It is believed that the first cataphracts (cavalry with both armored horses and rider) arose in East Asia during/after the 3 Kingdoms era and during the Jin period...and earliest horse armors came from the Western Han era (2nd century BCE). There is only direct archeological evidence for cataphracts during the Jin era, in the form of pottery figures and artwork.
However, I stumbled across:
"Notes on Turquois in the East"
The book states that the Wei Prime Minister T'sao T'sao of the Three Kingdoms era mentions the gift of metal horse armor. Does anyone what the contemporary source for this?
Furthermore, the book states that horse armor was alluded to in the "Shi King" - which was written between the 10th and 7th century BCE. I thought (from what I've read) that horse armor, even non-comprehensive horse armor, didn't arise until the 2nd century BCE in East Asia. Does anyone know more about this?
Edited by Intranetusa, 22 June 2012 - 12:37 PM.