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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

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PostPosted: Sat 13 Nov, 2010 1:26 am    Post subject: Chinese armour terms         Reply with quote

I'm trying to find sources that list the Chinese names for various armour components.
There is a thread here
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=8060
in which Mr Grigg pulls out all of the Chinese shields from Robinson but I've gone through the book and can find very little about armour terms. These are all I can find:
lamellar is called k'ai ("metal leaf")
the entire panoply is called k’ai i (“armor clothing”)
The corselet is called kia i
underpadding is called lei
abdomen armour is called shang

I'm specifically trying to find armour terms from the Warring States or Qin periods.
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Michael Curl




Location: Northern California, US
Joined: 06 Jan 2008

Posts: 487

PostPosted: Sat 13 Nov, 2010 9:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Can't help you that far back, but Robinson himself recommends the Wu Pei Ching. But that is from the 16th or 17th century. To be honest with you I think chinese military history in general is way underdeveloped.

If I recall Zhou or perhaps warring states wore a lot of rhino leather armour, and it was called something like jia.

E Pluribus Unum
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Timo Nieminen




Location: Brisbane, Australia
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PostPosted: Sun 14 Nov, 2010 4:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The best English language source on early Chinese armour I know is Albert E. Dien, A Study of Early Chinese Armor, Artibus Asiae 43, 5-66 (1981). At first glance, the only useful thing in Needham is references to Chinese langauge sources, namely a series of papers by Yang Hung (also cited by Dien).

Old, out of copyright, and freely available is Laufer's Chinese clay figures, the first part of which is a history of (very early) Chinese armour, including a rather long section on the rhinoceros in China.

The other sources worth checking are E. T. C. Werner, Chinese Weapons, and Yang Hong, Weapons in Ancient China.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Timo Nieminen




Location: Brisbane, Australia
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PostPosted: Sat 20 Nov, 2010 12:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Timo Nieminen wrote:

The other sources worth checking are E. T. C. Werner, Chinese Weapons, and Yang Hong, Weapons in Ancient China.


Dien uses the Chinese language papers by Yang Hung. Naturally, so does the English-language Yang Hong book. This book likely has stuff on more recent finds, but it isn't that new a book (translated in 1992). Lots and lots of pictures, but that doesn't help that much with the terminology.

Both Dien and Yang Hong use the sources in Werner, since that's the known literary sources as of the early 1900s. Werner, being essentially just raw translations of these sources, but including the Chinese terminology and characters for technical terms, could be useful, but the main stuff appears in Dien already. At first glance, I don't see anything in Werner on armour that isn't used in DIen. There's only a few pages on armour and shields; the book is mostly weapons (and thin, and half pictures (drawings from the literary sources)). Still, Werner provides the bulk of the sources in one place and one cover, so can be an interesting resource. Very much just raw translations, lacking the kind of commentary and references (such as what is translated from where, or even anything about the sources - it's just the text that's given) that would make it really useful. As a scholarly source, it's woefully lacking. That it's still used shows just how little else there is.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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