Artifact of the Day


Breastplate for infantry or light cavalry

Probably Netherlands (1610-1625)

Formed from one piece of light steel, in the vestigal 'peascod' shape, with a high waist that dips towards the center, and having an integral, deep, rounded waistflange that is similarly curved. The plate is beaten up slightly over the front of the shoulders which are terminated in squared-off, plain ends. The neck is curved and slightly depressed, and is finished with a plain inward turn over an iron wire core. The openings for the arms are treated likewise, and the rear side edges below are straight to the waist. Just below the neck opening is a low medial ridge extending to the waist-line where it becomes a nearly flat, narrow keel as it passes down the waistflange. On either side of this keel is a broad, shallow plain recessed band. The bottom of the breastplate is beaten out in an integral, deep waistflange with a noticeable "spring" over the top of the hips. This flange serves as a skirt, and its edge is finished as those of the neck and arm openings. At the top right side edge it is obvious that the sides were originally bordered by a narrow, deep recessed plain band. On the chest, near the arm openings, are posts and very plain iron pivot-hooks (the right is an associated Dutch hook of the same period, but of slightly higher quality; the brass rivet which retains it is modern). There are no indications of mounts for tassets.

The breastplate is plain, and polished bright. It is without decoration except for a pair of closely spaced, narrow, incised lines which border the neck and arm holes, the waistline, and once followed the perimeter of the waistflange.