It looks either like he's from some parts of northern china or mongolia, or is from certain parts of Russia. The style of chainmail and ax is what makes me inclined to lean Russian. Also, thank you for putting this up, it gave me an idea for another culture in a campaign world I've been building for a few years.
Actually, a thin strap of metal would be ideal. While it's no defense for being stabbed in the face, it could quite possibly deflect a slashing blade, or slow down the mace trying to bash your skull in enough to save you. Any more armor and it would likely feel heavy and awkward.