During Korea's Joseon dynasty (1392-1910), thick, padded cotton vests were used as body armor. In Korean, they were called myeongap. They were made of 30 layers of cotton and weighed about 3.5kg (about 8lbs.).
Here is a picture taken in 1871, during the U.S. action in Korea, in the Choji Fortress, located on Gangha Island off the west coast of Korea. In it, notice the dead Korean soldier who is wearing the cotton body armor, along with a padded helmet.
Here is a close-up of the soldier:
Here is a helmet identical to the one the soldier is wearing and also another one at his feet (now located at Transylvania University in Lexington, KY, USA):
Here is a program (in Korean, but with lots of visuals) on the cotton body armor: