Armor with Matching Shaffron and Saddle Plates

Date: ca. 1600

Geography: Milan

Culture: Italian, Milan

Medium: Steel, copper alloy, silver, gold, leather, textile

Dimensions: H. 62 5/8 in. (159.1 cm); Wt. 42 lb. 6 oz. (19.25 kg); 38.148.1m; H. 22 in. (55.9 cm); W. 11 1/2 in. (29.2 cm); 38.148.1n; H. 8 in. (20.3 cm); W. 12 1/4 in. (31.1 cm)

Classification: Armor for Man

Credit Line: Fletcher Fund, 1938

Accession Number: 38.148.1a–n


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 select 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, in which 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 cavarly was being replaced by cuirassiers, heavy cavalry who were armored only to the knees and carried 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 (face defense), the closed elbow joints, and the deep cult (skirt) attached the backplate.