Art/ Collection/ Art Object

"Blind" Shaffron (Horse's Head Defense) for the Joust

ca. 1490; rondel, late 19th century
Steel, brass, textile, leather
H. 21 1/4 in. (54.1 cm); W. 10 7/8 in. (27.6 cm); D. 3 1/2 in. (8.9 cm); Wt. 5 lb. 13 oz. (2638 g)
Equestrian Equipment-Shaffrons
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1904
Accession Number:
Not on view
Jousts were friendly contests fought by two mounted participants armed with lances, with the object of unseating the opponent or at least breaking one's lance squarely on the other contestant's shield or helmet. Well-trained horses for the joust were extremely expensive and were usually protected with armor. The shaffron was often "blind"––that is, the eyes were covered so as to prevent the horse from shying away at the opponent's approach. (The rondel attached to this example is a late nineteenth-century restoration.)
de Cosson, Charles A. Le Cabinet D'Armes de Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, Duc de Dino, Étude Descriptive par le Baron de Cosson. Paris, October 31, 1901. pp. 12–13, no. A. 3, pl. 2.

Dean, Bashford. Catalogue of European Arms and Armor. Metropolitan Museum of Art Handbook, Vol. no. 15. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1905. pp. 75, 77, fig. 39.

Dean, Bashford. Handbook of Arms and Armor, European and Oriental, Including the William H. Riggs Collection. New York: Gilliss Press, January 1915.

Laking, Guy Francis, Charles Alexander Cosson, and Francis Henry Cripps-Day. A Record of European Armour and Arms through Seven Centuries. Vol. 2. London: G. Bell and Sons, 1920. pp. 127-128, fig. 469.

Dean, Bashford. Handbook of Arms and Armor, European and Oriental, Including the William H. Riggs Collection. 3rd ed. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, April 1921.

Dean, Bashford, and Robert T. Nichol. "European and Oriental, Metropolitan Museum of Art." In Handbook of Arms and Armor, edited by Stephen V. Grancsay. 4th ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, October 1930.

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