Artifact of the Day


“Peascod” breastplate for foot service

Northern Italy (Milan) (1575-1600)

Associated with 1136.b, backplate. Peasecod breastplate formed with a full length medial ridge, which dips into a rounded point pendant below the waistline. The strong rounded neck opening and the edges of the articulated gussets are inwardly turned and chisel-roped. There is no provision for a lance rest. The rear side edges of the breastplate are cut with a slight rearward angle (apparently cut back some time ago, as have the edges of the gussets). The basal edge is drawn out in a narrow flange which is pierced on either side with a row of four holes each for the lacking fauld and fixed tassets.

Both breast and backplates are decorated en suite with etched & blackened bands at the neck and armpits from which single similarly-etched bands extend to the waist where they nearly converge. The bands are framed by raised plain, and sunken blackened plain borders. Within the bands, on a blackened, "fish roe" ground, is a jumbled grouping of varrious contemporary and pseudo-classical arms and armor components, cannon and accessories, urns, musical instruments and dolphins. The neck band and that along the medial line is manneristic in the arrangement of the trophies. These bands are nearly divided at the top by raised, roped ribs emanating from the upper corners, forming the top into a triangular frieze. The ribs are terminated in a raised circular medallion etched (left to right, as viewed) with a female and male torso, classically-draped. To the outside of each, filling a bilobated roughly triangular are is another trophied group, also including a horned demon's head (Compare to H.A.M. 1182.2)

Some of the trophies are displayed in the manner associated with Roman trophies, that is, mounted as spoils of war on the tops of long hafts. Two devices which predominate the frieze of the breast and the medial bands of both plates are an unsheathed triangularly-bladed broadsword, and a squat castle with one stout, ogivally-tipped central tower. The armor components are predominantly circa 1590.

Encircling the waist of the plates is a narrow, pearled band framed within a pair of double, etched back lines. The backplate flange is etched with trophies as above.