Moro Suit of Armour with Helmet
Place of Origin: Mindanao, Philippines
Date: 19th Century
With its high standards of manufacture, this striking set of Moro armour was surely made for a man of high rank—perhaps a general. The armour consists of beautifully patinated brass plates attached with rows of mail rings. The main frontal plates present decorative panels of silver that show floral shapes, ten hexafoils and various sea monsters. Two matching latches with protruding studs lock the front together, while the upper back is protected by twelve overlapping plates that are lightly chased with floral designs and assembled in a louvre arrangement. The lower torso is protected by a hanging section of brass mail, a skirt of further plates and a mail trim.
The helmet is of burgonet form, with a two-piece skull surmounted by a tall, openwork comb that shows intricate scrollwork. Above the pair of hinged cheek-pieces (one replaced) more delicate openwork can be seen—the design matching that on the peak and neck defence (although here it exposes only an attached brass underlay, presumably to ensure the helmet is not weakened by such decoration). The base of the skull has ‘lining rivets’, cast in imitation. Fitted at the front-left, where the peak borders the comb, is a conical plume-holder.
Helmet: London Art Market
Shirt: Private American Collection