Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>1796 Qing qinjun ying
Subjectqinjun ying imperial guard
Culture: Sino-Manchurian
Setting: Qing empire, China 18th-19thc
Objectdingjia brigandine, false brigandine armor

* Metropolitan Museum of Art > Stone Gallery of Arms and Armor
"Ceremonial Armors for Man and Horse
Steel, copper, gold, silk, leather, hair
Qing dynasty, 
18th century
The man's armor, known as dingjia (armor with nails), is a very elaborate example of the military costume worn at the imperial court by high-ranking officials in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.  It consists of a jacket with sleeves and an ankle-length skirt constructed of narrow overlapping plates riveted inside the fabric layers with the securing rivet heads visible on the outside.  Some of these plates, of brightly polished steel, are exposed on the arms and skirt.  Although not intended for use in battle, the jacket is further reinforced with large shoulderpieces, panels under the arms, and a small panel of similar construction that covers the lower abdomen.  This fashion thus combines the warrior's practical but usually plain armor and the ceremonial robes often worn over it.
    ​"This example is embroidered with gold and colored silk thread in traditional designs of dragons and waves.  The delicately engraved and gilt steel plates at the shoulders repeat these motifs.  The helmet is surmounted by a crest of sable tails, coral, and kingfisher feathers mounted with cloisonné enamels.  The horse armor has no internal plates but merely the rivet heads to give the outward appearance of armor."

* Metropolitan Museum of Art > Stone Gallery of Arms and Armor
"Ceremonial Armor
Steel, copper, gold, silk, metallic thread
Qing dynasty, 
18th century
This armor is exhibited with an associated helmet decorated with applied gold ornaments, including the Buddhist prayer Om mani padme hum (Blessed is the jewel in the lotus) in Tibetan.
    ​"The armor and helmet are very similar to those donated by the Qianlong emperor to a Tibetan monastery in 1757."

* Harwood International > 2828
"Ceremonial Court Armour of a Manchu Cavalry Officer, Circa 1850
This is the armour of a high ranking officer, including the original bow-case and quiver, with gilt metal, dragon embossing, and set stones.  The coat skirts are of studded gold cloth and silks.  The saddle, from an earlier century, is of black and gold lacquered wood, with iron mounts, and bridle with enamel decoration." ...

event photos 

* National Museum of Scotland > Royal Museum

* American Museum of Natural History > Stout Hall of Asian Peoples

​* Kimbell Art Museum > From the Lands of Asia
"Chinese imperial armor  
China, Qing dynasty (1644-1911), Qianlong Emperor (reigned 1736-1795)  
Silk, cotton, and metal
This imperial armor, called brigandine or 'armor with nails' after the rows of attachments of overlapping metal plates, was designed to deflect arrows and lances.  It evolved from one of the most ancient types of Chinese protective military gear, already in use at the time of the founding of the Chinese empire in the Qin dynasty (221-206 BC).  The Qing emperor Qianlong, as well as his generals, wore such armor to indicate status as well as to provide protection.  This suit of armor, marked with four-clawed frontal mang dragon roundels, would have been appropriate for princes of the blood of the third and fourth rank.  Fine silk in blue -- the color associated with the Qing dynasty -- covers a layer of sturdy cotton supporting the overlapping, gilded metal plates inside."