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Chain mail—also called "maille", "chain maille" or simply "mail"—is usually used to produce a form of armour made up of multiple small metal rings that are chained together to form a sheet of mesh. The origins of the word "mail/maille" are not certain. The most likely derivation is from the French "maillier", meaning "to hammer". Although the more correct term for chain mail is simply "mail" or "maille", I've used "chain mail" throughout this post to avoid any confusion.
The earliest known European-style chain mail dates from the third century B.C., discovered in the burials of Celtic chieftains in Slovakia and Romania. Likely inspired by earlier scale armour, chain mail is commonly believed to be a Celtic invention. From Europe, chain mail spread to North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, Tibet, India, Japan and Korea.
Chain mail was introduced to the Middle East and Asia via the Romans. By the third century A.D. it was in use among the Sassanid Persians as a supplement to the scale armour already in use. Chain mail was also used for horses and heavy calvary. Asian chain mail was lighter than the European version, and sometimes even had prayer symbols stamped on the rings as an added form of divine protection.
Sculpture of Gallo-Roman soldier, ca. 3rd century A.D., known
as the Guerrier de Vachères for where it was found.
Collection of the Musée Calvet, Avignon, France
Photo: Fabrice Philibert-Caillat
From the Middle East, chain mail was adopted in Central Asia and India. It was not widely used by the Mongols, but became the armour of choice in India, often used with plate armour. This combination was common in India until well into the eighteenth century.
In the Ottoman Empire as well, chain mail with plate armour was widely used until the eighteenth century, particularly among the Janissaries and heavy cavalry. From there, it spread to North Africa, where it was adopted by the Sudanese and the Egyptians. Surprisingly, chain mail was still being produced in the Sudan in the early twentieth century.
Although used to a limited extent in China and Korea, chain mail was most widely embraced by the Japanese. In fact, the Japanese had more forms of chain mail than all the rest of the world put together—including hoods, gloves, jackets, vests, shin guards, thigh guards, shoulder guards, and even tabi (socks with divided toes).
Japanese kusari tabi (divided-toe-sock armour), ca. early 19th century. The mail is
sewn onto leather in this example.
The currunt chain mail clothes can be custom-made by us.
The main advantage of chain mail was its ability to protect the wearer against slashing or stabbing by weapons such as swords, daggers and bayonets. A recent study at the Royal Armouries in Leeds, England showed that it was in fact almost impossible for a conventional medieval weapon to penetrate chain mail.
The ability of chain mail to withstand an attack depends on a number of things: how the rings are linked, the material that is used, how tightly the rings are woven together, and the thickness of the rings themselves.
Even the best chain mail, however, could sometimes fail. A slashing blow by a sharp sword at a perpendicular angle could cut through the links, for example, and large weapons such as axes could smash right through. Some countries, such as India, developed slender weapons able to find their way through the links in chain mail, and others focused their fighting techniques on finding a way around the chain mail, hitting the opponent in places which weren't protected by the metal mesh.
The mail itself could also add to injury. Because of the mail's flexibility, if a soldier was bashed in a place covered by mail, the mail could at the very least bruise the wearer, and at the very worst cause serious cuts and fractures.
Despite the various drawbacks, chain mail was highly prized. It was time-consuming to produce, making it expensive to own. As a result, it was often looted from the bodies of fallen soldiers. As weaponry advanced, however, chain mail was often supplemented with plate armour, and had largely fallen out of favour by the sixteenth century.
Warriors in chain mail from the Bayeux Tapestry, A.D. 1070. Note the looters at the
bottom, including a man pulling a shield from a dead soldier, and another stripping
an opponent of his chain mail.
Collection of the Museum of Reading, England.
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, chain mail reappeared as a material for bulletproof vests, although it wasn't terribly effective. Not only could bullets destroy the rings, but the rings also fractured on impact, making the injury worse. During this same period, British soldiers fighting in the First World War sometimes wore a fringe of chain mail on their helmets. Although this proved an effective defence against shrapnel, it was unpopular with soldiers, and was ultimately abandoned.
Today, chain mail has resurfaced yet again, this time for a wide range of uses. Modern high-tech chain mail is used in gloves for woodworkers, police and animal control officers. It is also used in wetsuits to protect against shark bites, and gloves and body armour for butchers. One of the more unusual uses of chain mail is a sort of Faraday Cage suit worn by electricians working with high voltage wires, and people playing with Tesla coils. Chain mail is also, of course, worn by many historical re-enactors.
Chain mail glove for slaughter worker or woodworkers.
Chain mail also has decorative uses. In the morden designers’ hands, it changes into decorative wall, room dividers,Light partitioning, Backdrops, Window treatments, Shower curtain, and so on. With its versatility, unique texture, variety of colors, durability and flexibility, It has been more and more popular in the inner design.
Up to now, the morden designers has upgrade different types of chain mail products for interior or out decorations in buildings, for more types you can refer to our website and we can custom-made a chain mail curtain for you.