Half-Shaffron (Horse's Head Defense)

Date: ca. 1570–80

Geography: probably Milan

Culture: Italian, probably Milan

Medium: Steel, gold, brass, leather, linen (woven textile and fiber)

Dimensions: H. 15 1/4 in. (38.7 cm); W. 10 3/4 in. (27.3 cm); D. 7 in. (17.8 cm); Wt. 2 lb. 11 oz. (1208 g)

Classification: Equestrian Equipment-Shaffrons

Credit Line: Gift of William H. Riggs, 1913

Accession Number: 14.25.1666

Description

This shaffron matches an Italian armor for man in the Metropolitan Museum (acc. no. 14.25.717) that is today mounted on horseback as part of the equestrian group in the main hall of the Arms and Armor Galleries. The slender bands etched with trophies of arms, vases, birds, and grotesque creatures on a dotted and blackened ground are typical decoration for Italian armor of the period. The shaffron is particularly noteworthy for preserving its original lining of coarse-woven linen filled with vegetable fiber. While nearly all armor was once lined in this way, very few original linings have survived. (The spike is modern; the gilding has been restored).

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