Steel, engraved, gilt, silvered, and damascened in gold
Fletcher Fund, 1938 (38.148.1an)
This exceptionally well preserved armor was made for an adolescent or a small adult who was undoubtedly a member of an important noble family. It belongs to a small group of Milanese armors made between 1590 and 1610, in which etched decoration was abandoned in favor of engraving, punching, gilding, and damascening. This armor demonstrates the high standard maintained by the best northern Italian armorers at the turn of the seventeenth century. It is the form worn by heavy cavalry throughout the sixteenth century: the wearer is covered from head to foot, and a lance rest is attached to the right side of the breastplate. Around 1600, however, lance-bearing heavy cavalry were being replaced by cuirassiersheavy cavalry armored only to the knees and carrying pistols and a sword. Features found here that are typical of the new cuirassier's armor are the close helmet with barred visor and falling buffe, the closed elbow joints, and the deep culet (skirt) attached to the backplate. The armor was made with matching chanfron (defence for a horse's head) and saddle plates (both not shown in the images).