Jousting Armor (Rennzeug) and Matching Half-Shaffron

German, probably Dresden or Annaberg

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 371

This armor was intended for use in the Scharfrennen, a joust fought in an open field by two contestants mounted on horses and armed with relatively sharp lances. The sport remained popular at the court of the prince-electors of Saxony long after it had gone out of fashion elsewhere in Europe.

This is one of more than thirty almost identical armors—some brightly polished and others painted black—formerly kept in the ducal armory in Dresden for use in court tournaments. It is thought that they were made locally by Saxon armorers in Dresden and Annaberg.

Painted inside the backplate is the name Herr von Breitenbach. This refers to Karl Christian von Breitenbach, an officer in the Saxon court from 1694 to 1726, who presumably wore the armor at a wedding tournament held in Dresden on September 12, 1719. This series of armors was used last at a tournament in Dresden in 1936.

Jousting Armor (<i>Rennzeug</i>) 
and Matching Half-Shaffron, Steel, copper alloy, leather, German, probably Dresden or Annaberg

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Overall, three-quarter