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Paper Armour?


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#1 caocao74

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Posted 24 February 2005 - 08:11 AM

Last night I saw on BBC2 the episode of 'What the Ancients Did For Us' about China. Among features on silk, flamethrowers, gunpowder, paper, calligraphy, printing, attempts at flight, bridges, and seismographic equipment, there was the briefest of mentions for paper armour (with a silk backing).

Is this correct, and if so, how widespread was its usage and when?
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#2 Wujiang

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Posted 24 February 2005 - 11:10 AM

Last night I saw on BBC2 the episode of 'What the Ancients Did For Us' about China.  Among features on silk, flamethrowers, gunpowder, paper, calligraphy, printing, attempts at flight, bridges, and seismographic equipment, there was the briefest of mentions for paper armour (with a silk backing).

Is this correct, and if so, how widespread was its usage and when?

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A small section from my Chinese Armour essay

Zhijia (纸甲), or paper armour originated during the Tang dynasty. It was said that this form of armour was made during the reign of Tangyizong (859 873 CE). During the Song-Hsia Wars, thirty thousand of this form of armour was made and worn by the besieged archers of the Song dynasty in the fortress in Shanxi. It was made from a form of processed paper being one to three inches thick. Under wet conditions such as rain the material would turn even tougher making it a valuable form of defence against arrows. This was an important tactical advantage of paper armour as metal armour, despite providing a much better protection, would rust under these conditions. Other advantages of this form of armour includes its lightness allowing perhaps the greatest form of mobility among all armour styles. Lightness was essential and hence the paper armour being one of the more preferred form of armour in areas of the south where there are a large amount of rivers and forests. During the campaign by General Qi Jiguang against the Japanese pirates, a large number of his troops wore this form of armour as it was effective against the firearms of the time. In addition, it was extremely flexible as well as cheap to produce.
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#3 TMPikachu

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Posted 24 February 2005 - 12:00 PM

have any people tried to recreate it?

I guess it would be sorta like a modern day flak vest.
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#4 Long Dragon

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Posted 25 February 2005 - 09:53 AM

i saw the programme to, they made some paper mache armour, and shot a chinese style recurve at a dummy wearing it, althought the presenter is a bad arhcer,lol, he hit teh target at close range on the third attempt, it stopped the arrow

#5 Wujiang

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Posted 25 February 2005 - 12:21 PM

Found it.

Although there is no support for this claim, this image seems to indicate that the paper armour used lamellar type construction......
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#6 TMPikachu

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Posted 25 February 2005 - 02:36 PM

Those look like scales to me.
I have the book that image is in. So, is that look where the head fits through? Then this paper armor would be of the simplest pattern, a front and back.
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#7 Yun

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Posted 25 February 2005 - 10:47 PM

Yes, that pic is from the Wubei Zhi of the Ming and looks more like paper scales on a backing of leather. I don't agree with Robinson's view in "Oriental Armour", however, that the standard Chinese armour was scale rather than lamellar.
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#8 TMPikachu

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Posted 25 February 2005 - 11:34 PM

Yes, that pic is from the Wubei Zhi of the Ming and looks more like paper scales on a backing of leather. I don't agree with Robinson's view in "Oriental Armour", however, that the standard Chinese armour was scale rather than lamellar.

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Does he say that? I ought to check again. I do see him mentioning that scale remained around for a long long time. That I sorta disagree with. I can see it for ceremonial/fancy lookin' armor, but lamellar's just better for fighting. He doesn't get mountan-pattern-scale right either (though the 'lion armor' picture is neat)
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#9 thirdgumi

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Posted 02 March 2005 - 03:41 AM

Did they mension if it is easy to burn? :g: :P
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#10 TMPikachu

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Posted 02 March 2005 - 04:50 PM

I've read that it's stronger when damp/wet, the paper armor. If it's wet, then it would be hard to burn.
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#11 thirdgumi

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Posted 02 March 2005 - 08:23 PM

I've read that it's stronger when damp/wet, the paper armor. If it's wet, then it would be hard to burn.

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So, did they always keep it wet?
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Therefor, its existence is a crime, and the punishment is death - thirdgumi

#12 TMPikachu

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Posted 02 March 2005 - 09:55 PM

that, I don't know. The account just mentioned wetness. I doubt they would keep it wet all the time, as it wouldn't be very comfortable.
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#13 Wujiang

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Posted 03 March 2005 - 06:15 AM

Paper armour was used mainly in the south where they are lots of rivers, swamps and other damp enviornments, and it rains alot too. So the armour would have had a nature level of wetness just by being there.
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#14 Moose

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Posted 03 March 2005 - 06:15 AM

I would rather wear an uncomfortable wet armour and be alive than to wear comfortable dry armour and be covered with arrows like a porcupine.
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#15 Moose

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Posted 03 March 2005 - 06:17 AM

I've read that it's stronger when damp/wet, the paper armor. If it's wet, then it would be hard to burn.

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That makes the armour excellent for use during rainy battles.
Flexibility is the key to success




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