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Art From Us MUSEUM GUIDE : The Metropolitan Museum of Art : Gallery 379

 The MET : Gallery 379 : Arms and Armor of Islamic Cultures

Art From Us, Museum Guide #596

Art From Us presents a must-see Museum Guide daily, where we showcase specific artworks in specific museums – from across the globe. Today, for Art From Us, Museum Guide #596 the spotlight is on the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the MET) NY’s Gallery 379. Showcasing a collection of Arms and Armor of Islamic Cultures.

The three works in focus are :

  1. Shirt of Mail and Plate, from 15th – 16th century.
  2. Helmet with Aventail, from late 15th – 16th century.
  3. Saber with Scabbard, from 18th -1 9th century.

The significance of the 3 works chosen for Art From Us, Museum Guide #596

Welcome to the Art From Us, Museum Guide #596. This gallery at the Metropolitan Museum of Art features a stunning collection of weaponry from Islamic cultures. These objects are best described in this excerpt from the website of the MET :

“The expression “Islamic arms and armor” is a term often somewhat restrictively applied to arms and armor of the Mamluk period (1250–1517) in Egypt and Syria, the Ottoman empire (ca. 1299–1922), the Near East, especially Persia, and those areas of India under Mughal rule (1526–1858). One of the main characteristics of Islamic armor is that, compared to its European counterparts, it is often relatively lighter and less extensive. This fact owes as much to a strategic and tactical preference of most Muslim armies for speed over heavy protection, as to the usually hot climate of regions under Islamic rule. An example is the extensive and continued use of mail armor until well into the nineteenth century, while in western Europe this type of defense had been largely relegated to a secondary position with the development of plate armor at the beginning of the fifteenth century. In Islamic armor, the use of plate was usually confined to helmet, short vambraces (arm defenses) and greaves (lower leg defenses), and, to some extent, reinforcement of the mail shirt.”


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