Moro Suit of Armour with Helmet
Place of Origin: Mindanao, Philippines
Date: 19th Century
Height of shirt : 720mm (28.4 inches)
Height of helmet: 280mm (11 inches)
Likely made for a man of rank, this Moro armoured shirt and associated copper-alloy helmet is a handsome set.
The shirt is constructed of thick, rectangular buffalo horn panels linked together with rows of heavy brass mail rings. The main frontal plates are mounted with a pair of silver floral bosses, two pairs of stylised sea monsters and two matching latches with protruding studs that help to lock the front together. The two adjacent panels are similarly adorned, as are two small horn pieces that sit either side of the neck opening. The upper back is protected by sixteen overlapping plates assembled in a louvre arrangement. The mid-back and kidneys are covered by a row of long rectangular panels assembled vertically, and connecting to a section of mail and then a skirt of two further rows of horn plates.
The helmet is of morion form with a two-piece skull surmounted by a finial. Its embossed decoration imitates that found on the European helmets of the same type. Fluting runs down the bowl to a row of arches that sits against a raised border containing a series of faux lining-rivets which also appears on the flat rim. Fitted at the front peak are three plume holders.
See SINGH, ICONIC, November 2017, London, p.86, no.28 for another Moro armour1.