An Ottoman Leg Guard, Late 15th century
Ottoman Empire. Steel and silver.
Height: 43.5 cm / 17.1 in Width: 9 cm / 7.5 in
Telephone enquiry: +44 20 78...
Such leg guards protected the outer lower legs of a warrior on horseback;
Qur’anic inscriptions decorate the finest examples, frequently, as here,
overlaid in silver. The engraved Arabic inscriptions on this guard
Al sultan.. / Al Malik..
(The King / The Absolute Ruler)
refer to the earthly ruler and the divine ruler, Allah, respectively. The inclusion
of one of the Al-Asma al-Husna (Ninety-Nine Beautiful names of Allah) also
imbued this piece with talismanic powers of protection.
A similar pair of leg guards is found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art,
New York. This leg guard bears the mark of the Imperial Ottoman arsenal,
known as the ‘tamga of the Kayi’; the mark was added to armour that entered
For more information go to:
Struck with the mark of the Imperial Ottoman arsenal, in the former church of Hagia Eirene, Istanbul
Probably dispersed from the arsenal by order of Sultan Abdül Mecid I in 1839–40
Private collection, USA