Place of Origin: Bijapur, India
Date: 16th-17th Century
This long set of armour with ‘theta’ mail links is rare, the links so-called on account of the fact that each ring has a bar fused across its centre, so that they resemble the Greek letter ‘theta’ (or ‘θ’). This imbues the armour with added strength, though at the cost of considerably greater manufacturing time and expense. A cap of mail extends over the wearer’s neck so as to protect against unexpected attacks from behind and is crowned at its apex with a small copper plaque chased with foliate patterns and a central flowerhead which secures the mail.
A collar of interwoven red and orange thread lines the neck and extends down over part of the chest. A number of decorative brass studs and deep red fabric can be seen mostly at one side; at the chest, however, the loss of fabric reveals the collar’s thick central stitching.
As described above, the mail itself comprises alternating riveted and theta links, the central section of the armour splitting at the waist into two tails to give the wearer greater mobility – an essential allowance given the armour’s weight. The features of this set, such as its fine fabric lining and theta mail links, strongly suggest it was made for someone of importance.
In The Goddess: Arms and Armour of the Rajputs – London 2018, Runjeet Singh published a set of armour also made from theta mail (Cat. No. 30).
Formerly in the Bikaner Armoury, India, and then the notable collection of Eric Vaule, USA.