The 宋 Song dynasty (960–1279) was by no means a large dynasty by territory nor exceptionally powerful when compared to the greatest of China's dynasties, but the singular ways in which armor was constructed during this era was nothing less than exquisite. In short, Chinese armor design during this time reached its zenith in sophistication and artistry.
Ultimately, the Song dynasty would field some of the heaviest armors in all of Chinese history in its struggles against its fierce barbarian neighbors. Both men and the horses would often be very heavily armored and also decorated with elaborate silk scarves, tassels and fringes. The already- elaborate "Mountain scale armor" or "Mountain pattern armor" reached its most sophisticated form in this era, as well as the heavier lamellar armor.
Within this article I will examine the general development of armor in early Song dynasty, then the Song era lamellar and mountain scale armor in detail.