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Corslet

Corslet is used to protect soldier's body in ancient battles, composed of helm and lorica. Helm is an armet used to protect the head, while lorica is a garment made of leather and metal, bearing the function of protecting. The combination of these two is called armature. The emergence of corslet has close relationship with the following factors in late primitive society: the coming up of private ownership, increasingly frequent battles, sharper attack weapons, and as well, the rapid advancement of social economy. By applying Corslet, their battle effectiveness are relatively enhanced, for it was able to protect the officers and soldiers to a comparatively large extent.

According to the legend, corslet was created by Chi You (god of war) who contended for the supreme power with Yellow Emperor. There also handed down another saying that it was invented by Zhu, the son of Shao Kang (an outstanding monarch) in the Xia Dynasty. At beginning, corslet was made of fell, then of leather, taking into consideration of lightness. Leather corslet was prevalent in the Shang-Zhou Period in China. In the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period, the technique for making leather corslet was quite highly improved, and iron corslet began to take place of the leather one.

As a transitional period, leather corslet and iron corslet were in coexistence in the Qin Dynasty. At that time, leather corslet still accounted for certain proportion. In the Western Han Dynasty, iron corslet was applied even more commonly, as the result of the development in steel-making technique. Iron corslet took the place of leather corslet as the main arming in the mid of the Western Han Dynasty. In the Sui and Tang Dynasties, head-to-foot lorica came into existence because of the upgrading of armament in battles. Corslet was highly improved and standardized in the Five Dynasties Period based on those in the Tang Dynasty. It was tailored in the Northern Song Dynasty when the technique of corslet-making was at the height of power and splendors in ancient China. Corslet in the period was well-known by high complexity and unprecedented firmness.

Corslet has undergone continuously improvement over the past thousands of years with increasingly advanced protective effectiveness, thus acting as essential military protective armament in the cold arms age.