Shaffron (Horse's Head Defense) with arms of the Freyberg family

Date: ca. 1540

Geography: probably Landshut

Culture: German, probably Landshut

Medium: Steel, pewter, leather, textile, gold

Dimensions: H. 24 7/8 in. (63.2 cm); W. 12 1/4 in. (31.1 cm); D. 8 1/4 in. (21 cm); Wt. 4 lb. 13 oz. (2188 g)

Classification: Equestrian Equipment-Shaffrons

Credit Line: Gift of William H. Riggs, 1913

Accession Number: 14.25.1644


This shaffron is fitted with an escutcheon plate bearing the arms of the barons of Freyberg. It comes from the armory at Hohenaschau Castle in Bavaria, the seat of that noble family, and probably belonged to Pancraz von Freyberg (1508–1565), a courtier in the service of the dukes of Bavaria in nearby Munich. Although unmarked, the shaffron is comparable in form to documented examples made in Landshut, a famous Bavarian armor-making center.