Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Shaffron (Horse's Head Defense) of Henry II of France, When Dauphin

Armorer:
Attributed to Romain des Ursins (Italian, Milan, recorded in Lyon 1493–95)
Date:
ca. 1490–1500, redecorated 1539
Culture:
Franco-Italian
Medium:
Steel, gold, brass
Dimensions:
H. 27 1/2 in. (69.8 cm); W. 15 in. (38.1 cm); Wt. 5 lb. 3 oz. (2350 g)
Classification:
Equestrian Equipment-Shaffrons
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1904
Accession Number:
04.3.253
Not on view
In the Renaissance, elaborate parade armor of fanciful design was often employed in tournaments, ceremonial entries, and court pageants. This shaffron, shaped as a fierce dragon's head, was made at the end of the fifteenth century, perhaps for the French court, by a Milanese armorer working in Lyon. It is among the earliest surviving examples of parade armor in the "heroic" style, which alluded to the heroes of literature and legend. This shaffron was redecorated in 1539 with gold-damascened motifs including a fleur-de-lis, the letter H, and dolphins, indicating that it was refurbished for use by the French dauphin Henry (1519–1559), who assumed the throne as Henry II in 1547. The shaffron can probably be associated with the ceremonies connected with the tour of France made by Emperor Charles V in 1539, during which the dauphin was in constant attendance. The reuse of an older piece of armor, redecorated for this occasion, suggests that there was considerable haste in assembling the necessary equipment for the ceremonies.
Henri II, King of France (d. 1559) ; Charles Maurice Camille de Talleyrand-Périgord Duc de Dino, Paris (by 1901–1904; sold to MMA).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Bashford Dean and the Creation of the Arms and Armor Department," October 2, 2012–October 13, 2014.

Cosson, Charles Alexander. Le Cabinet D'armes De Maurice De Talleyrand-Périgord, Duc De Dino. Paris: E. Rouveyre, 1901. p. 47, no. E. 1, pl. 6.

Dean, Bashford, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Catalogue of European Arms and Armor. Metropolitan Museum of Art Handbook, Vol. 15. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1905. p. 119, fig. 70 D.

Laking, Guy Francis, Sir, Charles Alexander Cosson, and Francis Henry Cripps-Day. A Record of European Armour and Arms Through Seven Centuries. Vol. III. London: G. Bell and Sons, 1920. p. 205, fig. 1014 e.

Mann, James G. "Die Mailänder Plattnermarke ROM." Zeitschrift Für Historische Waffen Und Kostümkunde (1931). p. 302.

Beard, Charles R. "'Too Good to be True': A Famous 'Gothic Armour' at New York." The Connoisseur 89, no. 368 (April 1932). pp. 222–24, fig. 6.

Cripps-Day, Francis Henry. Musings by the Ingle Nook. Fragmenta Armamentaria, Vol. 6, pt. 1. London: Printed by W. Knott & Son, 1956. pp. 105–6.

Norman, A. V. B. "A Pauldron in the Scott Collection of Arms and Armour." The Scottish Art Review 7, no. 3 (1960). pp. 8–11, 30.

Pyhrr, Stuart W., Donald J. La Rocca, and Dirk H. Breiding. The Armored Horse in Europe, 1480–1620. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2005. pp. 35–38, no. 7, ill.



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