Morion for the Bodyguard of the Prince-Elector of Saxony
Probably Martin Schneider the Younger (German, Nuremberg, active ca. 1610–20)
Steel, gold, brass, leather
H. 11 9/16 in. (29.4 cm); W. 9 1/4 in. (23.5 cm); D. 13 3/4 in. (34.9 cm); Wt. 3 lb. 5 oz. (1503 g)
Gift of William H. Riggs, 1913
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 371
The electors of Saxony appear to have been the only German princes in the sixteenth century to outfit their bodyguards with matching equipment. The guards' helmets are etched and gilt on one side with the coat of arms of the dukedom of Saxony and on the other side with the crossed swords that signify the duke's office as archmarshal of the Holy Roman Empire. Originally, the gilt decoration was contrasted with black painted surfaces (some now polished bright). The black and gold derived from the Saxon coat of arms and were also the colors of the guards' uniforms. This helmet and a similar one also in the Metropolitan Museum's collection (acc. no. 14.25.652) were made by armorers in Nuremberg.
Marking: Stamped on the right side of the brim near the front of the peak: the guild mark of Nuremberg and an armorer's mark consisting of a pair of shears surmounted by the initials MSI (probably that of Martin Schneider the Younger of Nuremberg); on the interior of the left side of the brim: part of the letter N enclosed in a circle.
Ex. coll.: Royal Armory, Dresden, Germany (thru Buttner); William H. Riggs.