Indian set of Char Aina 'Four Mirrors' Armour plates
An authentic old and scarce set of Indian or Indo-Persian armour plates, called 'Char Aina' which means four mirrors, referring to the original bright polish of the steel. These plates would originally have been ornamented with gold koftgari around the edges, this unfortunately has been lost, the four plates are formed from a damascus or wootz steel, the watered pattern can be seen on some of the less patinated areas on close inspection. Each plate would have been strapped to the other to form a cuirass around the body, worn over a mail shirt, this method of armourment would have been standard body protection for an indo persian warrior from the mid 18th to mid 19th century. Earlier forms of oriental armour incorporated the steel plates into a coat of steel as can be seen on early mail shirts from India, Iran and Turkey. This set of plates has reinforced borders of applied steel, an inner frieze of fretted steel, and hinges/buckles applied to each corner, they are heavily patinated with pitting and some rust build-up in areas. It is less common to find a complete set. The larger front and back plates measure 7 1/4 x 8 1/2 inches approximately.