Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Pair of Tournament Rowel Spurs

Date:
ca. 1500
Culture:
Southern German or Austrian
Medium:
Iron alloy, copper alloy, tin
Dimensions:
L. 12 1/8 in. (30.78 cm); L. of neck, 7 1/2 in. (19.05 cm); spread of branches, 3 1/4 in. (8.26 cm); Diam. of rowel, 2 1/4 in. (5.72 cm); Wt. of a, 14 oz. (396.89 g); Wt. of b, 16 oz. (453.59 g)
Classification:
Equestrian Equipment-Spurs
Credit Line:
Gift of William H. Riggs, 1913
Accession Number:
14.25.1721a, b
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 373
Around 1400, the length of the rowel spurs’ necks started to increase in western Europe, some examples extending even as long as the rider’s foot in the 15th century. At this period, the elevated war saddles and the very specific riding style, with long stirrup leathers and legs extended forward, had the consequence of taking away the rider’s feet from the horse’s flank. Thus, these long necks gave them easier access without having to disturb the rider’s position too much. On this pair the exceptional curve of the long necks, directing the rowels to the inside, would have helped the rider to reach his horse.



As the riding position changed at war in the first decades of the 16th century, such long necks were not needed anymore. However, they were kept in use for jousting, for which the medieval riding style survived a bit longer.
William H. Riggs, Paris (until 1913; his gift to MMA).
Los Angeles. Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "Loan Exhibition of Mediaeval and Renaissance Arms and Armor from the Metropolitan Museum of Art," January 15–March 18, 1953, no. 39.

San Francisco. California Palace of the Legion of Honor, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. "Loan Exhibition of Mediaeval and Renaissance Arms and Armor from the Metropolitan Museum of Art," April 18–June 7, 1953, no. 39.

Pittsburgh. Department of Fine Arts, Carnegie Institute. "Loan Exhibition of Mediaeval and Renaissance Arms and Armor from the Metropolitan Museum of Art," October 1953–April 1954, no. 39.

Louisville. J. B. Speed Art Museum. "A Loan Exhibition of Equestrian Equipment from the Metropolitan Museum of Art," May 4–July 3, 1955.

Grancsay, Stephen V. Loan Exhibition of Mediaeval and Renaissance Arms and Armor from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1953. p. 17, no. 39.

Grancsay, Stephen V. A Loan Exhibition of Equestrian Equipment from the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Catalogue. Louisville, Ky.: Speed Art Museum, 1955. no. 84, ill. (14.25.1721a).



Related Objects

Helm for the Joust of Peace (Stechhelm)

Date: ca. 1500 Medium: Steel, copper alloy Accession: 29.156.67a On view in:Gallery 373

Armor of Emperor Ferdinand I (1503–1564)

Artist: Kunz Lochner (German, Nuremberg, 1510–1567) Date: dated 1549 Medium: Steel, brass, leather Accession: 33.164a–x On view in:Gallery 371

Crossbow of Count Ulrich V of Württemberg (1413–1480)

Artist: Attributed to Heinrich Heid von Winterthur (probably Swiss, active Stuttgart, recorded 1453–1460) Date: dated 1460 Medium: Wood (European hornbeam), horn, animal sinew, staghorn, birch bark, iron alloy, copper alloy, pigment Accession: 04.3.36 On view in:Gallery 373

Portions of a Costume Armor

Artist: Kolman Helmschmid (German, Augsburg 1471–1532) Date: ca. 1525 Medium: Steel, gold Accession: 24.179; 26.188.1, .2; 29.158.363a, b On view in:Gallery 374

Elements of a Light-Cavalry Armor

Date: ca. 1510 Medium: Steel, gold, copper alloy Accession: 14.25.716b–f On view in:Gallery 373