High Tang Dynasty Armor 大唐明光甲
Lokapala (Celestial Guardian) from Yulin Cave 5 in Gansu China. Most of the Tang helmets
for the high ranking military officers have extended cheek pieces- in this case neck protectors
(termed Shikoro in Japanese) that were phased out in succeeding Chinese dynasties,
however, they would become a common fixture for the samurai helmets in Japan.
Another Celestial Guardian from Yulin Cave 25 Maitreya Sutra in China, displaying a guardian with a helmet with prominent winged cheek pieces- for the samurais of the succeeding centuries, namely during the Hein era- they would term such pieces Fukigaeshi.
A rare example of a Tang heavy cavalryman from the Yulin Cave #25 Northern Wall. The massive plume and orb like object above his head is not attached to the horseman but rather a foreshortened object in the background. The soldier is almost entirely encased in heavy lamellar armor, and carries a distinctive painted lacquer shield with kite- like 4 color motif. In his left hand he carries a battle axe and a bow is slung by his side.
Closeup of of a military parade from the Mogao Caves which displayed the Tang heavy cavalry in full combat gear, supplanted by heralds and ensigns (probably Central Asian auxiliaries) in silk uniforms. The surburst banner depicted here in orange, teal, and a golden center have led some historians to suggest it was the official sigil of the Tang empire.
Tang dynasty scroll discovered near the Mogao Caves
depicting a Tang officer's armor in detail.
Note the prismatic belt he wears and the floral motifs
For more about the Tang military, please check out my
other Tang dynasty pieces.
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