Effectiveness of Chinese Mountain Armor

Oct 2013
Planet Nine, Oregon
I can see this being an effective form of protection but I don't see its resemblance in any of the sculptures.
I just think they focused on the mountain pattern made by the links or laces and used that as a decorative motif, in the same way mail is depicted; the links are depicted much larger sometimes:
Also, the angles formed at the ends and edges of a piece of mountain pattern are consistent with the angles produced by the hexagons. I personally think this is it.

It could be that flat lacing was used in some examples; that would more closely match depictions. There is also variety in the depiction of the same armour.
Oct 2013
Planet Nine, Oregon
Here is another examp!e. This one looks different from the previous, more like rings instead of laces. Also, there is no attempt to show any scales under the lacing in any depiction I have seen. All focus is on the rings and laces, the underlying structure to complex and also in certain lighting it appears solid anyway. The variations seen can be accomplished with smaller hexagons and a closer hole pattern
May 2019
Evergreen Park (Chicago 'burb)
Based on the pictures with the Baidu watermark in posts #1 and #2, I've assembled some cardboard square, hexagon, and octagon units over the past few weeks. I refer to the Y-shaped piece as a hexagon unit, because each side is like a puzzle piece. One side has a prong sticking out, and the next has an opening for the prong to fit. The hexagon unit is currently on the 3rd iteration, while the square and octagon units are only on the first iteration. The first iteration units do not fit together great, but they fit together well enough to see the patterns and connections, and make some observations.

Square, Hexagon, Octagon.jpg

If the opposite side of a prong tip is the side making the opening, then all units must have an even number of sides. If we keep things easy and stay to regular polygons (internal angles and side lengths remain consistent) that have an even number of sides, we end up with only a few regular and semi-regular tessellations (tilings) that will work. A start on tessellation/tiling information can be found at Wikipedia: Euclidean tilings by convex regular polygons.

Regular tessellation {6^3}: Hexes, front & back. Prongs cross in 3 directions, rather like the Abstergo logo from Assassin's Creed.
Hexagon Front Small.jpg Hexagon Back Small.jpg

Regular tessellation {4^4}: Squares, front & back. Prongs cross in 4 directions. I expect the next iteration of the design to have more of an hourglass shape, as depicted in the statue photo marked "Basket weave" in post #180 of the discussion "Song Dynasty armor and other form of Chinese armor".
Square Front Small.jpg Square BackSmall.jpg

Semi-regular tessellation {4.8^2}: Squares & octagons, front & back. Prongs cross in 3 directions. My photos are 45 degrees off of the statue photo marked "Cross pattern" in post #180 of the discussion "Song Dynasty armor and other form of Chinese armor".
Octagon & Square Front Small.jpg Octagon & Square BackSmall.jpg

Semi-regular tessellation {4.6.12}: Squares, hexagons, and dodecagons. I haven't worked out a design for a dodecagon yet, but it should look rather like the statue photo marked "Hexagon star plate" in post #180 of the discussion "Song Dynasty armor and other form of Chinese armor". Prongs will cross in 3 directions.

On all of the patterns, the prongs stick out a bit at an angle, which does not seem like it would be comfortable for the wearer or good for the backing material. However, they do act a bit like leaf springs, which would help to absorb energy and cushion blows. I believe that flaring out the tips, dishing the tips, or rolling the edges would allow for more user comfort and longer life of the backing material.

Though the tapered edges of the patterns would funnel arrows/spears/various pointy bits into distinct areas, these areas have extra layers of metal. Also, the act of a wedge trying to separate the scales on the top surface draws the crossing prongs closer together on the back, which seems like it should work well for protection from arrows.

More photos (full-sized) I took while assembling the units can be found at https://photos.app.goo.gl/7hPiNnRKCEodJffy9.
Aug 2014
Interesting and original concept but I think Todd's hexagonal/laced construction is the best proposal we've seen so far.
Chinese Mountain Pattern Armor

How would the original armourers have cut out the intricate shapes? The only cost-effective method I could imagine would be using a punch and die. There is also a lot of wastage. Making bronze plate back then was hugely labour intensive. They would have tried to find a use for every single scrap, not send half of it back to be remelted. Todd's hexagonal design has the advantage of very little wastage.
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Jan 2019
Southeast Asia
Have anyone made such armor by riveting the end of the plates to the backing to make them like a brigandine with overlap on all direction, instead of hooking them to each other ?

It would have been steel since it appear during the early Tang Dynasty. It could be cast in tree shape like how they cast bronze arrowhead during the Warring States and break or cut each Shan Wen Kai piece. To deal with the brittleness, the tree or the pieces could be decarburized afterward.

To mildly criticize Todd's design, not only its shape not the same as various depiction, but its design is quite fragile. It is not the same as the Japanese armor, a cut on it would make the plates fall individually, while in a Japanese armor you would have to cut an entire row of vertical lace all around the torso to make it fall.

I am also still thinking of the possibility to use certain shaped rings when making all metal design of Shan Wen Kai, but now with all the variation of Shan Wen Kai type armor, I doubt that they could be made with rings.

I think the Shan Wen Kai mail is another armor with its own class of armor.

By the way, I found photo of Tang and Song Dynasty statue showing the texture of such mail.

Tang Dynasty mail

Armor China Tang Dynasty mail unique on late Tang statue.jpg

Song Dynasty

Armor China Song Dynasty 1094-1151 Chongqing Dazu Grotto 6.jpg

There is no reason that Shan Wen Kai must be mail.
Feb 2011
Interesting and original concept but I think Todd's hexagonal/laced construction is the best proposal we've seen so far.
Chinese Mountain Pattern Armor
I really appreciate how much effort Todd took into his replica, but in all honesty I'm not seeing how it matches with the sculptural depictions. All depictions show that the 人 shapes are so close that they are touching each other with few to no gaps in between the 人 shapes. In Todd's replica these shapes are so far apart you can see the plates underneath. I'm sorry if I have to be the bad guy, but I'm pointing out the elephant in the room.
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