Body Armor (Catalogue 39960)

0 Posted by - September 17, 2013 - 2nd Kwentuhan

- Mindanao

- Suit of armor for the torso composed of plates of carved carabao (water buffalo) horn suspended in steel in chain mail pattern. Worn by warriors for protection against spear and knife thrusts.

- donated by R.F. Cummings 1906

- Source: Anthropology Records Field Museum


Please comment on this photo, especially if you have knowledge of what an artifact is, where you have seen this, what it is made of, what does its design or colors mean, or any context to better understand the story of the artifact. Comments are moderated and open to anyone.


  • Sarahlynn Pablo September 17, 2013 - 10:56 pm Reply

    These bells are like the chimes on bracelets, except much bigger.

  • FBillano March 26, 2014 - 9:48 am Reply

    How odd. It looks Spanish and Chinese at the same time. But carabao horn isn’t something Chinese or Hispanic-era armor is made of. The closest thing this item resembles is an example from the Kuala Selangor Historical Museum in Malaysia. (See link: You guys may want to consult that museum as well.

  • mark April 1, 2014 - 2:38 am Reply

    If the metal used in sewing the plates are made of brass, then it may lead towards the T’Boli of South Cotabato or the Maguindanaon tribe of Central Mindanao.

    During the time of Sultan Kudarat, the Maguindanaons launched a war with the goal of Islamizing the local tribes. it is possible that they have developed such body armor. as to the brass, the Maguindaons are also known for their brass-making craftmanship, the same with the Tboli tribe.

    IM no expert, but this is just my lead based on my observation around Mindanao.

  • Sammi Salazar April 1, 2014 - 3:08 am Reply

    The style reminds me more of armor used by the Moros (people of Mindanao, although it’s been used to describe people from Borneo as well). From my understanding, few of them actually wore armor though, so it could be that they were only worn by high ranking officials or royalty. for reference.

  • Yolanda O. Stern April 1, 2014 - 3:56 pm Reply

    This is a “Moro” war armor – it is missing a few parts. I’ve seen two in private collections.

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