Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Battle Armour

The two collections of armour that have piqued my interest enough to write about [here | here] are both jousting sets, intended for the nobleman at sport. This, however, is an altogether different beast. It is German-made battle armour from around 1570. Intended to be worn in combat, it sought to strike a balance between protection and ease of movement. Although not as ornate as the jousting armour, battle armour could still bear decoration and be quite fashionable and fashion conscious. This particular example is etched with bands of vine scroll, an influence from Islamic art as well as having a narrow waist, mimicking contemporary clothing styles. I can only think that in the heat of battle (and the back plate does appear to have a noticeable ‘ding’) the wearer of this set may have regretted such restrictive fashion choices. As much as I appreciate the quality of the armour, it is the pose that particularly strikes me. There is (to me, at least) something quite contemporary about the stance – as though I’d spotted a friend dancing at a fancy-dress party, head to one side, giving me a ‘thumbs up’.

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