Ancient Chinese paper armor


This just popped up on my twitter feed— a Mythbusters video demonstrating the durability of paper armor as compared to steel armor :)

Zhijia (纸甲), or paper armour originated during the Tang dynasty. It was said that this form of armour was made during the reign of Tangyizong (859 – 873 CE). During the Song-Hsia Wars, thirty thousand of this form of armour was made and worn by the besieged archers of the Song dynasty in the fortress in Shanxi. It was made from a form of processed paper being one to three inches thick. Under wet conditions such as rain the material would turn even tougher making it a valuable form of defence against arrows. This was an important tactical advantage of paper armour as metal armour, despite providing a much better protection, would rust under these conditions. Other advantages of this form of armour includes its lightness allowing perhaps the greatest form of mobility among all armour styles. Lightness was essential and hence the paper armour being one of the more preferred form of armour in areas of the south where there are a large amount of rivers and forests. During the campaign by General Qi Jiguang against the Japanese pirates, a large number of his troops wore this form of armour as it was effective against the firearms of the time. In addition, it was extremely flexible as well as cheap to produce. 


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