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Horse Armor (Bard)

Made by the armorer Wilhelm von Worms the Elder, German (active Nuremberg), master in 1499, died 1538

Made in Nuremberg, Germany, Europe


Iron alloy (steel), etched and partially gilded and blued; copper alloy (brass); leather; textiles

Weight (without saddle, bit, and stirrups): 63 pounds 3.3 ounces (28.67 kg)

Curatorial Department:
European Decorative Arts and Sculpture

* Gallery 347, Arms and Armor, third floor (Kretzschmar von Kienbusch Galleries)

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Athena and Nicholas Karabots and The Karabots Foundation, 2009

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This horse armor is the earliest complete example outside of Europe, and one of only a handful of such early date in the world. It is also the only surviving horse armor by Wilhelm von Worms, an illustrious armorer in the city of Nuremberg. The chanfron (headpiece) and peytral (chest defense) are struck on their left sides with von Worms's armorer's mark and with the inspection mark of the armorers of Nuremberg. The ornamentation of the steel surfaces is unique in inspiration and unsurpassed in the quality of design and execution.

Duke Ulrich of Württemberg (1487-1550, ruled 1498 to 1519 and 1534 to 1550) possibly commissioned this armor in anticipation of riding, along with other German princes, with Maximilian I of Austria from Germany to Rome, where Maximilian was to be crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Julius II. Because the Republic of Venice refused to grant safe passage, however, the planned journey never took place.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.