Mamluk soldier uniform

27 Jul

Mamluk soldiers wore a type of incendiary fireproof uniform. The uniform was made out of wool, acting as a “fire retardant” material. The soldier was covered in what appeared to be linen tufts that had a small amount of gun powder sewed into a small pouch. These tufts were attached all over the soldiers uniform, looking a bit like a linen porcupine. These tufts were then set on fire as the soldiers head towards the enemy. the charges were not very large, and were many used as a scare tactic utilizing both sound and fire to scare the enemy.

The illo that I have seen, redacted from the original, is on pg206 of J.R. Partington’s “A History of Greek Fire and Gunpowder” . The original source is called the St Petersburg Manuscript, and more info on it is on pg 204 of the same book. It shows a cavalryman with a heavy suit edged in what appears to be small rectangular packets. His lance and his horse’s barding also show the”charges”. Partington dates the illos to late 15th C.

This was a jump start to the research and I found a link to a more detailed discussion about gunpowder, hand cannons, and the above fire suits.

I will not actually be using real gunpowder due to safety reasons. But it is a research project and a costuming project. It doesn’t get much cooler than that.

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Posted by on July 27, 2009 in Artillery, Sewing


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