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Armor for Fighting on Horseback
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Armor for Fighting on Horseback

Description Provenance Credit
Description The heavily armored knight of noble birth, wielding a 12 foot lance and mounted on a sturdy war-horse, was the dominant force on the medieval battlefield from the 9th to the mid 14th century, by which time improved weapons and training made the infantry (soldiers on foot) his equal. However, mounted, armored nobles continued to find an outlet for their energy in jousting tournaments. This armor is characteristic of that worn in mid 16th-century Germany, but not all the parts are by the same maker. The black painted trim and the rope-like edging seen, for example, around the couters (elbow protectors) and along the top of the breastplate are typical. The lance rest below the right shoulder. The closed helmet provides full-face protection and has a movable visor that could be lifted as a demonstration of good will or when there was no danger. Many of the names for parts of the armor come from French words for the body parts that they protect, such as "cuisse" (thigh), "gorget" (throat), or "gauntlet" (hand). A full suit of armor might weigh 45 to 50 pounds. The closed helmet currently displayed with this suit of armor is Walters 51.578.1.
Provenance Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1921 [mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1921

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ca. 1530-1560 (Renaissance)
steel, paint, leather, modern felt; wood, steel
(Arms & Armor)
Accession Number
66 in. (167.6 cm)

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