Chainmail Patterns

“It was solid, yet everchanging.
It was different and yet the same.”

This is part of the lyrics of the song “ThereIn (lies the beauty)” by the Swedish metal band “Dark Tranquillity”. Probably unwittingly they describe exactly what fascinates me about mail weave: Solid bodies, which are connected to something flexible and small parts becoming one seemingly liquid entity. Even out of one type of rings, you can create a diversity of twodimensional weave-patterns. This is a selection of some common weaves:

The most famous one is the European weave with one ring holding 4 neighbours. It contains a comparatively small amount of rings per area. That makes it very lightweight. Almost all historical European weave was built in this pattern. If this pattern hangs like shown in the picture, the rings splay, yet if turned 90° they move in together. The European 4in1 pattern was preferentially used this way because it fits close to a body and easily diverts blows. A tighter and heavier weave can be made by connecting 6 rings each into one in a similar manner.

The Elfen-, Gracelock- and the Persian pattern have no historical origin as far as I know. Furthermore there are a few more ways to connect rings to a sheet as for an example the Japanese 4in1-pattern.