Shaffron (Horse's Head Defense) Belonging to an Armor for Field and Tournament Made for Duke Nikolaus "The Black" Radziwill (1515–1565), Duke of Nesvizh and Olyka, Prince of the Empire, Grand Chancellor and Marshal of Lithuania

Armorer: Kunz Lochner (German, Nuremberg, 1510–1567)

Date: ca. 1555; probably repainted and eye guards restored later

Geography: Nuremberg

Culture: German, Nuremberg

Medium: Steel, brass, gold, paint

Dimensions: H. 23 1/4 in. (59 cm); W. 13 1/4 in. (33.6 cm); D. 7 1/2 in. (19.1 cm); Wt. 4 lb. 8 oz. (2034 g)

Classification: Equestrian Equipment-Shaffrons

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1921

Accession Number: 21.42


This shaffron is part of an important garniture of armor for field and tournament use made for Nikolaus "the Black" Radziwill (1515–1565), duke of Nesvizh and Olyka, prince of the empire, and grand chancellor and marshall of Lithuania––one of the wealthiest and most important nobles in Poland and Lithuania. Several elements of the garniture survive, six of which (including this one) are preserved in the Metropolitan Museum's collection. Made by the distinguished Nuremberg armorer Kunz (Konrad) Lochner, the Radziwill armor, with its overall etched design of interlaced strapwork and brilliant polychromy, is one of the most distinctive and colorful examples of the sixteenth century. (The right eye guard and portions of the left are modern restorations; the majority of the polychromy is repainted.)