Object Title

Cuirass (chahar a'ineh) - Chahar a'ineh

Cuirass (chahar a'ineh) - Chahar a'ineh



Object Number



Purchased from Arbour Antiques, Poets Arbour, Sheep Street, Stratford upon Avon, 15 January 1986.

Physical Description

The 'chahar a'ineh' is made of four rectangular plates, all curved in the horizontal plane to fit the body, with a shallow dip in the upper edges of the side plates. Each plate is constructed from a central panel, with edging strips attached at each side by externally flush rivets. The front and rear plates are fitted with modern leather straps on plain hasps of internally flaring shape some with central cusps, each attached by two brass rivets and rectangular loops, at the top and bottom of the side edges, and at either side of the upper edge. The side plates are fitted with buckles in the same positions, with the same two types of hasp.

The whole armour is decorated with etched designs; the helmet with four arabesque panels containg mounted hunters and foliage, seperated by small panels containing foliage above and inscriptions below; the band around the brim with alternate panels of calligraphy and birds amidst vegetation. Each plate of the 'chahar a'ineh' is decorated with a central panel, containing an arabesque and corners of foliage, and a border of caligraphic panels. The bazuband is decorated with a continuous calligraphic border, and a central line of two calligraphic panels, one hunter, and one bust, bordered by hunting scenes at either side in which a mounted archer, followed by a deer, shoots forward at two deer; all within foliage. The shield has five central arabesque panels, containing mounted hunters,two shooting forwards, the others holding a mace, an axe, and a dagger, with a variety of animals below their horses. The bosses are decorated with foliage, and the border is composed of portrait busts, alternating with medallions containing animals and calligraphic panels. On each piece, the decorative elements are outlined and bordered with lines or simple geometric bands of koftgari gold onlay. At least two hands can be seen in the decoration, the shield, and front and one side plate of the 'chahar a'ineh' in one, the rest in the other. A wide variety of motifs and details are found throughout.


Dimensions: chahar a'ineh, plate height 30.1cm (11.9in), rear plate 31.6cm (12.5in), side plate 30.7cm (12.1in), each plate width 22.9cm (9.0in). Weight: chahar a'ineh (total) 8lb 3.5 oz (3.73kg)

Inscriptions and Marks

Dated at the right side of breastplate 1201 H (1786/7 AD).


Places Persia

Bibliographic References

In general, see L P Elwell-Sutton, 'Persian Armour Inscriptions', in R.Elgood (ed.), Islamic Arms and Armour, London, 1979, pp.5-19.