European Decorative Arts and Sculpture
Cuirassier ArmorMade in Augsburg, Germany, Europe
Gauntlets (hand defenses) wrought by Zacharias Bitterlein, German (active Augsburg), born c. 1567. Remainder attributed to the armorer Hans Roth, German (active Augsburg), recorded 1613 - 1643, died before 1653.
Formerly blued or purpled steel (now russet colored); brass; leather; silk
1977-167-38Bequest of Carl Otto Kretzschmar von Kienbusch, 1977
LabelThis exceptional armor, evidently made for a corpulent man, is complete and retains its original leather and silk lining. It was wrought by the last two master armorers active in Augsburg, a German center famous for the high quality of its production, when armor had ceased to be a standard form of body protection on the battlefield.
The armorers' mastery of their craft is evident in the splendid shape of the heavy close helmet, and in the brilliant blue and purple sheen that once adorned the surface of the whole armor, traces of which are still visible on the gauntlet cuffs. By carefully heating the metal plates to specific temperatures, skilled armorers could create a range of colorful oxidations on their surfaces. Old inventories mention the existence of "violet" armors but very few examples survive today.
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