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Bashford Dean and the Creation of the Arms and Armor Department, 1904–1929

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Armor for Heavy Cavalry with Matching Shaffron

Date:
ca. 1600
Culture:
French
Medium:
Steel, etched and gilt; leather, textile
Dimensions:
Weight of armor, 77 lb. 2 oz. (34.98 kg) Weight of shaffron, 2 lb. 14 oz. (1.3 kg) Height of armor, 57 in. (144.78 cm) Height of shaffron, 22 in. (55.88 cm)
Classification:
Armor for Man-3/4 Armor
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1927
Accession Number:
27.177.1, .2
  • Description

    One of the best-preserved French armors dating from the reign of Henry IV (1589–1610), this example demonstrates the French preference for completely gilt armors. It retains its original yellow silk helmet lining and red leather straps sewn with metallic thread. Matching this armor are a shaffron (defense for the horse's head), also in the Metropolitan Museum's collection (acc. no. 27.177.2), and a saddle, now in the Musée de l'Armée, Paris.
    In spite of its rich decoration, this armor was intended for use in battle. It was made at a time when the lance had been abandoned by the heavily armored cavalry in favor of a pair of pistols kept in holsters at the front of the saddle. The presence of hand firearms on the battlefield led to the increasing weight of armors such as this and the gradual discarding of elements like the defenses for the lower legs.

  • Provenance

    Ex. coll.: Grand Duke of Hesse-Darmstadt.

  • See also
    What
    Where
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
35823

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