On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 371

Steel armor evolved throughout the sixteenth century as a practical defense against most handheld weapons, including swords designed for cutting or thrusting and percussive weapons such as maces, war hammers, and axes. As with armor, some highly decorated weapons were made for active use, while others were purely ceremonial. By the end of the century, widespread use of firearms and artillery undermined the protective capabilities of traditional plate armor, leading to its gradual disuse in the seventeenth century.

Mace, Steel, Italian

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