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1 Comment | Vintage
Original uncolored photograph
The reason why I put "armor" in quotations is because since the mid 18th century, with the proliferation of muskets & cannon in China, local armor’s uselessness vs. firearms, and with China’s armies ballooning to the hundreds and thousands, armor became increasingly abandoned in China as most metal headed towards the production of firearms and weapons to equip the vast banner armies. As a result, officers/elite units’ Dingjia (Brigandine) Armor had their metal plates taken out, which downgraded the armor as pretty much just a fabric uniform. By the 19th century, it was removed entirely from field usage and was relegated as an officer’s dress uniform to be worn in ceremony, as you can see here.
As for the photo, the original French caption stated that this was the Commander of the Taku Forts. In 1859-60s: that meant that this was possibly Prince Sengge Rinchen, a commander of Mongol descent who was famed in China and in his native Mongolia as a brave general who led the last great Mongol cavalry charge in history during the Battle of Baliqiao in 1860, an event that was pretty much China’s version of the Charge of the Light Brigade.