At the top of the Great Stair Hall, the Kretzschmar von Kienbusch Galleries feature a remarkable selection of fine armor and arms intended for kings, princes, noblemen, and their armed retainers. The high quality of the armor for man and horse, swords, daggers, polearms, firearms, shields, crossbows, and equestrian equipment on view in these galleries draws attention to the luxury, diversity, and refinement of martial objects made by some of Europe's most accomplished armorers over many centuries.
Highlights from the Collections
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Examples of plate and mail armor include head and body armor for men, boys, and even horses, used in war, various forms of tournament, and ceremonies, particularly between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries. Most of these objects are of German and Italian origin, though there are also remarkable French, English, Spanish, Hungarian, and Islamic examples on view. A wide range of Medieval and Renaissance shields, as well as numerous polearms—strictly practical weapons used by soldiers fighting on foot that later became lavish ceremonial weapons carried by the body guards of rulers—are also featured.
Many objects on display can be securely traced back to the armories and gunrooms of powerful rulers such as the Holy Roman Emperors, the kings of Spain, the prince electors of Saxony, and the Ottoman and Mamluk sultans. Illustrious provenance is one of the distinguishing characteristics of the Museum’s arms and armor.
The galleries housing this fascinating ensemble of objects promises to stir the imagination of all who visit.