Object Title

Mail shirt (zereh)

Mail shirt (zereh)



Object Number



Purchased from the Thoresby Hall Collection at auction from Sotheby's, 1 June 1989, lot 1042 (illustrated). Probably acquired for the Hall by Sydney Pierrepont, 3rd Earl Manvers (1825-1900)

Physical Description

It is short-sleeved, with a skirt extending to the mid-thigh, split at the centre front and rear, and with a fabric-lined standing collar, opening at the front. The collar is interlaced with six strips of buff leather fastened with a red fabric cord woven through the row of mail immediately below the collar, bound and frayed to a tassel at either end. At the front of the neck is an opening closed by two arabesque-shaped clasps, each with embossed, punched and gilt decoration comprising a lozenge-shaped rosette surrounded by four arabesque-shaped rosettes. The left clasp of each pair terminates in a flanged loop, and the right in a turquoise in a silver mount which fits within the loop. The collar is lined with quilted cotton, off-white printed with a pattern of pink, abstract blooms with dark blue stalks and mid-blue centres, alternating with mid and dark blue blobs. It is bound with blue binding at the top and front opening.

The mail is of rivet iron links throughout. Each link is made of flattened section wire, and expanded considerably, mainly to the outside, at the overlap. The main body links are circular.


Dimensions: Height 91cm (35.8in), Overall Width 133.0cm (52.3in), Chest Width 77.5cm (30.5in), Link width inside 7.2mm, outside 10.9mm, Collar link width inside 9.4 x 6.4mm, outside 12.7 x11.1mm. Weight: 10.7 kg (231b 11oz)

Inscriptions and Marks

High at the right of the chest is a tear-shaped, cast drop, probably of tin alloy, inscribed 'hazrati Sayyid 'Umar Khani, jabr 1231'. At the rear of the left shoulder is a second inscribed cast drop.