Rare leather scale armor discovered in Chinese tombs

About 2,500 years ago, a man in Northwest China was buried with armor made of more than 5,000 skin scales. This is a very intricately designed military suit, its design looks like fish scales on top of each other, a new study has discovered.

Lead researcher Patrick Wertmann, a researcher at the Institute of Oriental and Asian Studies at the University of Zurich, said: 'This is a lightweight, all-size, highly effective defensive garment for soldiers. soldier'.

Picture 1 of Rare leather scale armor discovered in Chinese tombs
A suit of armor (circled in red) was discovered in an ancient tomb site in northwest China

In this case, the overlapping scales resemble fish fins to strengthen the human skin to withstand blows, stabs and shots, said co-researcher Mayke Wagner, scientific director of the Eurasian Department of the Institute of Archeology at the Institute of Archeology. German university, who is also the leader of the research team, said.

This ancient cemetery was discovered by local villagers in the early 1970s. Since 2003, archaeologists have excavated more than 500 tombs there, including one with a leather armor set.

This armor set is a rare find. However, the leather armor discovered in the ancient Egyptian tomb of King Tutankhamun, from the 14th century BC, is the only well-preserved ancient leather armor of proven provenance. known.

Another well-preserved leather armor, housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, dates from the eighth to third centuries BC, but its provenance is unknown.

The researchers found the armor in the grave of a man who died about 30 years old and was buried with a number of artifacts, including pottery, two horse cheek pieces made of horns and wood, and a box. skull of a sheep.

The researchers also found a plant thorn stuck to the armor that dated it from 786 BC to 543 BC. According to the team's reconstruction results, this armor weighs about 5kg.