persian helmet from the 14th century from the Royal Palace, Wawel, see Chodynski (2000, "Persian Arms and Armor" cat. 4, 5, 6, p. 234, cat. 80, p. 252.

This is a Persian steel helmet which originally had a mail face mask.  Traces for fastening the mail mask are still there on the helmet rim.  The helmet is attributed to the last quarter of the 14th century and was acquired in 1885-1886 from the Tsarskoye Selo.  For a similar Persian helmet from the 14th century from the Royal Palace, Wawel, see Chodynski (2000, "Persian Arms and Armor" cat. 4, 5, 6, p. 234, cat. 80, p. 252.

This is a kolāhxud (helmet) with a peacock (tāvus) in place of the helmet spear (neyzak) and a raised sun in front of the helmet. For similar helmets see (Chodynski, , 2000, "Persian Arms and Armor" cat. 52, p. 236, cat. 61, p.262).  Peacocks and suns were often used on arms and armor and also standards during the Moharram events and also the recital of the Shahname (Book of Kings).

This is a kolāhxud-e divsar (demon-headed helmet). For similar helmets see (Chodynski, , 2000, "Persian Arms and Armor" cat. 47-48, p. 234, cat. 80, p. 252.

This is a kolāhxud-e divsar (demon-headed helmet). For similar helmets see (Chodynski, , 2000, "Persian Arms and Armor" cat. 47-48, p. 234, cat. 80, p. 252.

Another kolāhxud (helmet) with a peacock (tāvus) in place of the helmet spear (neyzak) and a raised sun in front of the helmet. For similar helmets see (Chodynski, , 2000, "Persian Arms and Armor" cat. 52, p. 236, cat. 61, p.262).  Peacocks and suns were often used on arms and armor and also standards during the Moharram events and also the recital of the Shahname (Book of Kings).

 

Dr. Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani