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An extract from Armies of the Middle Ages, Volume 2
by Ian Heath

[Based on a late 14th Century Jalayrid Shahnama Collected in the Fatih Album (Topkapi Sarai, Hazine 2153)]

26.      PERSIAN CAVALRYMAN c.1375

The disc (aina/a‘ineh, or mirror, gogusluk in Turkish) evident on this Jalayrid figure, and more so on 27 and 28, was possibly of Chinese origin, introduced into Persia through the Mongols and first appearing in contemporary illustrations about 1330. Most commonly it was worn on a quilted or brigandine-like armour as described above, often appearing on the back as well as on the breast. It was also sometimes worn on the khuyagh until the second half of the 14th century, and continued to occasionally appear on mail corselets thereafter. Usually it was circular, but as early as the 1330s was occasionally rectangular in shape, this being the origin of the char aina or ‘mirror-armour’ so popular in Persia by the mid-16th century. The armour ‘with gilt borders, wonderfully polished’ recorded amongst the booty taken by the Ottomans after Otluk Beli in 1473 is perhaps an early reference to such mirror-armour.

The tubular vambraces worn here, called bazubands, first appear in ms. pictures c. 1370, but since they were by then already fully developed their origin probably predates this by some years. A rounded extension to protect the back of the hand made its appearance at the very end of the 14th century but was not always present, and thereafter the bazuband remained virtually unchanged until its abandonment in the 19th century.

His lance (nize) is characteristic of those to be found in Persian mss., wielded overarm in one or both hands or couched underarm. It is about 12 feet long, of cane, with a butt-spike, a gilt socket and a red, blue or green pennon.

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