They say necessity is the mother of invention and humans, since the earliest times, have found it a necessity to avoid being stabbed, cut, butchered, mutilated, or gored to death. Having only our squishy soft body as a natural form of protection, it was only logical that we, from early on, killed other animals and used their hides for protection so we could go on murdering more of their brethren. As we advanced, we forwent the genocide of large animals and started raising domesticated ones, feeding them, caring for them so we could later murder them at our leisure. From the result of these betrayals, we harnessed leather. Discovery of metal forging afforded us even greater forms of protection. But at times, when such materials were of short supply, greater ingenuity was required. From coconuts to cotton, see how some armor smiths’ creativity cannot be forgotten.
Most Unusual Suits of Armor Ever Madeade
1. Aztec Cotton Armor
Build using successive layers of cotton and jute, the Aztec ichcahuipilli was a padded armor which afforded its wearer remarkable protection against most projectiles and blunt weapons. In fact, it was so effective; the arriving Spanish conquistadors ditched their steel breastplate in favor of the more comfortable and light ichcahuipilli.
2. Chinese Paper Armor
Paper armor may have been in use in Ancient China from as early as 600 BC. Interestingly, its use dates centuries prior to the first use of writing paper. According to tests conducted by the Myth Busters, it performed just as well as steel armor when attacked with a variety of weapons. However, its use still may have been limited due to its integrity being compromised by repeated blows or becoming wet.
3. Native American Wood Armor
As a form of protection, wood is considered impractical, being inflexible and for its weight, not comparable to metal for protection. However, for the Alaskan natives, metal was extremely rare resource while wood was in abundance. The ingenious wooden armor made by these natives was said to even deflect bullets!
4. Bone Armor
Archeologists have uncovered an intact set of 3,900 years old bone armor belonging to some ancient warlord. For an era when weapons were all of bones, stone or weak bronze, it would have made for a very effective form of protection. However, some experts speculate that it was used primarily for ceremonial purposes and not for battle.
5. Horo (Japanese)
A samurai lord on his horse, clad in full armor-clad and ornamented with his clan sigils, must have been imposing sight indeed. Of course, then he starts riding and you see a giant ball bobbing behind up and down. While comical to look at, the Horo afforded substantial protection against arrows to the wearer and reminded others on the battlefield that his Importance.
6. Crocodile Armor
We can only imagine what was going through the mind of one Roman gentleman as he had an unfortunate crocodile killed, skinned and then had the skin fashioned into armor. The suit was probably impractical for military use and may have been utilized instead for cult processions.
7. Coconut Armor
The vast expanse of the Pacific was home to many islands and unique cultures. The central foci of these island cultures were the mighty coconut from which virtually everything was made, from food to materials for boats, and in case of the islands of Kiribati and Gilbert, even body armor!
Made with dense coconut fiber matting, the armor afforded a reasonable degree of protection but was reported to be rather cumbersome, with the wearer needing an assistant with him to help keep him upright during duels. The armor was usually decorated with myriad designs made with stitched human hair. A helmet made up of dried pufferfish completed the set.