Object Title

Model armour

Model armour



Object Number



Presented by 28 May 1954.

Physical Description

The majority of the armour is built up of horizontal rows of narrow vertical iron lamellae laced with natural coloured doeskin. The rounded conical helmet bowl consists of four triangular iron segments joined by ribbed external strips with cusped edges, the whole laced together with thongs. There is a plume tube at the apex and the lower edge of the helmet bowl is finished with a row of lamellae from which lamellar cheek-pieces and neckguard depend. The body armour is in the form of a long coat opening at the front and with the skirt divided into three sections. The shoulder-guards are permanently attached to the shoulder straps. The shoulder-guards and skirt sections are bordered with panels of leather faced with brocade of yellow, blue, green and shades of brown, depicting dragons and flaming pearls among clouds, with a binding of green leather piping at the edges.


Dimensions: Overall height as mounted 760 mm, helmet height 240 mm, coat height 510 mm, coat width 350 mm

Component parts

Inscriptions and Marks

No marks

Bibliographic References

S. Z. Haider, Islamic arms and armour of Muslim India, Lahore, 1991, pl. 11.

H R Robinson Oriental armour, London, 1968: pl. xxvi.a-b

D La Rocca, Warriors of the Himalayas, rediscovering the arms and armour of Tibet, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2006: 56-8, no. 2


The provenance of the model lamellar armour is, unfortunately, not unequivocal. It was presented to the museum by Colonel A McCleverty, and Russell Robinson recorded it as having come from the Younghusband expedition of 1904. Unfortunately there is a pencil note on file recording that it was taken by Col James McCleverty (his father), commanding officer of the Sherwood Foresters, at Jelap-la (the principal pass between Sikkim and Tibet, on the road to Gyangze) 'from the body of a Tibetan shot during the action. He was a person of importance as he was mounted.' Which does not accord with the present armour, unless he was also very small indeed. It is, I suppose, possible that McCleverty had two such armours, one full size and the model, but that seems a bit speculative. It also came with a boy's or model mail shirt, almost certainly on Indian manufacture, of mixed brass and iron butted links in a geometrical pattern, illustrated in B Clifford and K Watts, Princely armours and weapons of childhood, Royal Armouries, Leeds 2003: 45.