Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Shaffron (Horse's Head Defense) of Ottheinrich, Count Palatine of the Rhine (1502–1559)

dated 1529
probably Nuremberg
German, probably Nuremberg
Steel, copper alloy, leather
H. 22 3/8 in. (56.8 cm); W. 13 in. (33 cm); D. 7 in. (17.8 cm); Wt. 3 lb. 15 oz. (1794 g)
Equestrian Equipment-Shaffrons
Credit Line:
Gift of William H. Riggs, 1913
Accession Number:
Not on view
This shaffron is decorated with narrow bands of etched foliate ornament on a blackened, dotted ground in a manner associated with armor from Nuremberg. The decoration includes the date 1529 (in the center of the nose) and a shield emblazoned with the arms of the Palatinate and Bavaria (at the muzzle), indentifying the shaffron as having been made either for Ottheinrich (1502–1559) or for his brother Philipp (1503–1548), the two of whom co-ruled as counts palatine of the Rhine. It most likely comes from their large armory at Neuburg Castle, which rises over the Danube in the vicinity of Ingolstadt. Although the year 1529 was eventful for both siblings, it seems more probable that the armor to which this shaffron belongs was ordered by Ottheinrich for the ceremonies attendant with his wedding to Susanne, daughter of the duke of Bavaria, in that year.
William H. Riggs, Paris (until 1913; his gift to MMA).
Louisville. J. B. Speed Art Museum. "European Arms and Armor, loan exhibition from MMA and others," November 15, 1952–December 28, 1952, no. 17.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Armored Horse in Europe," February 15, 2005–January 15, 2006, no. 9.

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. 39–40, no. 9, ill.

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