Possibly the last royal armor made in Europe
This is one of a set of twelve matching armors for use in foot combat commissioned in 1591 by Sophie of Brandenburg as a Christmas gift for her husband, Christian I (reigned 1586–91).
This armor was intended for use in the Scharfrennen, a joust fought in an open field by two contestants mounted on horses and armed with relatively sharp lances. The sport remained popular at the court of the prince-electors of Saxony long after it had gone out of fashion elsewhere in Europe.
This armor can be identified by its decoration as having belonged to Pedro II (reigned 1683–1706). The decoration includes the crowned monogram PR for Pedro Rex (Pedro the King) and the cross of the commander of the Order of Christ, a hereditary office held by the kings of Portugal.
In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, armor was frequently decorated using fabric coverings, gilt metal appliqués, and even jewels. Sallets covered with red velvet and decorated with gilt mounts were especially popular in Venice and continued to be worn in Venetian civic pageants well into the eighteenth century. The coat of arms at the brow of this example is that of the Capelli family.
This is a rare example of Italian armor decorated with fluted surfaces in the German fashion. Its etched and richly gilt decoration is derived from Christian symbolism and the Bible.
This helmet, and others in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum, were designed by Bashford Dean between 1917 and 1918. Model No. 8 has a visor to provide maximum protection to the face while still allowing good visibility and movement.
This horse armor is the earliest complete example outside of Europe, and one of only a handful of such early date in the world. It is also the only surviving horse armor by Wilhelm von Worms, an illustrious armorer in the city of Nuremberg.
The quality of a sword is often described by its metallurgical properties: the purity of the steel and the sharpness, hardness and resiliency of the blade. These are naturally important qualities for a weapon but the way it behaves when put in motion, how it responds to sudden changes in direction is equally or perhaps even more critical.
The Stechhelm formed part of a highly specialized tournament armor worn solely for the Gestech, or German joust, fought with blunted lances. The object was to break lances or to unhorse the opponent. This helmet was probably part of a series kept in the Nuremberg arsenal for civic tournaments.
This is the earliest dated armor from the royal workshops at Greenwich, which were established in 1515 by Henry VIII (reigned 1509–47) to produce armors for himself and his court. It is also the earliest surviving Greenwich garniture, an armor made with a series of exchange and reinforcing pieces by which it could be adapted for use in battle and in different forms of the tournament. Furthermore, the overall etching and gilding place it among the most richly decorated of all Greenwich armors.
This is one of the most elaborate and complete French parade armors, and it retains much of its original coloring. The surfaces are covered by dense foliate scrolls inhabited by human figures and a variety of fabulous creatures that derive from the Italian grotesque.
Deep skull is of 1 piece of steel, drawn up into an engrailled central comb, with a similar, smaller comb nearly centered on either side. The skull has an integral fall which is pointed and upwardly angled. Base of skull is finished in narrow, slightly downturned basal flange that widens slightly as it curves across back of neck. Encircling base of skull above this is row of 7 rivets.
Blackened with unblackened trim. The medial ridge is bordered with an unblackened ribbon on the front, ending just as it rounds the outer elbow. Although the ribbon may have at one time been completely engraved, only engraving of foliage exists now at the turn of the outer elbow. Both couters have been extensively patched at the medial ridge and outer wings. The edges of the couters are bordered by a 1/2" unblackened ribbon with turned edges. The borders have little engraving remaining because of the patching and severe pitting. There is a curving embossed decoration on the upper and lower wings that is painted black. The one couter has a hole that probably served to accommodate a securing stud on the leather running beneath it; the other appears to have lost this hole due to damage and patching.
Helmets fitted with masklike visors were a popular German and Austrian fashion about 1510 to 1540. With their visors forged and embossed as humorous or grotesque human masks, such helmets were often worn in tournaments held during the exuberant pre-Lenten (Shrovetide) festivals, celebrations somewhat akin to the modern Mardi Gras. Substitute visors of more conventional type were often provided for everyday use.
This helmet comes from a small group of closely related Spangenhelme (strap helmets). The sites where they have been found are widely scattered, ranging from Sweden to Germany, the Balkans and Libya. The Metropolitan Museum’s helmet was found in the Saône River near Trévoux, France. The quality of the helmets and their diverse find sites suggest that they were made as diplomatic gifts to foreign rulers, perhaps sent from the Byzantine court or from the Ostrogothic kingdom in Italy.